Emission-Free Sailing Freighter “De Tukker” Returns From Her Maiden Voyage

De Tukker” returned from her maiden voyage.This journey started a few weeks ago in Amsterdam and took her through various European ports to Portugal and back to the Netherlands. Along the way, a mixed load was transported in a sustainable manner. The ship is propelled by sails and can therefore sail emission-free, even over long distances.

The crew is enthusiastic about the sailing characteristics of the ship, although it was not always easy. “On the way back across the Atlantic Ocean and into the Bay of Biscay there was a lot of headwind. In that corner the seas can build up nicely. It is precisely because of such experiences that a sense of victory prevails upon arrival in the port.”

De Tukker
Credits: EcoClipper

Of course, this venture isn’t all about the adventure. It is about offering an alternative to the polluting transport with container ships and trucks. It is not only important to reduce CO2 emissions. It is also about preventing or resolving a range of other environmental impacts. For example, the use of the wind improves air quality by reducing the burning of heavy fuel oil from container ships, or the diesel that is still used by most trucks. Moreover, a sailing ship is silent in the water, because there is no engine running, which benefits the entire underwater ecosystem, but in particular the dolphins and whales. There is also a social element to sailing, both on board and in port, it is a connecting factor for people and communities.

For companies that do not want to profess their environmental policy in attractive brochures, billboards and website pages, organizing their logistics using sailing ships is an excellent opportunity to make a tangible difference. This only happens sparingly. The whole concept is still little known. Currently, only a handful of sailing ships with cargo are sailing from the Netherlands. These include the Vrijbuiter, Ide min and the longer operating engineless pioneer Tres Hombres.

In France people are a lot further in the field of wind propulsion, there are currently a number of sailing freighters being built, which are at least 10 times the size of the ships operating from the Netherlands.

Back to Den Helder, where the black and white ketch, De Tukker, is now moored, we hear that the almost 40 meter long ship sailed from Enschede with young people for decades. She was purchased by EcoClipper a year and a half ago. This shipping company, which operates on a cooperative basis, with the members who invest, has had the ship equipped for cargo sailing again. After this first trip, she has proven to offer a fully-fledged sustainable alternative to container shipping or road transport. In addition to cargo, the ship sailed by 5 crew members also has accommodation for 12 travelers.

Now that more experience is quickly being gained with this method of sustainable logistics, the next step is that it will actually be used intensively. “We are very late for nature, but very early for the economy,” said Jorne Langelaan, founder of EcoClipper. He adds with a smile: “Companies are very welcome to contact us to have their products shipped. But that also applies to private individuals who want to sail along. Those who want to discover the mystery of the sea are welcomed to join us ”.

For the next trip it is: embarking on the 1st of July. The next day we set sail from Den Helder to Hartlepool (GB) and Edinburgh in Scotland, there is still room on board.

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