A graceful tall ship is sailing on a mission to recreate the wind-powered transatlantic shipping voyages of yesteryear.
The 35-metre ketch Irene of Bridgwater, a trading vessel built in the Somerset town in 1907, departed from the historic Mayflower Steps on the Barbican in Plymouth yesterday for the first leg of the journey to the French port of Brest, before heading on to Brazil.
Following the success of the “first sail-shipping operation to the post-oil age” with the Tres Hombres last October in Brixham, Irene joins Trans Oceanic Wind Transport in its mission to take commercial cargo abroad under sail.
Irene, which will be distributing the Exeter Brewery’s organic Avocet ale to France, is also offering to ship cargo from her ports of call in Europe to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil – an excellent opportunity to promote green travel given the Rio+20 Earth Summit is there in June.
The owners said exporters could send their promotional material and goods to be showcased at the summit via a CO2-free form of transport.
Irene will be carrying olive oil to Brazil from Vigo in Spain and returning with Brazilian and Caribbean specialities to Europe.
Irene sailed for 50 years as part of the fleet of British Merchant vessels through two World Wars and the Great Recession.