The Shofu Maru, the world’s first bulk carrier to be partially powered by wind, has completed its maiden voyage, putting the hardsail system installed onboard through its paces on a route from Japan to Australia and back.

The so-called Wind Challenger system is a telescoping hardsail that harnesses wind power to propel the vessel. The sail can be shortened and extended (55 meters in length) adapting automatically to the wind conditions on board as it can rotate 360 degrees.

At the end of October, the 100, 422 dwt bulker embarked upon a maiden voyage making an inaugural visit to the Port of Newcastle where it picked up coal cargo for Japan’s electric services company Tohoku Electric Power. The 235-metre-long Shofu Maru will transport coal mainly from Australia, Indonesia, and North America as a dedicated vessel.

The round journey also provided the crew of the vessel with an opportunity to check how the Wind Challenger behaved in real-life conditions and gather data on its performance.