Don’t be surprised to see a sailboat docked near the Brooklyn Bridge in May as NYC Ferries travels back and forth. What makes the modern 50-ton cargo sailboat from the French company Grain de Sail so special is that it is propelled by the wind, marking the emergence of a green supply chain that relies on renewable resources rather than on fossil fuels.
The sailboat and its four crew members left France on April 16 and are expected to arrive in New York around May 14.
âPersonally, as a windsurfer and paraglider or professionally as a wind farm builder, I have always been amazed by the impressive power of even a delicate breeze,â said Olivier Barreau, co-founder of Grain de Sail. âFor our cargo sailboat, we are retro-innovating by using ancestral wind-powered navigation combined with modern technologies. “
âSail’s grain is not only powered by the wind, it is powered by it,â he continued, noting the company’s mission to use wind turbines, photovoltaic panels and hydroelectric generators to respond. the energy needs on board the ship.
The ship’s hull is designed for 26 cargo pallets, which are secured in a hold with temperature and humidity stabilization – the world’s first floating wine cellar under sail.
Crossing the Atlantic to the Big Apple
The sailboat, carrying 8,000 bottles of organic and biodynamic French wine and 500 chocolate bars, will make a special 10-day stopover at One15 Marina in Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Members of the public are invited to request to tour the ship and learn more about its advanced eco-friendly transit features while in port. A tasting of some of Sail’s signature Grain chocolates and wines – never before tasted in America – can take place on deck after touring the sailboat and learning about the project’s adventure.
âWe want to showcase different regions and grape varieties and we intentionally choose bottles that reflect this approach, from the famous Burgundy or Champagne to the lesser known Muscadet or JuranÃ§on,â said Grain de Sail. âEach region is unique and brings something different, and that’s what we want to share with New Yorkers.
In addition, all Grain de Sail wines are subjected to a ‘taste resilience test’, which involves placing the bottles in cargo ships for at least three weeks at sea and tasting them at various intervals after their return (usually at their return to port, then a week later, then another two weeks thereafter).
To reserve a time slot to visit the ship (with a group of 10 people max), contact Grain de Sail for a registration link.
A brief history
The story of Grain de Sail began in 2010 when Barreau and its twin brother Jacques took on the challenge of efficiently transporting gourmet products to transatlantic consumers by waterway. To achieve this, Barreau first chose to create a business that would directly benefit from the investment.
Barreau started a coffee roasting business and facility in 2013, opened a chocolate factory three years later, and began building a sailboat in 2018.
Each of these ventures, according to the company, are successful and consistent with the underlying mission – coffee and cocoa are raw organic crops that come from abroad and have high added value when processed.
Where to go next?
After her brief stay in Brooklyn, the sailboat will head south to the Caribbean. Once in the Caribbean, he will collect organic coffee and cocoa beans, then return home to Brittany where chocolate and coffee are produced in the company’s factory.
âThis will create a virtuous circle between the Old Continent and the New,â said Grain of Sail of the three destinations planned for this trip.
The round trips last more than three months and take place twice a year.
Grain de Sail is currently considering a second cargo sailboat, which will be operational in 2023. But the brothers’ ultimate goal is to build a complete fleet of ships to continue the search for high quality products as part of its maritime, human and environmental. .