AEGEAN CARGO SAILING
Locally Made Products
From Greek Islands
Locally Made Products
From Greek Islands
Following on the success of the 2017 Aegean Cargo Sailing trip we organised a longer tour during the months of May and June 2018. This time the aim was to cover all the island regions of the Aegean Sea: the Cyclades, the Sporadies, the North Aegean Islands and the Dodecanese. Geography dictated the sailing plan, starting from the port of Lavrion moving northeast to Limnos and then south all the way to Astypalea, and back through the Cyclades. In all we aimed to sail to 18 islands during two months.
We prepared to make contacts with producers of local products and with merchants of organic and local products on every island to demonstrate that it is possible to transport the products by sail and to promote an expanded market for the "Blue Economy" combining sustainable production and sail transport. We also aimed to spread the idea of sail transport and the Blue Economy by contacting and giving live presentations to all interested and important actors on the islands.
PELAGO, the sloop we sailed to six islands in 2017, is not large nor fast enough for this plan. But we had the support of the ARGOLIS sailboat chartering company that offered us, at a sponsoring price, the 13 m sloop AVRORA that served our needs extremely well. We outfitted AVRORA with our solar panels to be energy independent and we sailed off on May 7.
Now that the journey in the Aegean is completed, we can draw some conclusions.
1. With modern sailing ships, we can efficiently circumnavigate the Aegean . We completed the tour of the 18 islands in 45 days and it is fairly easy to achieve 35 days and even 30 if we do not stop for a long time on the islands.
2. Solar energy covers all electricity needs. The solar panel system allowed us to continuously operate the refrigerator and to transport products that need cooling such as cheese. It also covered all instrument, lighting and autopilot energy needs during several night crossings.
3. The third and very important fact, is the very positive response we found on all the islands. We approached Local Government, Nautical Associations, Ecological Associations, producers and merchants who all tell us that we must try to bring this project to maturity, to continue and develop it. We hope that all this good reception will translate into real help so that next year we'll organise a better tour of the Aegean.
Our information leaflet Here!
Aegean Cargo Sailing: Reviving a Sustainable Blue Economy in the Aegean Sea
The Aegean Cargo Sailing celebrates its third year in Summer 2019 with several sailboats manned by volunteer crews and many friends of the environment carrying cargoes of local ecological produce between the islands.
We will expand from the previous two summer tours of 2017, when we covered six islands, and 2018 when we made 18 island trips in a single sailboat. In 2019 we will have a number of sailboats carrying healthy, unique, local eco products from Aegean island producers to selected eco minded stores on different islands. In the two previous summers we have found, dozens of producers and products that clearly belong to the sustainable economy: honey, wine, olive oil, soap, dry fruit, aromatic plants, cheese, mastiha, fish in various long shelf life forms, dried fruit, fruit jams and others. We have now received requests for the transport of these products to other islands so that tourists can enjoy a wider variety of ecological island products than is available on their vacation island.
Our vessels rely only on wind propulsion. Apart from the basic sailboat crews we will invite friends of the earth from every continent to join us as crew, helping with the loading and unloading of the products at the island ports. They will be invited to become members of our SAILMED.ORG team, contributing to running the project. They will also have the opportunity to visit the port of call islands, the producers and their facilities, learn of the islands’ natural environment, to cook and taste the local products on land and on board, to learn how to sail if they wish and to help with sailboat manoeuvres. They will occupy in groups of four, sail boats designed to sleep eight passengers or more. So comfort is guaranteed, although they can not expect luxury. On the contrary they will have to contribute a light workload to help run the boat under the orders of experienced captains.
Our project has a twofold purpose: to stimulate the sustainable production of biological and traditional or innovative products by finding markets on other islands, and to encourage the emergence of a Blue Economy by transporting the products by wind power alone.
The saillboats will sail between approximately the same 18 islands as in 2018. The changing winds will determine the details of manoeuvres, but half of the boats will sail clockwise and the other half anticlockwise. Hopefully, a couple of traditional Greek sailboats will join our small Blue Economy fleet of modern sailboats carrying the main cargoes.
For each week of participation in the sailing trip we expect a donation of minimum 1000 euros. We will help passengers find their way by boat or plane to the island where they board their sailboat. Normally, in a week they will travel to two more islands, sailing twice between the islands, and will be accompanied on visits to producers, natural sites, museums and archaeological sites -- and they will have opportunities to relax over the sea and under the sky. And they will help revive the battered Greek economy in a sustainable way.
No fuel will be used other than for the port approaches as imposed by the law.
SAIL MED promotes wind energy innovations in clean shipping. We also aim to enhance local economic developments, small-scale farming, food security, health, and education. SAIL MED is based on the need to eliminate pollution from fuel for maritime transport. It is part of the international SAIL TRANSPORT NETWORK program organized by the non-profit organization GLOBAL VILLAGE.
Why Shipping? The shipping industry is terribly outdated in its dirty emissions and scary dependency on fossil fuels. The world’s 90,000 oil-burning ships contribute to climate change, harm marine environments and kill at least 60,000 people a year from toxic emissions. According to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), CO2 emissions from maritime shipping are projected to increase by 50-250%, if business as usual continues.
The ancient Greek civilisation was highly dependent on sailing transport. In Greece, we aim to demonstrate that it is possible today to ply traditional and new sailing routes in the Aegean for exchanges between islands and ports of mainland Greece. For this purpose members and friends of SAIL MED in June 2017 have sailed on the leisure sailing boat PELAGO to Kea, Andros, Tinos, Mykonos, Ikaria, Samos and return to Athens. In the islands, they chose typical products that could be the subject of future trade exchanges and provided symbolic samples to show to local stakeholders, pointing out that they were exclusively transported with wind power (except for port approaches). See our Aegean Cargo Sailing video.
This year 2018 we repeated and expanded our voyage, sailing a bigger sponsored sailboat, the AVRORA, in May and June, northwards with the south winds through Kea, Andros, Skiros and the other Sporades islands, to the North Agean islands of Limnos and Lesvos. Then the north winds pushed us to Hios, Psara, Samos, Ikaria, Patmos to the northern Dodecanese and back to the Athens area via Amorgos, Naxos, Paros, Mykonos, Tinos, Syros and Kea.
If you are interested in participating to any part of our voyage as a volunteer please register in the appropriate section of our website.
For the glory of the Aegean Sea’s history of sailing – that for millennia connected continents for trade and cultural exchange – our crew hopes that practical, valuable skills will be on the rise for clean maritime transport, small-scale farming and healthy local products.