The Fair Winds Trading Company is in the research and design stage of the project. A model of the cargo ship is currently undergoing sea trials. Watch the video here.

The designs for the zero-emissions, low impact sail cargo ship were unveiled in The Netherlands at the 5th Natural Propulsion Seminar in Wageningen.

They are based on the ancient multi hull cargo sailing ship of the South Pacific, the Prao.

The Fair Winds Trading Company, which is based in Argyll, Scotland, initially plan to use the vessel, called PraoCargo, to transport goods between their sustainable development project in West Africa and Scotland.

Their long-term vision is to assist Small Island Developing States (SIDS), and coastal communities in the least developed countries in acquiring their own ships and establishing their own trade routes.

A model of the PraoCargo ship, which has been designed by naval architect, Alain Guillard, is currently undergoing sea trials off Brittany, France.

See a video of the sea trials below

The 12 metre model is transporting gravel to test her functionality in the Gulf de Morbihan.

The PraoCargo’s most significant design aspects are its load/size ratio, stability, and multi access capabilities.

Due to its structure, the 60 metre long cargo ship has a shallow loaded draught of 4-6 metres depending on rudder position, minimum heeling and can maneuver under sail in shallow waters.

The vessel is designed with a maximum speed of 25 knots, and an average speed of 13 knots under sail, backed up with an electric motor drive system.

The Fair Winds Trading Company hopes the PraoCargo ship will be used to transport goods from fragile coastal regions, where it is difficult to establish port facilities.

The company’s founder, Madadh MacLaine said: “Our aim is, not only to achieve a zero negative impact method of sea transport, but also to demonstrate to commercial shipping and the market that this is not only do-able but desirable.”

MacLaine has a background in experimental maritime ecology, researching, designing and building ancient ships and then recreating their voyages.

She is also a founding member of Eco-Nav, a French association established in 2007 for the protection of the coasts and seas through collaboration with both the leisure and commercial maritime sectors.

The Natural Propulsion Seminar took place on 24 May. It is part of BlueWeek, an independent and free event hosted by the Maritime Research Institute of the Netherlands (MARIN).

Industry, academics and institutions came together to discuss the latest R&D initiatives, regulations and projects.