BUY LESS, BUY BETTER, BUY LOCAL, BY SAIL
Creating a sustainable economy around sailing cargo ships is our biggest challenge. For example, if a ship like the Bessie Ellen, that holds but 35 tons and makes just 2 round trips in a year, it is not sailing to compete with Maersk. This ship demands our patience, loyalty and love. It demands us to be human and not ‘consumer’. And like our ships, our trade needs many hands for a successful sale.
This is why we invite you to get involved. By purchasing in advance the cost of both the cargo and the voyage is shared amongst many and the financial risk of a voyage is removed. By collecting from the ship, your Port Ally or Community Broker the onward distribution and storage needs are also shared and reduced. By buying larger amounts to last you a season or to share with family and friends, we reduce packaging waste and take one more item off your supermarket lists.
In this way, we can start small as individuals or groups, whilst all together we are filling the ship’s hold and creating voyage routes where every port arrival is like a homecoming. As #sailcargopioneers your support is launching a system of trade that is truly able to bring global consumption back to a human scale.
The first cargo that we are trading in this manner is Olive Oil. After our initial pilot voyage, we wanted to find Portuguese olive oil and our research led us to Marije, of Passeite, who then took us on a research trip across the North of Portugal last year. As an olive oil sommelier, she has more than just an infallible instinct for quality and her passion is a perfect fit for sail cargo!
We have partnered with three different olive farmers, each with the same goal: To make delicious olive oil in harmony with the local ecosystems, nurturing both people and planet from soil to serving.
Originating from different regions with different olive varieties, each olive oil has its own uniquely nuanced flavour. The harvest of 2017/2018 was particularly tough due to the extreme drought, heat and even fire, which also adds a unique profile to the taste. No two harvests are ever exactly the same.
All these (extra) virgin olive oils are officially qualified by an IOOC certified laboratory. They are beautiful olive oils, bought for a fair price so that our farmers can continue to take good care of our land and our trees.
It is a given that our producers work sustainably with the land, but the markets for these products are not local as many Portuguese households keep olive trees for their own use. It makes good sense to them that they supply oil to regions where it is not possible to grow it, but at what cost to their ethical values? A polluting truck that travels over 1,000 miles emits around 2.5 tons of CO2, so taking part in this movement for fossil-fuel free transport was a welcome answer.
By buying in advance with us, our producers can plan more efficiently and guarantee the very best quality of olive oil, for longer. The olive oil is packed just before the voyage so that it is stored as long as possible in stainless steel tanks, free of light, air and temperature differences. In addition to the emission-free transport, the ship’s hold also provides a steady temperature, cooled by the sea.
This Autumn will be our fourth voyage carrying cargo from Porto, and our first voyage aboard the Bessie Ellen.
Built in Plymouth, Devon, in 1904 by William Kelly, Bessie Ellen is one of the last surviving West Country trading ketches from a fleet that once stood at nearly 700. Bessie Ellen lived through an era when working sailing ships were an everyday sight in English ports and harbours. Now back in Plymouth, over 100 years from the time it was built, Bessie Ellen has been restored to the graceful sailing ship it once was. With masts, rigging and below decks accommodation, the ship can once again feel the wind in her sails.
Bessie Ellen currently offers sailing holidays and sail training courses and we are honoured that the ship will sail for us. Why not sail along!
So how can you get involved? From buying a single bottle to rallying your town around the ship’s arrival with song and dance, there are many ways to take part:
BUY SAIL CARGO PRODUCTS – See if the ship is calling into a port near you and buy your sail cargo goods from the local Port Ally or Community Broker and join in their events…
If you live in a port, why not become a PORT ALLY? We are working on a system for trade that is co-created, collaborative and transparent. As a Port Ally you commit to preorder and purchase a fixed amount of cargo on behalf of your community. You will make sure that cargo reaches each buyer by inviting them to an arrival event and help facilitate the ship’s stay in port…
If you live in or near any of the ports above you can become a COMMUNITY BROKER. Rally together a group of friends and family to preorder your cargo and pick it up direct from the ship…
Perhaps you have a RESTAURANT or SHOP that would like to use or sell our cargo? So long as you can collect from the ship, all our products are packaged and certified to EU standards for sale to the public…
If you would like to facilitate the ship’s stay in YOUR HOME PORT, then get in touch. We have a growing network of sail cargo ships and could place your port on the schedule for 2019.
Order cargo from one of our Port Hubs below. By purchasing our products you agree to pick up your order from the ship, at your chosen port. Some Port Hubs can hold your goods for you and in others there is the option for a cycle-courier to deliver to your door. You will understand the idiosyncrasies of working with sailing ships – they may turn up early or be delayed by weather. Follow updates on the voyage and arrival event through our social media , and we’ll SEE YOU THERE!