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Sticks, stones, grass and a little sharkskin


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Making the case for sail-powered sea transport as a practical adaption to the challenges faced by tomorrow’s Oceania. A presentation by Peter Nuttall.

Making the case for sail-powered sea transport as a practical adaption to the challenges faced by tomorrow’s Oceania. A presentation by Peter Nuttall.

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  • 1.
  • 2. ‘Future Challenges/Ancient Knowledge’ Conference, USP, Suva, 2010
    Making the case for sail-powered sea transport as a practical adaption to the challenges faced by tomorrow’s Oceania.
    Toward the future with sticks, stones, grass and a little sharkskin
  • 3. New approaches/solutions needed for Oceania.
    Ever increasing demand for resources/services in an ocean dominated by sea transport.
    Climate change/environmental degradation/acid oceans
    Decreasing supplies and increasing demand for fossil fuels = increasing exposure to price and security of supply
    The uniqueness of Island Oceania means challenges and opportunities are not necessarily the same as for Continental Earth.
    Oceania has a successful historical record of continuous adaption and innovation excellence in sea-transport.
  • 4. Ships are to Oceania as horses, roads, cars, rail and trucks are to continents.
    globally, 90% of goods/resources transported by sea
    costs more to ship a container by road 100km than it does to move by sea from China to Europe
    Sea transport produces more CO2 than Germany
    produces more sulphur dioxide than all global cars and lorries.
    generates 27 per cent of the world’s nitrogen oxide emissions
    Oceania is more reliant on imported fossil fuel than any other part of the world – 95% (99% if PNG/Fiji excluded)
    Fiji Govt target is reduce imported fuel by $100m
  • 5. Projected emissions up to 2050 under four different technology scenarios that vary the sulphur content of ship fuels show a strong increasing trend, with the steepest increase between 2010 and 2030. Source: IPCC, 2007
    Transport Energy Consumption. Source: IPCC 2007
  • 6. Sail-powered sea-transport:
    intellectual property legacy of the Pacific
    issue that links all of Oceania
  • 7. It’s a wind generator Jim, just not as we know it!!!
  • 8. My name is Peter Nuttall
    kiwi geographer
    For the past decade my home has been a sailing ship in the Pacific.
    We learnt to live, travel, work and play on a fossil fuel budget of less than 1 litre a day for a family of 5.
    2 litres of fuel to travel from NZ to Fiji.
    We use solar, wind & tow–behind generators to provide all electricity - advances in technology - LED lights, Ni-cad rechargeable batteries help.
    These are adaptations that are all available to village Oceania
  • 9. Today’s presentation
    Lessons Learned
    Sailing – an Oceanic Legacy
    Southampton Uni
    Na Mataisau
    Shin AitokuMaru
    Uto Ni Yalo
    Five Scenarios:
    Solodamu – a single village response
    FLMMA – ships for programmes
    A Fleet of Ships
    A Sail Training Ship
    Sailing Barges
    Next Steps
  • 10. Today’s presentation
    Fiji focussed but much is applicable across the region
  • 11. Sailing – An Oceanic Legacy
    Over past 3-5,000 yrs, Pacific Sailors explored & populated the Pacific Ocean, 1/3 globe on planned voyages aboard fast, seaworthy double hulled sailing ships.
    For most of this time the continental world couldn’t sail out of sight of land.
    Some believed the earth was flat.
  • 12. With sticks, stones and grass, a sail technology was perfected that wasn’t rivalled again until aerodynamics was used for flying.
    The engineering and physics required were remarkable aero & hydrodynamically
    NB: the sailboat was the first machine to achieve powered motion without rotating parts? And that to sail to windward (upwind) you sail on a wind that doesn't actually exist but is only apparent?
  • 13.
  • 14.
  • 15. The ships & sails were the pinnacle of sailing technology – fast, big and manoeuvrable.
    If the America’s Cup had been sailed in 1800 it would have been a race between Drua, Kalia and Va’a.
    The Pacific was an ocean of sails
    The primary technology for voyaging, exploration, warfare, communication and trade.
  • 16. Fijian Vesi was at the centre of a trading network that covered much of central Oceania, complex networks of island and village communities connected by reliable vessels of up to 100’ moving seasonally.
    After colonisation, as with other Pacific island experience, most local based sea transport ventures failed.
    This appears to be from
    • The availability of larger ships than a single community/island could operate
    • 17. a failure to balance vaka vanua and cultural principles with modern business imperatives
    • Poor seamanship or asset maintenance, or
    • 18. Any inability to understand western commerce
  • In only a few decades, much of this indigenous technology and knowledge was lost. Islanders became reliant on ships owned by “outsiders” and then on fossil fuel powered sea-transport.
    Sail is now used largely for recreation, sport and tourism
  • 19. Surely the case for sail has been exhaustively examined before now?
    Unfortunately no. With cheap oil, motor propulsion has held almost total dominance.
    Sea transport has a low profile compared with air and land transport issues.
    There have been some important experiments following the oil crisis in the 1970s, largely abandoned after oil prices fell the next decade.
  • 20. Na Mataisau (1984)
    6 yr old, 300 ton passenger/cargo ship used for island work in Fiji.
    Retrofitted with auxiliary sailing rig -ADB /Southampton University project.
    Results were impressive:
    23 % fuel saving
    Incr stability = incr passenger comfort & safety, reduced engine wear, reduced roll.
    30% overall engine wear reduction
    Feathering prop would = additional 30% saving
    Capable of pure sail
  • 21. 17 Jan 1985 Na Mataisau was caught in a developing cyclone
    Her engines failed.
    Under sail alone she made the safety of Maloa Is.
    Although she grounded and sank, 16 crew and party of passengers including Fiji PM made it ashore
    2 crew were drowned.
    The rig was salvaged and put on “Kapawai” but suffered technical problems.
    “Cagidonu” was also fitted with sails and achieved up to 30% fuel savings.
  • 22. The research from Southampton University collected comprehensive wind and route data for all Fiji which is all still relevant today
  • 23.
  • 24. The results from these experiments provide compelling arguments for sail use on most common Fiji shipping routes
  • 25.
  • 26. Also in the 1980s the Japanese fitted small oil tankers with fixed wing sails.
    These were high tech, computer controlled rigs.
    Again the results were impressive. But low fuel costs meant they were discontinued after 3 yrs.
    Shin AitokuMaru
    The ships use an evolution of traditional square rigs
  • 27.
    • Overall fuel savings of up to 30%
    • 28. The sails replaced the need for stabilisers – the roll and pitch of the boat was greatly reduced. Energy demand decreased by 50%
    • 29. Increased stability meant vessel could operate in stronger weather than conventional ships
    • 30. Engine wear dramatically reduced
    • 31. Vessel maximum cruising speed increased from 12-14kts
    • 32. Vessel could be sailed without motors in emergencies
  • More recently focus has shifted to the potential for kite sails. It is predicted that these sails can reduce fuel consumption by between 30 and 50 per cent, depending on the wind conditions.
    The system could be applied to 60,000 vessels out of the 100,000 listed in the Lloyd’s register including bulk carriers, tankers .
  • 33. In the 1980’s FAO investigated and trialled a range of artisanal fishing craft in a number of Pacific Island countries.
    More than 350 vessels were built.
    These included several sail or sail assisted vessels ranging from one person fishing catamarans to 11 m trimarans.
  • 34. Although the uptake was low, the design work is still relevant today
    One of the critical lessons learned was that cultures with a living sailing tradition were much more likely to use sail effectively.
    A whole sailing culture has to be learnt and used .
    Sail options need to demonstrate economic viability for broad uptake
    KIRIBATI – 7.1 Metre Canoe KIB-4
  • 35. Pacific Voyaging Revival
    In the past 30 yrs there has been a sustained revival and relearning of Oceanic sailing heritage.
    There are increasing numbers of traditional (and modern adaptations) of iconic Oceanic sailing craft and increasing interest by Pacific Islanders in their sailing heritage.
    The most recent fleet, including Uto ni Yalo has led to an unprecedented resurgence in interest in sailing and Drua culture in Fiji.
  • 36.
  • 37. Propulsion Options for Sea-Transport Vessels
    100 %
    0 %
    Wind-Assisted Motor -Assisted
    MotorshipMotorship Motor – Wind – Ship Windship
  • 38. 4 case –studies using both motor and sail vessels have been considered for Fiji
    100 %
    0 %
    Wind-Assisted Motor -Assisted
    MotorshipMotorship Motor – Wind – Ship Windship
  • 39. Case study 1
    Sailing for Sustainability
    in Solodamu, Kadavu, Fiji
    Can one small village sustainably operate a sail powered trading catamaran ?
  • 40. .
  • 41.
  • 42. A number of core issues are facing the village associated with the need to generate a sustainable cash income for the village.
    • Kadavu is not on the main tourist routes of
    Fiji. Although good conservationists (community bush reserve/MPA), opportunities for eco-tourism are poor.
    • The village is located some distance from
    good gardening areas
    • The costs of transport for people and goods both outgoing from the village (primarily kava and honey) and incoming (basic food, building and fuel supplies) is high & increasing.
  • Solodamu, like most villages in Fiji is reliant on fibers and ferries for transport of people and goods and for fishing.
  • 43. The village had operated a small launch for many years but the vessel is now beached and in very poor repair.
    1n 2008 the village started asking if a sailing vessel replacement was possible.
  • 44.
    Research over the past 3 years has shown such an operation is viably commercially & will produce multi-benefits to the village and other Kadavu communities.
    It could be sustainable - economically, environmentally, socially and culturally.

    For additional info on this initiative:
  • 46. Case study 2
    A Fleet of Ships
  • 47. Uto Ni Yalo has proved the viability of a 70+’ blue water, double hulled sailing vessel.
    It is a “”Rolls Royce” machine, built using modern material and techniques in NZ’s premiere boatyard.
    When fitted with electric/solar power motors, it will be a totally ‘green ship”
    Asset cost is approx $FJ1m.
    If this is the Rolls Royce, what would a “carrier truck” version look like?
    The Solodamu research indicates that 50-55’ catamarans capable of carrying 4 tonne or either cargo/passengers are viable economically.
    It also indicates there is room for a least 2-3 vessels to operate sustainably for Kadavu
  • 48. The M.V. Lau Trader is the latest ferry to service the Lau group. However, the vessel size means that numerous small stops to the isolated islands are not an economical use of the asset.
    But a fleet of island based catamaran servicing 3 - 4 transport nodes looks like a sound proposition
  • 49.
  • 50. Other logical targets for deployment of such vessels includes:
    Rotuma (70’ version)
    Fiji has a proven track record of small ship manufacture, support and maintenance infrastructure.
    The success of Uto ni Yalo means there is a surplus of crew asking to be trained
    A centrally owned fleet, with vessels leased to village/island trading networks would provide numerous benefits to both villages and a budding boatbuilding/training industry
    If successful in Fiji, it can be replicated in numerous other parts of Oceania
  • 51. Case study 3
    A Sail Training Ship
  • 52.
  • 53. The Drua is one of Fiji’s most recognisable icons – on coins, stamps, phone boxes, coats of arms, letterheads, adverts, t-shirts
    The Drua is arguably the pinnacle of traditional Pacific sailing design – combining Micronesia rig, the Fijian timber and Tongan boatbuilding skill.
    No full scale Drua has been built for 100+ years
    A 100’ Drua would make a remarkable sail training vessel for:
    • Sea cadet training
    • 54. Leadership training
    • 55. Outward Bound
    • 56. Iconic national flagship
  • A new “Ra Marama” would be powerful statement
  • 57. Case study 4
    Sailing Barges
  • 58. Fiji Times reported the 2010 drought cost $1.4m in sea transport of water to the Yasawas and outer islands.
    A reasonable proportion of that cost will be fuel related
    The fixed wing sails used by the Japanese tankers are high tech – complex engineering and computerised controls.
    A much simpler rig could be built at a fraction of the cost for a sailing barge.
    The route from Lautoka to Yasawas would be maximum wind efficiency for the outward, laden voyage and the barge could be driven back empty under motor.
  • 59. Fuel efficiencies are potentially as high as 65% on favourable routes. Fuel savings alone would make the IRR extremely favourable
    Such barges would have application across Fiji – timber transport for pine from Kadavu, copra from Koro, etc
  • 60. Lessons
    Its a bit more complicated than just stick a sail on a boat and sail away. History offers valuable lessons and advice.
    Sail is a viable alternative BUT its not the whole answer.
    A sailing culture needs to be re-learnt; you cant sail into the wind. It takes time.
    Changes in community over time means changes in boat construction, operation, management, maintenance.
    No one size fits all.
    Political reefs sink ships faster than coral or storms
    Relationships are critical.
  • 61. Lessons
    Sailing vessels and sail technology offer a unique potential to dramatically reduce sea transport fossil fuel use for Fiji and the Pacific.
    Careful research and coordination amongst a wide range of stakeholders is needed – govt, villages, business, researchers, NGOs
    The costs of achieving active use of sail at a commercial level are likely to be a small fraction of the overall benefit
    Fiji has all the skill sets necessary to be a leader in this field