French company Grain de Sail has celebrated the christening ceremony for Grain de Sail II, the world’s largest modern cargo sailboat built by local shipbuilder Piriou.
After more than a year of manufacturing and more than two months of transit, the Grain de Sail II was delivered and reached its home port in Saint-Malo, France at the end of November 2023.
On January 11, 2024, the christening ceremony was organized to celebrate the entry of this new vessel into Grain de Sail’s fleet of cargo sailboats.
This vessel, entirely powered by wind, excluding port maneuvers, is more than twice as long as its predecessor, reaching 52 meters and is capable of transporting approximately ten times more pallets of goods, 290 European pallets. 350 tons will now be able to cross the Atlantic with this cargo sailboat, the largest currently, with a very low carbon impact.
Since November 2020, Grain de Sail has been operating the world’s first cargo sailboat to meet international maritime regulations — a schooner-type vessel of 24 meters and 50 tons of payload capacity.
A cargo ship which is truly environmentally friendly
Grain de Sail II, built entirely in aluminum, is a pure sailboat which features 1,500 m² of sails and will be able to connect Saint-Malo to New York in around fifteen days.
Thanks to its very favorable sail/weight ratio, it will reach commercial speeds of up to 12 knots while making it possible to reduce carbon emissions by more than 90% compared to a conventional ship on an equivalent journey.
This vessel is designed to meet both the demanding standards of international shipping and the urgent need to decarbonize freight transport. With its solar panels, its hydro generators, and even the first pellet boiler installed on a merchant ship, Grain de Sail II is innovating to try to respect planetary limits as best as possible.
It pushes the environmental approach very far by optimizing not only the carbon footprint of navigation with wind propulsion but also the onboard energy supply with renewable and/or low-carbon means.The next steps
The next steps for Grain de Sail II consist of installing the sails and carrying out sea trials to make the ship more reliable. In addition, the company will train the sailors before setting sail for Grain de Sail II’s first commercial operation in early March which will serve New York.
Olivier Barreau, co-founder and President of Grain de Sail, said: “The Grain de Sail II holds can meet 100% of the cocoa and coffee transport needs for Grain de Sail but also allow other companies who want to decarbonize their maritime transport to use our holds for export or for import! This change in size should also inspire other companies to do things differently: consume less, consume better, transport less, transport better. And all this with a good amount of human and maritime adventure that brings meaning!”
Loïc Briand, partner and Managing Director of Grain de Sail Shipping, added:“Grain de Sail II is the result of thousands of hours of work and the culmination of a complex process which extends from Brittany to Vietnam. It is a high-performance vessel designed by sailors and which fully integrates the experience acquired with Grain de Sail I. This cargo sailboat, unique in the world, will ensure the safety of goods, the comfort of our sailors and the safeguard of the environment!”
In related news, the company recently launched a new sail-powered shipping line between Saint-Malo in France and Southampton in the UK.