One of the most unique cargo ships set sail this week from France. Called Grain de Sail, the company combines the production and sale of chocolates with the operation of an ecological cargo ship, mainly propelled by sail.
The 72-foot-long aluminum-hulled cargo ship set sail on November 18 from St Malmö on the Brittany coast of France to New York. Using schooner type rigging and with a crew of four, the vessel has a cargo capacity of up to 50 tonnes. They can load 28 pallets in the refrigerated cargo bay cooled with green energy.
On board for this first sailboat, 14,000 bottles of French organic wine are loaded. The wine will be delivered to a distributor in New York and it was planned to sell it to American restaurants. After unloading the wine in the United States, they will sail to South America where they will load cocoa and coffee for the return trip to France.
The project goes back 10 years when they developed the business plan to produce coffees and chocolates whose raw materials are transported by a transatlantic cargo ship. According to the founders, they wanted it to be synonymous with maritime adventure and include respect for the environment.
In 2011, using a 36-foot sailboat, they transported more than a ton of green coffee to France. Five years later they expanded to chocolates and with the help of an old sailing rig they transported coffee from the United States and cocoa from the Dominican Republic. Now, having completed the construction of its sailboat, Grain de Sail plans to make four Atlantic crossings each year. The ship will never leave France empty, carrying French products to the United States before loading its cargoes of cocoa and coffee.
Although the vessel has an auxiliary engine, the power will come from more than 350 square meters of sails. In addition to fulfilling their ecological mission, the ship is equipped with technologies, including wind turbines and photovoltaic panels.
The crew promises to post progress reports on the trip on the company’s website and on social media. They posted the following video on social media when they left.