Tuesday, August 25, 2020

On the Hudson River To Red Hook: Schooner Apollonia Brings Carbon Neutral Sail Freight To New York City

This past Friday, something quite extraordinary happened. Captain Sam Merrett sailed into New York Harbor from Hudson, New York on his Schooner Apollonia. On board was cargo destined for area businesses, including Van Brunt Stillhouse and Strong Rope Brewery.  The freight was delivered and unloaded in Red Hook, which seems fitting, since Red Hook was once one of the busiest ports in the country.
Apollonia's voyage was entirely wind-powered and proves that sometimes, looking towards a green future means looking back to the past for solutions.

Here is more information on Apollonia and her cargo from a press release:

Sail freight returns to the Hudson- vessel lands maiden voyage in Brooklyn at GBX terminal
Schooner Apollonia Charts New Course for Green, Wind-Powered Shipping

RED HOOK, BROOKLYN – The schooner Apollonia, a new sail freight venture operating out of Hudson, New York, successfully delivered its first cargo of Hudson Valley goods to New York City on Friday.

“We’re thrilled, after years of effort, to put Apollonia to work,” said Sam Merrett, captain of the Apollonia. “We did it. Sail freight is running on the Hudson once again.”

Apollonia delivered hundreds of pounds of brewer’s malt and corn, along with wooden barrels, alpaca wool, petroleum-free pillows, and CBD products to Gowanus Bay Terminal in Red Hook, Brooklyn. In coordination with the climate-focused nonprofit RETI Center, the cargo was unloaded from the vessel at GBX and delivered to end customers, like Brooklyn’s Strong Rope Brewing (receiving malt from Hudson Valley Malt) and Van Brunt Stillhouse (receiving malt, corn, and barrels from Quercus Cooperage), via electric cargo tricycles from Upcycles of Brooklyn - ensuring the products made a truly carbon neutral voyage.

The voyage also included a few novel cargo handoffs: the Inwood Canoe Club and Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club split a bag of sail freight malt for homebrewing. The Inwood crew paddled a canoe catamaran out to receive their half of the shipment in the Hudson River. The Dredgers managed to capture a bag swinging from Apollonia’s main boom off the Battery in New York Harbor.

Merrett credits the Hudson River Maritime Museum’s RiverWise program with catalyzing the inaugural run this month, alongside the Museum’s solar-powered vessel Solaris:

“So many people have poured themselves into this effort to build a better, greener logistics chain for the future,” Merrett said. “We cannot thank them enough. But we thank Lisa Cline and the crew at the Hudson River Maritime Museum in particular for going above and beyond to make this maiden cargo voyage happen in such uncertain times.”

The Apollonia crew, having returned upriver, looks forward to additional cargo runs up and down the Hudson River this season.  For more information on the project and to arrange for cargo to be shipped via sail freight, see: www.schoonerapollonia.com

***Photos courtesy of Brad Vogel.

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