Wessels Shipping Company 

The “Theseus” has become the first cargo ship in the latest series of new builds belonging to the Wessels Shipping Company of Haren/Ems to be equipped with SkySails propulsion. This towing-kite propulsion system is the first of the latest-generation SkySails-Systems, into whose development were channeled the many important lessons learned during pilot testing aboard the vessels “Beluga SkySails” owned by Beluga Shipping and Wessels’ own “Michael A.”

The “Theseus” is one of three new Rhine class ships being built for Wessels at the Komarno shipyard in Slovakia. The “Theseus” is the same type of ship as the “Michael A.” and is 90 meters long, has a capacity of some 3,700 dwt and a MaK main engine that produces 1,500 kW of power. A 160 m² SkySails propulsion system works to relieve the main engine of the “Theseus” the same way it does on board the “Michael A.”

Final installation and commissioning of the towing-kite propulsion system on the “Theseus” was completed in early August at SkySails’ manufacturing facilities in Wismar. The SkySails-System had previously been tested over a period of one and a half years aboard the 133-meter “Beluga SkySails” and the 90-meter “Michael A.”

“We’ve had some extremely promising results from pilot testing,” said Gerd Wessels, the managing partner of the Wessels Shipping Company based in Haren/Ems, “and with a good wind we achieved up to 8 tons of tractive force on the “Michael A.” using SkySails propulsion.” For comparison: The “Theseus” needs approximately 11 tons of thrust for full cruising speed.

SkySails propulsion has been integrated ideally into the ship’s operations; it required no major effort or expense to be installed onto the vessels. And, it has been proven that ships remain fully maneuverable while employing the SkySails-System. What’s more, trials have confirmed that present crew strengths are fully adequate for operating the system and that the operational concept works as intended.


Francis Rogallo

Francis Rogallo, known as “the father of hang gliding,” died on September 1st, in Southern Shores, near Kitty Hawk, the birthplace of aviation. He was 97 years-old.

Rogallo and his wife Gertrude invented a “flexible wing” flier that was the precursor of personal flying machines like the hang glider, paraglider, ultralight aircraft and kiteboards.

He graduated from Stanford with a degree in mechanical engineering and aeronautics.

In 1963, NASA awarded Rogallo the highest cash award to date for his generosity of offering the US government the use of his patents.

He was inducted into the N.C. Sports Hall of Fame in 1987.

On May 11th 1997, the NASA Langley Research Center recognized Rogallo for his many contributions to flight.

Today, members of the United States Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association are called "Rogallo" members.


Lancing Beach 

A kitesurfer from Bedfordshire has died after hitting rocks due to strong winds.

The accident has occurred on the Lancing seaside, West Sussex, England.

A doctor tried to aid the 49-year-old man at the scene and he was then transported by air to the Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton.