Man has sailed the seas since antiquity, and has constantly worked to improve the technology in order to make ocean passage safer and more reliable. Give the Fleur credit for pushing the boundaries of sailing technology on behalf of renewables — and demonstrating how useless they are for the purpose. And when the Fleur ran into trouble, their rescue turned into high irony on the high seas (via The Corner):
An expedition team which set sail from Plymouth on a 5,000-mile carbon emission-free trip to Greenland have been rescued by an oil tanker.
Raoul Surcouf, Richard Spink and skipper Ben Stoddart sent a mayday because they feared for their safety amid winds of 68mph (109km/h).
Actually, the situation had become much more dire than just the high winds:
But atrocious weather dogged their journey after 27 April, culminating with the rescue on 1 May after the boat was temporarily capsized three times by the wind.
In one incident Mr Stoddart hit his head and the wind generator and solar panels were ripped from the yacht.
Water was also getting into the boat from waves breaking over it and the crew took refuge in the forward cabin.
Fortunately, salvation was at hand after three capsizes and the loss of their power. Unfortunately for the 40 schools following the Fleur’s progress on its green journey on the blue seas, salvation came from the oil tanker Overseas Yellowstone, hauling precisely the fuel that climate-change advocates dislike. The students in British schools got an unintended lesson on the readiness of wind and solar power to replace oil and coal, fortunately a lesson that didn’t cost any lives.
Now, oil-powered ships get lost at sea, too, including oil tankers, although not nearly at the rate as in decades past. But the Fleur made this voyage as a publicity and educational mission, and its failure — and the nature of its rescue — are certainly fair game for drawing a few conclusions.