Skip to main content

VIDEO: A new day for sail freight?

Ceres is a 30-foot, flat-bottomed, two-masted, engineless sailboat that the Vermont Sail Freight Project built during the summer with the purpose of delivering freight under sail. Over the weekend, Ceres became the first sailboat to ship freight to Manhattan in 60 years.

Loaded with 12 tons of food from 30 Vermont farms, Ceres sailed the Hudson River, bound for the New Amsterdam Market, restaurants and customers who had placed orders online.

"Originally, I thought of the project as a kind of a publicity stunt," Erik Andrus, a farmer and entrepreneur who heads the Vermont Sail Freight Project, told National Geographic. The idea, he now believes, has real business potential.

“In contrast to both custom recreational sailboats and traditionally built replicas, which tend to be expensive and lengthy building projects, the time usually required to build and launch barge-hull boats similar to Ceres in size and complexity has typically run three months or less,” reads a posting on the project’s website.

“The hull is based on Dave Zeiger's plywood box-hull ‘Triloboat’ concept, and the rig is borrowed from the traditional Thames sailing barge, a highly refined model developed in southeastern England and still in use there today by the Thames Sailing Barge Trust and numerous privately owned vessels.”