A few months ago we reported on future attempts to use a kite to move a cargo ship across the ocean. But just last week, the MS Beluga set sail on its maiden voyage from Bremerhaven to Venezuela where it showed, quite successfully, that wind power might just be the future of nautical transportation.

The MS Beluga is a 140 meter long cargo ship. It uses a 160 square meter sky-sail which is set to fly at a height between 100 and 300 meters above the ocean. While it is not the main mode of propulsion, the kite is able to reduce fuel consumption by about 10% to 35% depending on wind conditions. The Skysail is the creation of Stephan Wrage who believes these kites could be used on almost 60% of all cargo ships. It is attached to the ship by a single line that is controlled by a computer, and works precisely as you’d expect, like a giant version of a small kite.

The maiden voyage started just last week, and already the sail has been deployed. It will cross the Atlantic Ocean using the traditional windjammer route south of the Azores. Its full travelling time is expected to be a total of 15 days. If successful, the company expects to deploy this system on other cargo ships.

+ Kite to pull ship across Atlantic @ BBC

+ Beluga Group