Opal, Schooner, Cat Propeller
Sometimes you need to take a step back or to the side to see the world for what it is. That’s certainly true on a sailing tour of the Greenland glaciers and icebergs at 71° North. If you want to experience the majestic coastline and icebergs of Greenland, there’s no better way than from the deck of the Opal, an elegantly restored, two-mast oak schooner. The sailing tour centers on Scoresby Sound, a 350-kilometer long fjord that stretches deep into the mainland where the immense Greenland glaciers calve their giant icebergs into the waiting sea. You can’t help but embrace the surreal tranquility of this extraordinary world, and you become even more aware how fragile an existence it is for the people and wildlife that make this coast their home.
Sharing that experience is part of the philosophy of the tour operators who are committed to an environmentally friendly operation. The oak-built boats run silently to not disturb the whales and other animals on whale watching tours in their native Iceland and Greenland on the other side of the Denmark Strait. Now they’re going to take sustainability a step further, with fascinating potential for the marine and yachting industry. They started to look at a new possibility to use a propeller as a turbine during the periods under sail and generate electrical power they can store in batteries. Then they’d switch to the stored battery power when they wanted to drive the propeller. The result is a large 2-metre wide, controllable pitch propeller that will operate at a leisurely 150-200 rpm under normal cruising. But all the power will come from batteries that the propeller loads during traditional wind powered sailing.
This is a concept that can potentially transform leisure craft and smaller fishing vessels. Making those trips to the dockside gas pump a thing of the past and, at the same time, protecting an icy environment on the far edge of the world.
To the edge of the world
Watch how to experience the majestic coastline and icebergs of Greenland.