The German container ship MS Beluga Skysails began its maiden voyage from the port of Bremerhaven to Venezuela on January 1. The ship is the first commercial use of the “skysail” technology, in which a sail much like a paraglider is deployed on a cable to reduce the fuel consumption of the ship and thus reduce carbon emissions. The height of the sail gives it an advantage over a traditional sailboat or sailing ship because it’s deployed at a greater height, giving it access to stronger winds.
The technology is proposed by use not only by container ships but by superyachts — promising to ease the fuel-cost anxieties of multizillionaires worldwide, I’m sure. National Geographic has a video featuring interviews with Beluga Shipping officials and animation of the ship under sail on the high seas, and Sail-world.com has an interesting article on the topic.