Sunday, August 14, 2011

Chinese sailing on the rise?

A modern junk in Hong KongA modern junk near Hong Kong via WikipediaOne of the things that struck me on yesterday boat trip from Nyon (CH), Yvoire (FR) and back was the relative large number of sailing ships equipped with Chinese style sails. Still, the conventional Western sails dominated, but I saw more than a handful of Chinese style sailing. It reminded me of a lecture I got in the second half of the 1990s in Shanghai, from a former US submarine commander, who claimed - complete with model of a Chinese junk - that the Chinese sailing methods were much efficient compared to Western sails and offered an opportunity for commercial cargo vessels to develop an alternative for the rising oil prices. Clearly, he has not been able to convince the shipbuilding industry and their clients about this case. So, I was surprised to see that even on the Geneva lake Chinese sails emerging. So, for recreational purposes, it seems a viable option. Still not sure if the cost-saving argument was (and even is) a viable one.
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