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Operation of a sail freighter on the Hudson River: Schooner Apollonia in 2021

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In the discussion of sail freight worldwide, little analysis exists to illuminate the effects of sail freight vessels engaged in shipping along rivers. Even less of the literature provides meaningful, in-depth insight into the operations of such vessels. The 64-ft (19.5 m) schooner Apollonia, a small general cargo vessel and the only active, operational sail freighter in the United States, operates on the Hudson River and in New York Harbor. The ship's logs and other data from 2021, the Apollonia's first sail freight season, are examined here to gauge the performance of small sail freighters on river trade routes. The available data shows sail freight has a strong advantage over comparable trucking in fuel use per Ton-Mile.
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Woods, S; Merrett, S. Operation of a sail freighter on the Hudson River: Schooner Apollonia in 2021, Journal of
Merchant Ship Wind Energy, 2 March 2022 1/12
JMWE (https://www.jmwe.org) is an open, peer-reviewed journal published under the CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 Creative
Commons License. Image adapted from Anton van den Wyngaerde, 1653.
Operation of a sail freighter on the Hudson River: Schooner Apollonia
in 2021
Steven Woods, Hudson River Maritime Museum, swoods@hrmm.org
Sam Merrett, Master of Schooner Apollonia
Abstract: In the discussion of sail freight worldwide, little analysis exists to illuminate the effects of sail
freight vessels engaged in shipping along rivers. Even less of the literature provides meaningful, in-depth
insight into the operations of such vessels. The 64-ft (19.5 m) schooner Apollonia, a small general cargo
vessel and the only active, operational sail freighter in the United States, operates on the Hudson River
and in New York Harbor. The ship’s logs and other data from 2021, the Apollonia’s first sail freight season,
are examined here to gauge the performance of small sail freighters on river trade routes. The available
data shows sail freight has a strong advantage over comparable trucking in fuel use per Ton-Mile.
INTRODUCTION
In the last half century, Wind Propulsion has been widely acknowledged since the Oil Crisis of the
1970s as a means of reducing fuel use in maritime transportation, and research started in that era has
been resumed as climate and economic concerns force change in the maritime industry. Small sail
freighters engaged in coastal or inland waterway trading with break bulk general cargo have been ignored
in this discussion of working sail’s revival, however. These vessels are neither bulkers carrying loose cargo
such as iron ore or grain, nor do they use intermodal shipping containers. The cargo is instead loaded
directly into the hold in smaller packaging, such as sacks, crates, boxes, coolers, and barrels. Analysis of
logs, cargo, and fuel-use data from the schooner Apollonia operating on the Hudson River and New York
Harbor allows for a comparison of these vessels to other methods of cargo transportation.
Sail freight is defined as “The maritime movement of cargo under primarily wind power.”
1
As can
be seen in the figure below, this includes sail and motor-sailing vessels which rely on their engines for less
than half of their propulsive power.
2
Sail-Assist and conventional motor ships are excluded from this
definition, but are by far the most-discussed in journals at this time.
1
Woods, Steven. “Sail Freight Revival: Methods of calculating fleet, labor, and cargo needs for supplying cities by sail.” Master’s
Thesis. Prescott College, 2021. Pp 6. www.Researchgate.net
2
Wind Ship Development Corporation, Wind Propulsion For Ships Of The American Merchant Marine Norwell, MA: WSDC,
1981. Pp II-5
Woods, S; Merrett, S. Operation of a sail freighter on the Hudson River: Schooner Apollonia in 2021, Journal of
Merchant Ship Wind Energy, 2 March 2022 2/12
Figure 1: “Motor Sailing Propulsion Spectrum” in: Wind Ship Development Corporation, Wind Propulsion For Ships Of The
American Merchant Marine Norwell, MA: WSDC, 1981. Pp II-5.
While there is considerable space within the sail freight continuum for high levels of engine use,
the majority of coastal and inland trading under sail at this time is in small general cargo vessels which are
either engineless, as with the ketch Nordlys,
3
or use engines only when docking or for safety reasons in
crowded harbors, like the schooner Apollonia.
The tonnages involved in most studies of wind-assisted ship propulsion allow for comparison with
conventional merchant ships. There are multiple studies which show the fuel saved from sail retrofits to
existing vessels, compared to the ship’s previous performance.
4
However, these are based on places
where maritime shipping is the rule, such as small island states and archipelagoes, or transoceanic
shipping. This is not the case when looking at inland and coastal vessels which displace rail and road
transport instead of other ships.
Another element worth noting in this study is the Apollonia’s goals. The ship and her crew are not
looking solely to reduce carbon emissions, though this is a significant part of their mission. Their goal
overall is to have an environmental, economic, and social impact, the “Triple Bottom Line.” This entails an
extra educational bottom line, changing the way people think about the Hudson River, waterways,
transportation, and supply chains. The economic mission involves paying more in labor than on fossil fuels.
There is significant interaction between goals: Ecological improvements have a social impact by reducing
pollution, while economic changes have social impacts on jobs and livelihoods. This multifaceted impact
is outside the scope of this paper, which will be limited to assessing the comparative CO2 intensity of sail
freight vessels and fossil fueled trucks.
THE SCHOONER APOLLONIA
The Apollonia is a steel J Murray Watts design from 1946, built in Baltimore, MD. Acquired in 2016,
she spent 4 years in repair and retrofit before launching for a first season of relationship building and
experimentation in 2020, including one circuit from Hudson, New York to New York City with a small
number of cargos. 2021 was the first season of regular operations. Apollonia has a sail area of 122 square
meters, and is equipped with a Detroit diesel engine of approximately 125 Horsepower.
3
“Nordlys” https://fairtransport.eu/nordlys/ Accessed 27 November 2021.
4
R.G. MacAlister “The retrofitting of sail to two existing motor ships of the Fiji Government fleet.” Proceedings of Regional
Conference on Sail-Motor Propulsion (Manila: Asian Development Bank, 1985)
Woods, S; Merrett, S. Operation of a sail freighter on the Hudson River: Schooner Apollonia in 2021, Journal of
Merchant Ship Wind Energy, 2 March 2022 3/12
Schooner Apollonia Critical Data:
Length: 64 ft/19.5m Beam: 15 ft/4.5m
Rig: 2 Masted Bald-Headed Gaff Schooner.
Sail Area: 122 sq m/1320 sq ft.
Cargo Deadweight: 10 Short Tons/9.07 tonnes.
Cargo Volume: 600 Cu ft/17 Cu M/½ TEU.
Displacement: 36 tons. Draft: 7 ft
Engine: 125 HP/92 KW Detroit Diesel.
Fuel Capacity: 250 Gal/946 Liters.
Crew: 4
Fig 1: Schooner Apollonia under sail off Rondout Lighthouse, 24 July 2022. Courtesy, Steven Woods.
APOLLONIA’S 2021 OPERATIONS
The Apollonia made five circuits from Hudson, NY to New York City on the Hudson River: one per
month from May through October, excepting June. Cargo was generally transported first- and last-mile by
means of an electric-assist cargo bike and trailer powered by solar panels mounted on the wheelhouse of
the vessel, minimizing the emissions of first- and last-mile transportation. This use of low energy intensity
land transportation proves the viability of a sustainable cargo system, as well as allowing the ship to carry
her own shoreside delivery capabilities. In addition, the use of a cargo bike avoids heavily congested roads.
Handling of all break bulk cargo was by the “Armstrong Method” aided by ship’s gear such as block and
tackle.
The typical crew of four consisted of Master, Mate, Bosun, and Deckhand. All crew served as
dockers as no longshore or stevedore crews were available or hired. Sailing was by both night and day
depending on wind, tide, and current conditions, which dictated the watch rotation. Due to the small crew
size, there was little real differentiation of roles.
Woods, S; Merrett, S. Operation of a sail freighter on the Hudson River: Schooner Apollonia in 2021, Journal of
Merchant Ship Wind Energy, 2 March 2022 4/12
Figure 2: Map of Apollonia’s Port Calls.
5
APOLLONIA’S CARGO
The Apollonia’s main cargo was Malted Grains moving from the Germantown, NY area to several
breweries down the Hudson River and around New York Harbor. These were exclusively embarked at
Hudson, NY, packed in 50 pound sacks. Many other cargos were included in the season, including solar
panels, a printing press, coffee, beer, tea, mead wine, salt, a cargo of wine and chocolate cross-loaded
from the French Sail Freighter Grain de Sail in New York Harbor, 1 ton of peppers from Milton to Hudson,
hot sauce, maple syrup, yarn, honey, jam, condiments, rope, CBD, pepper flakes, soap, skincare products,
and other goods. A barrel of Rye Whiskey, aging on the ship since 2020, was carried until the October run.
Another cargo was 11,500 pounds of Red Oak logs from Kingston to Brooklyn for an urban mushroom
farm.
TABLE 1: MALT CARGO DATA
DIST from Hudson NY
WEIGHT (Lb)
TON-MILES
41.4
2,505
51.85
56.35
3,900
109.88
73.6
3,600
132.48
85.1
6,550
278.7
98.9
2,950
145.88
130
4,750
308.75
138
9,700
669.3
TOTALS:
33,955lb/16.98 tons
1,696.84 ton-miles
5
Esri Light Gray Canvas Reference [Basemap] Scale Not Given. February 2022.
https://basemaps.arcgis.com/arcgis/rest/services/World_Basemap_v2/VectorTileServer (Accessed 1 March 2022)
Woods, S; Merrett, S. Operation of a sail freighter on the Hudson River: Schooner Apollonia in 2021, Journal of
Merchant Ship Wind Energy, 2 March 2022 5/12
TABLE 2: ADDITIONAL CARGO DATA
Origin
Destination
Cargo
Weight (Lb)
Distance
Ton-Miles
Milton
Hudson
Peppers
2,000
78.2
78.2
Poughkeepsie
South St
Flour
1,500
91.1
68.32
Kingston
GBX
Mushroom Logs
11,500
97.75
562
GBX
Ossining
Coffee
440
55.2
12.15
GBX
Kingston
Coffee
120
97.75
5.87
Hudson
Newburgh
Whiskey, Barrel
150 (est)
56.35
4.23
GBX
Kingston
Whiskey, 2 cases
50 (est)
97.75
2.44
Milton
South Street
Pumpkins
2,900
85.35
123.76
Milton
GBX
Pumpkins
500
87.4
21.85
Milton
Ossining
Pumpkins
100
39.1
1.96
Milton
South Street
Apples, 8 boxes
160(est)
85.35
6.83
Milton
South Street
Squash, Assorted
200
85.35
8.54
Milton
South Street
Grapes, 3 flats
30 (est)
85.35
1.28
Milton
South Street
Cider, 2 cases
30 (est)
85.35
1.28
GBX
Kingston
Printing Press
500 (est)
97.75
24.44
Additional Ton Miles:
923.15
TOTAL TON MILES:
2,619.99
ABBREVIATIONS: GBX=Gowanus Bay Terminal. South St= South Street Seaport Museum, Manhattan. All locations are in New York State. All
distances in Statute Miles for comparison to trucking.
Small cargos included ceramic plates, books, apparel, and postcards. The ship also carried what
were essentially classical “Tramping” cargos, purchased by the ship and sold on her own account.
6
This
makes tracking the ton-miles involved with these cargos difficult, and these small and tramping goods
have been excluded from the study. We will focus only on major cargos here, understanding the figures
produced are a minimum impact.
The principal cargos and destinations for malt remained the same over the course of the season,
and have been consolidated in Table 1 above. Other cargos are given in more detail in Table 2. Official
river miles between ports, converted to statute miles, are used to give a uniform comparison, but the
total miles covered by Apollonia were much greater due to tacking, jybing, and other maneuvers.
7
FUEL USE DATA
Fuel Use for Apollonia over the season is estimated at 37 gallons over 38 hours of engine use.
8
Not all engine hours were recorded prior to July 2021 due to recordkeeping changes aboard ship, and
6
Thomas F. Tartaron, Maritime Networks in the Mycenaean World (New York: Cambridge University
Press, 2013). Pp 30-32
7
United States Department of Commerce, Distances between United States Ports, 13th ed. (Washington DC: US Department of
Commerce, 2019).
8
The Apollonia’s fuel tank was not full at the season’s start, and fuel purchase records from 2020 have been lost. The tank does
not have a gauge, and was not “sticked” before the season began. About 40 gallons were added in 2021 and visual inspection at
the end of the season shows the fuel level slightly above where it was in May. There was no plan of making these studies when
the 2021 season began.
Woods, S; Merrett, S. Operation of a sail freighter on the Hudson River: Schooner Apollonia in 2021, Journal of
Merchant Ship Wind Energy, 2 March 2022 6/12
engine hours are only noted in full hours, limiting the precision of these figures. Approximately 18 hours
of engine time was spent on educational programming out of Hudson, NY separate from the vessel’s cargo
runs. This gives an average rate of about 0.97 gallons per hour, which is reasonable for rarely exceeding
clutch speed on the engine. Fuel use per voyage was calculated by the total hours of engine operation
noted in the log for each voyage; total fuel used for cargo transport was about 19.47 gallons for the
season.
Without the installation of costly and complicated differential fuel gauges on the ship the
collection of more precise fuel use data is impossible. Such approximations are generally in line with
methods used in other studies where this equipment was not available, and the data is considered
sufficient for the purpose of this paper.
9
The Schooner Apollonia has an estimated efficiency of 134.6 Ton-
Miles per gallon of diesel fuel.
Examining a single voyage with better records shows the October run moved 397.37 ton-miles
with three engine hours, giving 136.55 ton-miles per gallon, or 51.77 tonne-kilometers per liter. Other
voyages at higher percentages of the schooner’s maximum load, or lower engine use will score differently,
but are less well documented.
ENGINE USE STRATEGY
Apollonia’s engine use strategy is quite simple: The engine is only used for safety purposes and
docking where necessary. If the tide is against the vessel’s course, she drops anchor or ties up in port,
instead of employing the engines. If there was no wind, she would occasionally use only the tide for
propulsion. This is substantially the same engine use strategy as 17th and 18th century Hudson River sloop
masters,
10
and was adopted due to ecological as opposed to economic imperatives. This leads to a very
low engine use figure, averaging less than 4.5% of hours under way over the season. 60% of voyages show
less than 3.75% of hours underway involved engine use. As previously mentioned, the engine was rarely,
if ever, brought above idle RPMs.
TABLE 3: Apollonia Engine Use and Sailing Data
Month
Sailing
Days
Hours
Sailing
Hours at
Anchor
Hours at
Port
Average
VMC
Engine
Hours
% Engine
Hours
May
11
89.25
67.5
113.75
2.48
4 (est)
4.48
July
14
108.25
58.25
139.5
2.13
4
3.70
August
13
95
77.75
85.25
2.74
6
6.32
September
12
86.5
48.75
100
2.83
3
3.47
October
10
80
48.1
102.95
2.85
3
3.75
9
R.G. MacAlister “The retrofitting of sail to two existing motor ships of the Fiji Government fleet.”
10
Paul E Fontenoy. The Sloops of the Hudson River: A Historical and Design Survey (Mystic: Mystic Seaport Museum, 1994)
Woods, S; Merrett, S. Operation of a sail freighter on the Hudson River: Schooner Apollonia in 2021, Journal of
Merchant Ship Wind Energy, 2 March 2022 7/12
Apollonia used her engine less than 4.5% of the time, making her a near-pure-sail vessel. The hope
for future seasons is to reduce this engine use intensity as much as possible, though with the docks
available it is likely that some level of engine use will be unavoidable.
Speed and distance actually traveled by Apollonia is a complex calculation. Due to the inland and
tidal nature of the Hudson River, it is frequently necessary to drop anchor when the tide or current is
against the intended course when sailing. Due to a longer ebb than flood tide, it is easier to go South. The
winds on the Hudson do not lend themselves to consistent sailing, which requires frequent tacking and
gybing. There were a total of 62 days of operations over the season, with 459 hours sailing and 300.35 at
Anchor. Apollonia made an average Velocity Made good on Course (VMC) ranging from 2.35 to 2.85 Knots
while under way, with speed being higher, but unrecorded. A trend of increasing VMC through the season
is noted in the logs, likely reflecting increased crew skill. Overall VMC once hours at anchor are included
amounts to a seasonal average of 1.578 knots.
While the tide cycle on the Hudson River is approximately 6 hours, favorable winds cannot be
scheduled so regularly. Whether the vessel’s next stop would be at anchor or at dock depended on a
multitude of factors and could not be reliably predicted far in advance.
When examining coastal Sail Freight, there will be different sailing characteristics in open waters,
which may impact average VMC. Apollonia makes frequent stops, using her engine when docking
frequently in comparison to a longer coastal route. As was found by Perez et al studying large ships, the
advantages of Sail Freight are greatest on long routes with low engine use.
11
This confirms historic trends
noted by Riesenberg
12
and Erikson.
13
The fewer stops or maneuvers a motor-sailer makes on their route
the better expected fuel efficiency will be.
COMPARISONS TO TERRESTRIAL TRANSPORTATION
Apollonia is involved in inland waterway trading, which means she should not be compared to
oceangoing cargo vessels due to the tonnages, cargos, and routes involved. The average freight-ton
efficiency in the US for trucking is not a good comparison as this average is skewed by the relatively high
efficiency of very large trucks moving cargo very long distances.
14
A few other concerns arise for making a valid comparison: Apollonia is not capable of moving
containerized cargo, making her a general cargo ship. As rail lines are not generally loaded with break bulk
cargo, this means rail should also be excluded. In the case of other sail freighter designs using
containerized cargo, such as those by Derek Ellard, the comparison would rightly be with large trucks or
rail. In the case of his Electric Clipper 180, carrying 36 TEUs, the appropriate comparison would be rail.
11
Perez, S; Guan, C; Mesaros, A; Talay, A, “Economic Viability of bulk cargo merchant sailing vessels”, Journal of Merchant Ship
Wind Energy, 17 August 2021. (Accessed 3 December 2021)
https://www.jmwe.org/uploads/1/0/6/4/106473271/jmwe_17_august_2021.pdf
12
Felix Riesenberg, Standard Seamanship For The Merchant Service 2nd ed. (New York: D. Van Norstrand, 1936) pp 11.
13
See: Georg Kahre, The Last Tall Ships: Gustaf Erikson and the Aland Island Sailing Fleets, 1872-1947 Basil Greenhill, Ed.
(London: Conway Maritime Press, 1990)
14
In 2018 trucks moved 2,033,921 million ton-miles, using 28,987 million gallons of fuel, averaging 70 ton-miles per gallon. SEE:
Bureau of Transportation Statistics National Transportation Statistics www.bts.gov/us-tonne-kilometers-freight AND
www.bts.gov/content/combination-truck-fuel-consumption-and-travel (Accessed 15 Nov 2021)
Woods, S; Merrett, S. Operation of a sail freighter on the Hudson River: Schooner Apollonia in 2021, Journal of
Merchant Ship Wind Energy, 2 March 2022 8/12
Something like the Electric Clipper 100 carrying 4 TEUs would be more accurately compared to a class 8
truck.
15
As with the 1920s when Walter Hedden studied How Great Cities Are Fed, it is small trucks which
move most food and goods within 100 miles of major cities.
16
The cargo taken on Apollonia moved to its
destination principally in ton box trucks before transitioning to Sail Freight in 2021. Apollonia has a
similar cubic capacity to a 12 foot box truck, at about 600 cubic feet, which would be in the same class as
a 2½ to three ton truck. A 2½ ton truck at 12 miles per gallon gives a maximal theoretical efficiency of 30
ton-miles per gallon, which is similar to figures given by the National Highway Safety Administration in
2006.
17
This holds for essentially all the cargos involved with Apollonia, excepting those likely moved by
less efficient pickup trucks, and is the appropriate comparison.
COMPARISON TO BOX TRUCKS
Apollonia’s Ton Miles of transport avoided the use of around 67.9 Gallons of fuel, and she has an
advantage of 104.6 ton-miles per gallon against the theoretical optimum for 2½ ton trucks.
18
The
Apollonia requires only 22.3% of comparable ideal trucking fuel use values. If account is taken of empty
miles back to the malthouse or point of origin for these trucks, the advantage is immediately doubled. In
this case, fuel use is less than 12% of trucking.
It should be noted this comparison contrasts real-world results aboard Apollonia with theoretical
best-case conditions for the trucks. If the trucks are less than fully loaded, the ton-mile efficiency of the
truck declines. Further, the New York Metro Area is a maze of congested roads with dozens of over-
capacity Passages Obligés such as bridges and major intersections, leading to 335.9 million gallons of
wasted fuel
19
and an economic cost of 18.26 billion dollars in 2019.
20
These figures alone bring the 30 ton
mile per gallon figure for trucks into question when looking at the New York Metro Area, giving Apollonia
a further advantage, though the effects of road congestion on truck fuel efficiency are not considered
here. If there are any other disadvantages for the truck, such as steep climbs or sub-optimal maintenance,
its efficiency declines. In terms of carbon impacts, the consumption of tires, lubricants, spare parts, and
road wear should be included in the calculation for trucks,
21
while Apollonia’s inputs are essentially fuel,
one tenth of a set of sails annually, and a small amount of paint.
15
Derek Ellard “The Electric Clippers” gosailcargo.com (accessed 1 December 2021)
16
Walter P Hedden, How Great Cities are Fed (New York: D.C. Heath, 1929).
17
NHTSA Factors and Considerations for Establishing a Fuel Efficiency Regulatory Program for Commercial Medium- and Heavy-
Duty Vehicles (Washington, DC: NHTSA, 2010) https://www.nhtsa.gov/sites/nhtsa.gov/files/nhtsa_study_trucks.pdf (Accessed
28 November 2021) Pp 12-13. The figure given for typical ton-miles for vehicles in this study is quite clearly a multiplication of
the load capacity by the average miles per gallon, not accounting for deadheading or partial loads.
18
It is worth noting that even when compared to the optimal efficiency of 10 ton trucks, Apollonia retains an advantage of 22.6
tm/gal using her observed real-world efficiency. When comparing her maximum efficiency to the same 10 ton trucks, she is
over 5.5 times more efficient.
19
Bureau of Transportation Statistics “Annual Wasted Fuel Due To Congestion” National Transportation Statistics
https://www.bts.gov/content/annual-wasted-fuel-due-congestion (Accessed 18 January 2022)
20
Bureau of Transportation Statistics “Annual Highway Congestion Cost” National Transportation Statistics
https://www.bts.gov/content/annual-highway-congestion-cost (Accessed 18 January 2022)
21
David Austin, Pricing Freight Transport to Account for External Costs (Washington DC: Congressional
Budget Office, 2015).
https://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/114th-congress-2015-2016/workingpaper/50049-Freight_Tran
sport_Working_Paper-2.pdf. Pp 2 Summary.
Woods, S; Merrett, S. Operation of a sail freighter on the Hudson River: Schooner Apollonia in 2021, Journal of
Merchant Ship Wind Energy, 2 March 2022 9/12
Given better freight ton efficiency data for small trucks and historical data for the same cargo
movements, a more accurate calculation of Apollonia’s impact could be made. This data is not readily
available, and the above are the likely floor for efficiency gains from small Sail Freighters on inland routes
using an auxiliary diesel engine.
Intensity as a percentage of maximum load weight for Apollonia is worth considering. The
maximum a 10 CDWT capacity could have carried per circuit would be 2,346 ton miles. This assumes a
two-way voyage from Hudson to New York City, each leg of which is 117.3 miles long, with a full hold. For
five trips, this would be a maximum of 11,730 ton-miles. Apollonia only moved slightly over 21.5% of this
maximum in 2021, as some runs were not made with a completely full hold, while others, such as a 2,000
load of peppers from Milton to Hudson, were affected by cargo density. Apollonia’s maximum theoretical
fuel efficiency would be some 626 ton-miles per gallon of fuel (266 tkm/l), at the crew’s current skill level
and engine use patterns.
This maximum figure is over twenty times that of comparable trucking, nearly 9 times the average
for trucking in the US, and 25% better than rail figures of around 500 ton-miles per gallon. With the time
allowed by the season on the Hudson, a total of 12 voyages could be undertaken, which may result in
higher realized efficiency through higher average cargo intensity or less engine use per ton-mile across
the season.
The issue of cargo density as mentioned above is important for both trucks and sail freighters: It
would be impossible to fit 10 tons of fresh peppers into the hold of the ship or onto most trucks, and cubic
space should play into this calculation. As Malt is generally between .3-.7 tons per cubic meter in density
(load factor), this is a serious concern for Apollonia’s main trade reaching full tonnage loads due to cargo
density and the limits of storage space, meaning neither will likely reach their theoretical efficiencies in
service. If fuel were allocated to vehicles based solely on their maximum theoretical fuel efficiency, no
cargo moved by fossil fuels or electrified transport would ever arrive on target. This lack of clear
information on average or real-world relative energy and carbon intensity for various vehicle types is a
significant problem for sustainable transportation planning and research. By contrast, over 5,000 years of
precedent has shown a lack of fuel does not fundamentally affect sail freighters’ ability to reach their
destination, though it may affect port-to-port time and scheduling.
Turning to Carbon Emissions, at 22.48 pounds of CO2 per gallon of diesel
22
Apollonia emitted
about 437.68 pounds of CO2 in the course of her operations. A 2.5 ton truck would emit 1,963.25 pounds
(890.5 kg) of CO2, assuming no deadheading and maximum efficiency loads. In the worst-case scenario,
Apollonia avoided over 1,530 pounds (694 kg) of carbon emissions in 2021. Her impacts on particulates,
SOx, NOx, and other pollutants will be proportionate, and the issue of noise pollution is not covered here.
IMPLICATIONS FOR INLAND AND COASTAL SAIL FREIGHT EFFICIENCY
There are lessons to be learned from the Apollonia for inland and coastal Sail Freight in small
vessels. Internal Combustion Engine propulsion experiences economies of scale, and becomes more
efficient the larger a vessel becomes.
23
As sail freight vessels grow in CDWT terms both important
22
Energy Information Administration. Carbon Dioxide Emissions Coefficients
https://www.eia.gov/environment/emissions/co2_vol_mass.php (Accessed 8 February 2022)
23
WSDC, Wind Propulsion For Ships Of The American Merchant Marine Pp X-6
Woods, S; Merrett, S. Operation of a sail freighter on the Hudson River: Schooner Apollonia in 2021, Journal of
Merchant Ship Wind Energy, 2 March 2022 10/12
efficiency metrics, Ton-Mile Fuel Efficiency and Tons Per Sailor, increase so long as engine use patterns
remain the same. The application of electric engines with underway battery recharging will give further
advantages against all forms of terrestrial transport. Engineless coastal vessels will have a much higher
fuel efficiency in the middle legs of their voyages, but must use tugs when entering certain ports, inducing
some fuel use on the terminal ends of the voyage which will be difficult to measure accurately. This will
give a significant incentive in climate adaptation planning to shift cargo to coastal and inland sail-motor
freighters where possible, but will need to be tested once such vessels are in service and can give real-
world comparisons.
How the overall distance traveled by Apollonia compares to trucking routes for the same cargo
has not been examined, but may conceal other difficulties in measuring efficiency by changing the relative
ton miles by river or road. From Hudson Valley Malt to Sing Sing Kill brewery is 78.2 miles by truck, but
85.1 river miles from Hudson to Ossining. This makes comprehensive comparison complex, but does not
affect relative fuel efficiency.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR FURTHER RESEARCH
The Apollonia refined her routing over the course of 2021 to optimize her circuit. This involved
stopping at ports only while headed in one direction, for example. This reduces the total number of
dockings per circuit, which can have a significant effect on the amount of engine time used per voyage.
Less engine use translates directly to less fuel use for the same number of ton-miles. The skill of the crew
and their familiarity with both the ship and the waters they sail will only grow as the operation continues,
which will be worth examining when data becomes available.
No economic analysis of the Apollonia has been undertaken, and is outside the scope of this study.
Examining the economics of coastal and inland sail freighters will have to be made based on a vessel and
route pairing to make the appropriate comparison. Fuel cost and trucking rates will also play a role in
making such a comparison, both of which are quite volatile at this time.
Research with small sail freighters equipped with other engine types, such as electric motors
powered by batteries, propeller regeneration, and solar charging systems is worth funding once such
vessels are available for study. Their ecological footprint will be significantly different than Apollonia’s,
and their engine use strategy could be far more intensive without increasing carbon emissions or other
pollution. Vessel design is outside the scope of this paper, and these vessels have yet to be commissioned,
making a comparison impossible at this time.
The complete effects of Apollonia’s operations are difficult to quantify, such as social impact. This
could be measured in the lives prolonged by a lack of pollutants released in New York City, traditional
skills learned, and educational moments which changed how people think of transportation,
consumption, and waterways like the Hudson River and New York Harbor. These topics are outside the
scope of this study.
CONCLUSION
Schooner Apollonia’s cargo and fuel use records from 2021 show that the ton-mile fuel efficiency
of even a very small sail freighter is far higher than comparable trucking. Operational results show a fuel
efficiency of 134.6 ton-miles per gallon of diesel fuel while operating at 21.5% tonnage intensity, as
compared to an average of 70 tm/gal for US trucking overall. When compared to the 2½ ton box trucks
Woods, S; Merrett, S. Operation of a sail freighter on the Hudson River: Schooner Apollonia in 2021, Journal of
Merchant Ship Wind Energy, 2 March 2022 11/12
she replaces, she has an advantage of 104.6 tm/gal at the same intensity against the truck at 100%
intensity. If Apollonia were used at full CDWT capacity with current engine use patterns, she would give
626 tm/gal, 25% better than rail, nearly 21 times better than 2½ ton trucks, and just under 9 times more
efficient than the US trucking average.
Due to the engine use strategy of the ship, considerable time was spent at anchor. Over 62 days
of operations, 459 hours were spent underway, with 300.35 at anchor. Velocity Made good on Course
(VMC) while under way ranged from 2.35-2.85 knots, while overall VMC including time at anchor was
1.578 knots.
The nature of navigation and winds on the Hudson River make these results applicable principally
to this route and engine use pattern. Predominant winds force frequent tacking and jybing, and the slightly
longer ebb tide makes southbound travel easier than northbound. It is clear that larger vessels will be
more efficient, and other routes which require less docking and maneuvering under power will increase
efficiency, making these figures a likely floor of fuel efficiency for inland and coastal sail freighters.
Acknowledgements: Thanks are due to Apollonia’s Bosun Tanya Van Renesse, and Supercargo Brad
Vogel for their critical assistance in collecting information on cargo weights, destinations, and origins.
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Thesis
Full-text available
Sail Freight has slowly worked its way into the realm of sustainability discourse as a way of reducing emissions from transportation, providing logistical solutions using the emissions free power of the wind and technologies proven effective for over 5000 years. This attitude toward Sail Freight and transportation in general has some merits, but none of these discussions seem to have examined the issue of readopting sail freight at scale. This paper proposes methods of understanding this issue of scale by calculating the needs of a city for food. Using foodshed analysis to calculate necessary fleet capacities therefrom, as well as the labor needed to support this fleet, a model is provided for the New York Metro Area. The capacity for building this fleet and training sailors with current sail freight infrastructure and operations is then examined, with recommendations and analysis for addressing these challenges over the coming decades.
Technical Report
Full-text available
Although freight transport contributes significantly to the productivity of the U.S. economy, it also involves sizable costs to society. Those costs include wear and tear on roads and bridges; delays caused by traffic congestion; injuries, fatalities, and property damage from accidents; and harmful effects from exhaust emissions. No one pays those external costs directly—neither freight haulers, nor shippers, nor consumers. The unpriced external costs of transporting freight by truck (per ton-mile) are around eight times higher than by rail; those costs net of existing taxes represent about 20 percent of the cost of truck transport and about 11 percent of the cost of rail transport. This study examines policy options to address those unpriced external costs. The options would impose taxes based on the weight or distance of each shipment, increase the existing tax on diesel fuel, implement a tax on the transport of shipping containers, or increase the existing tax on truck tires. The analysis estimates what would have occurred in 2007 had the simulated policies already been in place and had any initial, short-term transitions in response to the policies already occurred. Adding unpriced external costs to the rates charged by each mode of transport—via a weightdistance tax plus an increase in the tax on diesel fuel—would have caused a 3.6 percent shift of ton-miles from truck to rail and a 0.8 percent reduction in the total amount of tonnage transported. Such a policy would have eliminated 3.2 million highway truck trips per year and saved about 670 million gallons of fuel annually (including the increase in fuel used for rail freight). On net, accounting for the effect of fuel savings on revenue from the fuel tax, such a policy would also have generated about $68 billion per year in new tax revenue and reduced external costs by $2.3 billion. Adopting instead the other policy options that were studied would have resulted in smaller changes in tonnage and ton-miles and smaller increases in tax revenue. All of the policy options would have narrowed the gap in the share of external costs paid in taxes by truck versus rail.
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Ellard, Derek. "The Electric Clippers" gosailcargo.com (accessed 1 December 2021) Energy Information Administration. Carbon Dioxide Emissions Coefficients https://www.eia.gov/environment/emissions/co2_vol_mass.php (Accessed 8 February 2022)
The Sloops of the Hudson River: A Historical and Design Survey (Mystic: Mystic Seaport Museum
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Fontenoy, Paul E. The Sloops of the Hudson River: A Historical and Design Survey (Mystic: Mystic Seaport Museum, 1994)
How Great Cities are
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Hedden, Walter P. How Great Cities are Fed New York: D.C. Heath, 1929.
The Last Tall Ships: Gustaf Erikson and the Aland Island Sailing Fleets, 1872-1947 Basil Greenhill
  • Georg Kahre
Kahre, Georg. The Last Tall Ships: Gustaf Erikson and the Aland Island Sailing Fleets, 1872-1947 Basil Greenhill, Ed. (London: Conway Maritime Press, 1990)
The retrofitting of sail to two existing motor ships of the Fiji Government fleet
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MacAlister, R.G. "The retrofitting of sail to two existing motor ships of the Fiji Government fleet." Proceedings of Regional Conference on Sail-Motor Propulsion Manila: Asian Development Bank, 1985
Unpublished, 2021. NHTSA. Factors and Considerations for Establishing a Fuel Efficiency Regulatory Program for Commercial Medium-and Heavy-Duty Vehicles Washington, DC: NHTSA
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Merrett, Sam. "Log of Schooner Apollonia, 2021" Unpublished, 2021. NHTSA. Factors and Considerations for Establishing a Fuel Efficiency Regulatory Program for Commercial Medium-and Heavy-Duty Vehicles Washington, DC: NHTSA, 2010. https://www.nhtsa.gov/sites/nhtsa.gov/files/nhtsa_study_trucks.pdf (Accessed 28 November 2021)
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