If Waiheke’s motto is ‘far enough behind to be ahead’ then a new project on the island soon hopes to make the same true for coastal shipping in the Hauraki Gulf.
The Waiheke Working Sail project plans to match the need for alternatives to fossil fuel-based transport to and from the island with a long overdue revival of a productive working sail industry capable of providing a livelihood for local young people.
Waiheke Working Sail is the beginning of a journey back to a low carbon, low energy, coastal shipping future while creating boatbuilding apprenticeships and sail training.
The project members will be giving an introduction presentation as part of the Sustainability Festival on Monday, 16 January, 7pm at the Oneroa Bowling Club. The evening will cover an overview of the project and ways to get involved. Also, Waiheke sailor and designer, Bernard Rhodes will share his new ideas for a custom-made, wind-powered cargo ship.
WWS was started in 2011, with the aim of reviving a Waiheke-based shipping programme using purpose-built vessels. The project is still in its conceptual stage but has already brought together people with a variety of skills, from boat designers to RYA sail instructors, to working sail enthusiasts. The presentation hopes to engage interest in the community for the possibilities within the realm of coastal shipping for the 21st century. Ever-rising petrol costs have alerted many on the island to a pressing need in the future for alternatives to fuel-based transport. Already there has been interest among businesses pursuing low carbon and CarbonZero policies. Many find it an added selling point in a market that is increasingly aware of the need to cut down on fuel usage.
Although coastal sail shipping cannot hope to compete in the immediate future with fossil fuelled shipping methods, the timely pursuit of alternatives might just leave Waiheke in a strong position in the long term, as well as encouraging new business and trades. In 2012 WWS will be hosting historical reenactments of Shipping voyages around the Hauraki Gulf. Information is available on the website: http://waihekeworkingsail.onewaiheke.org
Anyone interested in the possibilities of Coastal Shipping please come along!