Please select your home edition
Edition
North Sails 2019 - NSVictoryList - Leaderboard

Oil-free food by sailboat - a tiny reality

by Mary Rothschild, Pacific Northwest/Sail-World on 3 Aug 2009
Dave Reid loading vegetables onto Whisper SW
There are small signs the world over. Over in Europe there's a sailor who is delivering wine by sailing boat, down in the Gulf of Mexico another attempt to convey goods by sailing boat came to a sad end when the boat sank, but now in USA's Puget Sound there's a sailor who has a weekly food order - to be delivered by sailing boat and without using a drop of oil.

It was last January when Scottish engineer Dave Reid, who gave up his job to begin his 'Sail Transport Network', loaded some 700 pounds of freshly harvested organic vegetables into the cabin of his 27-foot sailboat, The Whisper, in Sequim Bay, hoisted his sails and rode an outgoing tide into the Strait of Juan de Fuca, bound for Seattle.

Over the next two days, Reid sailed on quirky winds, dodged state ferries, scooted past Chinese container ships and even encountered a mammoth Trident submarine before eventually docking at Shilshole Bay. That's where his customers showed up to collect their allotments of herbs and greens.


In an economy that usually rewards speed and efficiency, Reid's carbon-free voyage gave new meaning to tilting at windmills. It took 36 hours to make a trip a small truck could have accomplished in two hours. And his 700 pounds amounted to a minuscule percentage of the food consumed in Seattle that day.

But Reid and his collaborators in the regional sustainability movement are dead serious about the idea of transporting goods by sailboat. It's an idea that's less about straight-from-the-farm spinach and arugula than it is about proving that just about anything can be moved from Point A to Point B without burning a drop of oil.

To make that work on a larger scale, he says, the effort must start small. Instead of waiting for President Obama or the Ford Motor Co. to conserve energy, he's taking action now, riding on the belief that individuals and neighborhoods must take matters into their own hands.


On a rather microcosmic level, Reid appears to have made his case. Six months after his test run, Sail Transport Network, after years of planning, has finally negotiated deals with several Puget Sound farmers and has dozens more interested. Seattle City Hall and the Port of Seattle have both offered free dock space. This summer, Reid is making weekly voyages from Sequim and Poulsbo to Shilshole Bay.

A soft-spoken engineer who has been involved in the idea of alternative transport means for several years, Reid doesn't expect Sail Transport Network to make a profit anytime soon. But he insists that his business is not about profit anymore than it's about maritime nostalgia.


'We are not looking backward,' he says. 'We're looking forward, dealing with the emerging realities of a new economy.

'Sustainability — broadly understood as meeting today's needs without exhausting resources or compromising the future — is hardly a new concept.'

If you have ideas for Dave, or want to help him on his way, go to his new website, under construction as this news piece goes out: www.sailtransportnetwork.com

.............................

Letter received from Reader since publication of the article:

Sender: Tom Zurick

Message: I liked the article very much.
My plans are to retire in about two years and take on a live aboard status. I have been considering what type and what size sailboat to buy.
I have also been trying to fiqure out ways to make money with a sailboat, aside from charters.
It is encouraging to see that other people are thinking along these lines.

I wish Dave and Sail Transport Network good luck in this endeavour.

Tom

RS Sailing 2019 - FooterGul 2019 GAMMA FooterAOWBS 2019 Bottom

Related Articles

Mini-Transat La Boulangère 2019 delayed
A more favourable weather window might well open up (or not...) at the end of the week In the meantime, the wind conditions and, above all, the sea state will be too boisterous in the Bay of Biscay and offshore of Cape Finisterre. A more favourable weather window might well open up (or not...) at the end of the week.
Posted today at 8:29 pm
Audi 52 Super Series Sailing Week practice race
A brisk warmup for what is shaping up to be a windy opening in Porto Cervo A Mistral breeze of up to 28 knots gave the ten-boat TP52 fleet a suitable test before racing starts Tuesday as well as serving a reminder that anything can happen.
Posted today at 8:27 pm
The Clipper Race Leg 1, Race 2, Day 8
Visit Sanya, China is currently leading the fleet in Race 2: The Commodore's Cup. After hiding its position from the rest of the fleet by using Stealth Mode, Qingdao reappeared to cross the Scoring Gate in second place at 13:04:00 UTC, one hour, 27 minutes and 45 seconds behind Visit Sanya, China.
Posted today at 2:16 pm
Italian city to host finish of The Ocean Race
The selection of Italy's top maritime city opens the event to a new audience Genoa will be the finish of the next edition of The Ocean Race, marking the first time the fully-crewed, around the world yacht race, known as the 'toughest test of a team in sport' will come to Italy.
Posted today at 1:34 pm
Allstate Sugar Bowl Regatta overall
Tulane sailing team finishes second, winning 7 of 9 races on Sunday The Tulane sailing team finished the Allstate Sugar Bowl Regatta in an impressive second-place position on Sunday, falling only to defending national champion College of Charleston on Lake Pontchartrain.
Posted today at 12:41 pm
Clagett/Oakcliff Match Racing Clinic and Regatta
Sailors with disabilities race in Oyster Bay, N.Y. Sailors with disabilities who have been racing in the fourth Clagett/Oakcliff Match Racing Clinic and Regatta have sailed for two days in Oyster Bay, N.Y.
Posted today at 11:59 am
America's Cup: Emirates Team NZ sails in 18-25kts
The new America's Cup class answered many questions as to how the type would handle fresh breezes The new America's Cup class AC75 answered many questions as to how the type would handle fresh breezes with the Defenders sailing for the second successive day in fresh winds
Posted today at 8:16 am
Getting serious
As American Magic get their initial AC75 up and foiling first over the Defenders... As American Magic get their initial AC75 up and foiling first over the Defenders, a vessel known as K8 sat in the pond at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia.
Posted on 22 Sep
U.S. SailGP Team at Marseille SailGP overall
Kirby vows comeback after the team's rollercoaster season In a season of highs and lows, the United States SailGP Team, the youngest team in the SailGP Championship, finished the inaugural season today at Marseille SailGP and is now focused on taking this year's learnings into 2020.
Posted on 22 Sep
2019 Melges 24 Pre-worlds overall
Bombarda takes it all and the Melges 24 fleet flies toward the Worlds "Since the very first day of training here in Villasimius, the feeling with the race course and the boat has been positive. This positive wake has continued even in the following days of racing."
Posted on 22 Sep