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Our friend Madadh MacLaine at Fair Winds Trading recently put me in touch with Ben at Timbercoast. I had only briefly heard about them, so I had a look and got in touch. Another wonderful looking, well organised and achievable wind transport project. Their blog is showing that a great team of volunteers has come together to do sections of the restoration. Plus they have arranged a strong collaboration with the other active European wind transport projects at Tres Hombres and Grayhound as Fairtransport. Tres Hombres has reached break even in 2013, so the market for fairly transported cargoes is there. Let’s hope that Timbercoast will make it, as they traverse the Atlantic and head for the trading area around Australia and south-east Asia.

Ben is oozing enthusiasm when he says things like “we are putting in long hours with the support of our local community and the eagerness of a diverse group of international volunteers to rebuild our sail cargo ship.” There is definitely something to the old adage that “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.” ( Antoine de Saint Exupéry) The Timbercoast crew seem to have tapped that longing and that excitement. If we were not so involved in a bunch of other, vital projects, I am sure I would be up there helping to carve a mast!

Unfortunately I won’t be carving anything in the near future, but I hope we can manage to work on some other collaborations. But for those who are near by, the crew will be sharing their excitement in August. “Come Sail Bremerhaven (Aug 12-16th), we’ll be doing ship building demonstrations, an exhibition on the importance of sustainable shipping and a beneficial concert series.  It’s safe to say we’re busy and eager to expose responsible shipping!”

We would like to wish them good luck. Within the confines of our project Changing Weathers, these ideas about new systems, the re-emergence of trailing edge technologies that actually surpass leading edge tech and the interesting combination of the two (steel hulls, sail drive, satellite supported wind routing,..) attain more relevance. Partners in the project are investigating traditional Sami practices in northern Finland, taking hackers out into the wilderness in Slovenia and Finland and generally looking at ways of dealing with current geophysical and geopolitical changes. The world needs more projects like Timbercoast, people investigating ways of solving current problems without lamenting about them. Let’s see how they can all start to fit together.