At the end of 2012 we can look back and see it has been another interesting year in our industry.
Here are ten things, in no particular order of importance, that stand out for me:
1. Planet Solar
There is no doubt that we can get around the world by sail, but what if we were to use the other sustainable technology, photo voltaic solar power? The math for PV is much more difficult than sail. By comparison, sun light has much lower power densities than wind. It is very difficult to fit sufficient PV areas on a ship and still have it move at a reasonable speed. But can it be done? It was proven to be possible with Planet Solar. It certainly was not fast, but extremely low weight and very high efficiencies with regard to drag and propulsion made it work and in 2012 she completed her first PV powered circumnavigation.
2. Vestas Sailrocket 2
On November 24, 2012, the Vesta Sailrocket 2 set an outright sailboat speed record of 65.45 knots. This is a doubling of the outright sailboat speed record since 1977 when it was 31 knots! Remarkably this increase in speed was almost entirely achieved by very careful optimization after 35 years of continuous experimentation.
3. CMA CGM Marco Polo
It is not entirely clear if she is even the largest container vessel today, but she is proof that the growth trend for super large container vessels has not yet stopped. Bigger boats from Maersk are expected next year. Remember these vessels are the longest vessels currently plying the oceans, because ULCC’s like Seawise Giant have been scrapped.