Sail the World’s Largest Viking Ship from Europe to America

viking ship“Draken Harald Hårfagre (that’s “Dragon Harald Fairhair” in English) is a modern interpretation (rather than an accurate replica) of an old Viking longship that was built in Haugesund, Norway, and launched in 2012.

In May next year she will set out on a voyage from Norway to Newfoundland via Iceland and Greenland, and the project organizers have just announced they are accepting applications for volunteer crew.

You need at least two months of free time to do it and presumably should have some sort of useful skill to boost your chances of being selected.

Conditions aboard look to be very Spartan by modern standards, with no shelter except for a tent on deck, but by traditional Viking standards it should be a veritable luxury cruise.”

Read more: Calling all Vikings. More sailboat news.

From Europe to America by Sail

from europe to america by sail tres hombresDo you want to travel between Europe and America in a sustainable way? Try a sailing boat. The 32 m long brigantine “Tres Hombres” maintains a freight service between Europe, the Atlantic islands, the Caribbean and America. Besides a cargo capacity of 35 tons, she has accommodation for 5 crew members and a maximum of 12 passengers. On board you learn the basics of square-rigged seamanship: maintenance, navigating, manoeuvring under sail, safety, cooking and much more.

The ship sails throughout the year. The website now shows the schedules for the summer of 2013, the winter of 2013-2014, and the summer of 2014. On November 17, 2013, you can sail across the Atlantic from Portugal to Brazil, which takes an estimated 45 days. The trip costs 2700 euro. On February 10, 2014, you can sail back from the Dominican Republic to London via Bermuda and the Azores. This eastbound Atlantic crossing takes 81 days and costs 4455 euro. Shorter trips are also possible. For example, on May 4, 2014, you can sail from London to Amsterdam in 5 days, which costs 375 euro.

More info at Fairtransport. (Click “Tres Hombres” in the upper right corner, then switch to English language).

Self-Trimming Wingsails

Self-trimming wingsail“Since the invention of aircraft, a similarity has been noticed between the operation of sails on boats and the function of wings of aircraft. Sails on boats provide thrust in a horizontal direction derived from moving air, and wings on aircraft provide ‘lift’ in a vertical direction to support a plane in the air, also from moving air (relative to the plane). In order to fly, wings had to have a certain degree of efficiency, and some experimenters have realised now that aircraft-type wings could be used on a boat and would be more efficient than sails.”

“Having tested wings on boats in place of sails (‘wingsails’) designers noticed another feature used on aircraft that would be useful to use in conjunction with wingsails – controlling the wingsail with another smaller surface mounted behind or in front of it (a ‘tail’). There are many examples of tails used to control the direction of bodies both in the water and in the air, and aircraft use them to adjust, to a precise degree, the lift or (angle of attack) of their wings.”

“If a tail is used attached to a boats’ wingsail, it can adjust the wing perfectly to every small change of wing direction, in this way relieving the sailor of this task, which is mostly guesswork and at best very approximate, and it can perform that job much better than any sailor can do. Such a wingsail/tail combination is referred to as a self-trimming wingsail.”

Read more: 1 / 2.

The Fastest Sailboat in the World

fastest sailboat in the world

The Sailrocket, a sailing boat that we have talked about before, is the fastest craft under sail, after breaking the 2010 record held by a kiteboarder.

During the last run in Namibia in November 2012, an improved version of this unconventional boat reached an average speed of 65.45 knots (121.21 km/h or 75.31 mph) over a distance of 500 meters. Earlier this year it set speed records of 59.23 and 59.37 knots.

Record sailing speeds have almost tripled since the beginning of the 1970s. Those who think that sailboats are a technology from the past, think again.

See and read more at YachtPals and Sailrocket.

Sailing 10,000 Nautical Miles Using the Stars, Moon and Sun

Te-aurere-wakaA group of intrepid Māori sailors from New Zealand will take on the world’s biggest ocean, the Pacific, in an attempt to sail to Easter Island, the most remote inhabited place on Earth, without GPS, charts, maps, or even a compass.

Instead the group will be guided by the traditional techniques that helped the Polynesian people traverse the wide expanses of the Pacific and settle the islands of Hawaii, New Zealand and Tonga, to name just a few – techniques like the movement of the stars, the sun and moon, oceanic currents and bird and animal life.

The sailing odyssey is part of an effort by Polynesian academic and cultural groups to reclaim the navigational knowledge of their forebears, much of which was lost after European colonization.” Read more (official website). Previously: Polynesian stick charts / Satellite navigation in the 18th century / Developed nations dangerously over-reliant on GPS.

Historical Fish Landing Statistics

“Increases in fishing power, as Britain’s fishing boats transformed from a fleet of sailing boats to one made up of technologically sophisticated trawlers, did little to increase the ability to catch large amounts of fish. In 1889, a largely sail-powered fleet landed twice as much fish into Britain as the present-day fleet, the study found”. Read. Via.

Sailing Directly into the Wind

Sailing into the wind 5

“In the late 90s/early 2000s my interest was in developing boats that can sail directly into the wind. To some, this seems impossible, and they find it hard to accept that it is possible to overcome the wind using the force of the wind itself. This technology has further implications also, it can allow a boat, or a buoy, to remain stationary in the water, unsecured, no matter how hard the wind blows without using any fuel. Having revived the project recently (2008) I am doing further research.”

I cannot help but admire the simplicity of the design. Find all information here.

Sailing Rockets

sailing rocket fast sailboat

This unconventional sailing boat, named the SailRocket, reached a record speed of 47.35 knots (87.6 km/h or 54.43 mph), on average over a distance of 500 meters. During another run, the boat reached a speed of 52 knots before lifting off
for a spectacular in-the-air wipeout (also caught on video). More below.

[Read more…]

Kiteboating

Kiteboating

Following kitesurfing, kite buggying, kite landboarding and snowkiting (no slope required); kiteboating:

Airplay Kitesailing, Kite For Sail, KiteCat, the pioneers.

Previously: kitesurfing for cargo vessels. Related: sailing at the touch of a button / Sailing Rockets.