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Several bits of good news:
• B9 Shipping, part of B9 Energy that is the biggest maker of wind power units for UK's renewable energy sector, has a plan to build sail transport vessels of a major capacity. They are linking to our STN website from b9shipping.com now. B9 appreciates the reality of peak oil. We'll be setting up a link to B9 (like "benign") Shipping on the website SailTransportNetwork.com, a new drupal site.
• I'm going to Bolivia for the World People's Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth Cochabamba, Bolivia, April 19 to 22. Afterward I intend to visit Chilean ports to check out sail transport potential or make a few contacts. I will be bringing a bilingual STN brochure. Someone has to make these connections, someday, so I'm glad to do it.
• We will soon publish online the upcoming Part 2 of Capt. Ray Jason's "Sailing Away from Lotsageddon" series.
• Dave Reid of the Sail Transport Company has started to investigate expanding northward from the Puget Sound into British Columbia. It is a natural extension of STN activity in the Sound, particularly as the protected waters have so many communities to link up via truly renewable energy for sustainable trade. Doesn't this beat highway trucking, in the long haul?
• Dave's activities in the Puget Sound have consisted of 22 successful deliveries last year from the Olympic Peninsula to the Seattle-Ballard customer base. Sail Transport Company can be thought of as a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) subscription service sans petroleum, even on the land portion of the delivery operations. Still engineless, Dave is a trailblazer and has inspired me to get a sculling oar like he has, for my humble engineless (at the moment) sloop.
• To get the first regular Portland-area cargo run expedited, from Vancouver Wa. to St. Helens Ore. to Portland, I had decided I might charter a sailboat at low cost. However, a 27' sloop in good condition has now presented itself as available; mainly it just needs a propeller installation. Culture Change can pay the $200 approximate cost for the owner, who has done volunteer work for STN. This means that sailing the malted grain and organic beer for the St. Helens brewery will be happening this spring on the Portland river system, with pedal power connections.
• We'll videotape and snap stills for the first event and get more press. The Bicycle Times magazine, out of Pittsburgh, Pa. is carrying a story on STN and Pedal Power Produce shortly.
• Another boat, a solid 41' Formosa ketch, is just in need of deck sealing and remounting the hatches and rigging. All told, a $7,000 cost; it would take a few months labor. We can't afford to fund this now, but it would be a good thing to do for two reasons: the interior, hull and engine are in good shape and well suited for cargo. Also, if STN invested in the boat, according to the owner, there could be an owning partnership or sharing-arrangement.
• Cargo-bike and bike cart technology continues to be experimented upon. It is crucial to get the art and science of pedal power down to the most practical methods of construction, with an eye to salvageable parts. Some STN stalwarts are having a proud time with their creations. Photos of the bikes and trailers will be online soon.
p.s. - sign up for the upcoming STN listserve by emailing me at info "at" culturechange.org
See David Reid's Sail Transport Company
The World People's Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth Cochabamba, Bolivia, April 19 to 22, or PWCCC