Setting sail on sustainable horizon

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Photo A - Grayhound sailing ship - by Becky Treneer (2)

A Cornish marine business has strengthened its commitment to sustainable shipping.

Along with Netherlands-based Fairtransport Shipping and France/Breton shipping company, Trans Oceanic Wind Transport (TOWT), Grayhound Lugger Sailing has created the Sailing Cargo Alliance (SCA).

The Grayhound is a replica of an 18th century three-masted Cornish lugger sailing ship and is the only one of its kind in the world. When she carries organic ale, wine, tea and honey across the English Channel, she does so in the tradition of sailors hundreds of years ago, with minimal engine usage.

The products transported are labeled individually to identify the specific amount of CO2 emissions saved, as well as route characteristics. One cargo run alone can save up to 5 tonnes of CO2.

Freya Pomeroy-Rowden, partner at Millbrook-based Grayhound Lugger Sailing, said: “Onboard Grayhound, we are passionate about treading as lightly as possible on our planet’s resources.

“We wanted to start a small family-run business that would reflect this, so operating as a sailing cargo ship is ideal. We are actively living it, while offering others a practical way to get their specialist goods to market while reducing the release of harmful emissions.

“With the support of Fairtransport and TOWT, we are very excited, especially with regard to what it means to the future of sailing cargo and low emission transport and our ability to contribute to it.

“Together we are stronger and more powerful. Plus, as neighbouring countries, we work together in to support one another through the SCA.”

Since May, Grayhound has sailed nearly 20 tonnes of cargo from West Country ports Brixham, Plymouth and Falmouth to Douarnenez and Nantes in France.

A selection of organic Bordeaux and Muscadet wines travelled across the Channel to Falmouth, destined for Cusgarne Organic Farm, near Truro. The last delivery took place in September when three tonnes of wine were offloaded for the winter trade.

Looking ahead, the service will resume at Easter. Grayhound’s new 2016 schedule is now online and will sail eight cargo runs from April to October.