Welcome to Sail Freighter Fridays! This article is part of a series linked to our new exhibit: "A New Age Of Sail: The History And Future Of Sail Freight In The Hudson Valley," and tells the stories of sailing cargo ships both modern and historical, on the Hudson River and around the world. Anyone interested in how to support Sail Freight should also check out the Conference in November, and the International Windship Association's Decade of Wind Propulsion.
The wooden Brigantine Tres Hombres was launched in the Netherlands in 1943, and served initially as a fishing boat. After her first career, she sat idle until 2007, when she was purchased by three friends intent on reviving sail freight. After a two year restoration, she was relaunched in 2009, and began her sail freight career.
One of the early pioneers of transatlantic sail freight, Tres Hombres was one of the vessels which paved the way for others, proving the commercial viability of sail freight for high-value cargoes. Now, Grain de Sail has taken on this model with newly built sail freighters designed for carrying wine and chocolate, as just one example of follow-on movements from the Tres Hombres.
Tres Hombres can carry 40 tons of cargo, mostly coffee, chocolate, rum, and other high-value items from the Caribbean to Europe. As an engineless vessel, she is a truly zero-emission vessel, and has made 12 transatlantic circuits since 2009. She is also involved with coastal trade in Europe, rebuilding coastal trade relationships which have fallen away in the last 80-100 years.
With a crew of 7 and 8 additional trainees, Tres Hombres serves as a training vessel alongside moving cargo. This will be a big advantage to the Sail Freight movement, as her Brigantine rig combines both Square-Rig and Fore-And-Aft rig sailing, allowing for trainees to become familiar with both types of traditional rig. These trainees will be needed when they complete the program to crew other sail freighters in construction or planning, such as Ceiba, Brigantes, Hawaila, and the EcoClipper Fleet.
You can learn more about Tres Hombres and the FairTransport company at https://fairtransport.eu/. The webpage also includes her sailing schedule, and how to sign up to sail as a trainee.
Steven Woods is the Solaris and Education coordinator at HRMM. He earned his Master's degree in Resilient and Sustainable Communities at Prescott College, and wrote his thesis on the revival of Sail Freight for supplying the New York Metro Area's food needs. Steven has worked in Museums for over 20 years.
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This blog is written by Hudson River Maritime Museum staff, volunteers and guest contributors.
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