The Netherlands: Dykstra Designs Innovative Multi-Purpose Cargo Vessel

Dykstra Designs Innovative Multi-Purpose Cargo Vessel

Dykstra Naval Architects (Dykstra) is in the process of designing a new 8000 DWT sailing multi-purpose cargo vessel, the Ecoliner.

The initiative to design the Ecoliner that can sail a transatlantic route came from Fairtransport BV. The aim of Dykstra is to create a technical foundation for design and operation of sailing cargo ships.

The Ecoliner is a durable alternative for present day cargo ships. Sail propulsion is used to reduce fuel consumption and thereby cost and emissions. The ship is equipped with a hybrid propulsion system: in addition to sails, a propeller is also installed. By motorsailing, the ship is able to keep a schedule while the rig is used in the most efficient way. The rig is designed to be durable and can propel the ship in many conditions.

The Ecoliner is a multipurpose cargo ship with the ability to load and unload cargo by herself since the masts can also be used as cranes. Other ship types are possible too: tankers, bulk carriers and heavy cargo ships. These are ship types that can be combined with a sailing rig without losing sail propulsion or cargo handling efficiency.

To guarantee optimal use of the sails, a weather routing program is created that can optimize the route and engine use. Weather routing is also used to evaluate the performance of the ship in routing simulations by using an archive with several years of weather data. This enables accurate prediction of the ship long term fuel consumption, enabling comparison to current motor ships. A generic base of knowledge and tools is created to be able to design ‘green’ alternatives for all cargo ship types.


Dykstra has finished the concept design phase, the main dimensions of the vessel and the general arrangement have been determined. Currently, work is put into studying the hull, the appendages and the rig. Various rig setups are under consideration. In order to make a choice, various sail configurations will be tested in the windtunnel. This includes varying the sail area, the number of masts, the mast construction, the sail shape and the camber distribution. The influence of reefing and the presence of cargo will also be tested in the windtunnel so the rig performance is known in all conditions.


Length o.a. 138.00 m

Length p.p. 135.50 m

Length w.l. 138.00 m

Beam mld. 18.20 m

Depth main deck 10.20 m

Ballast draft 4.50 m

Draft max. 6.50 m

Airdraft 62.50 m (Panamax)

Deadweight at draft = 6.50 m 8210 tons

Displacement 11850 tons


Dykstra Naval Architects, September 20, 2013