Maartje Theadora: surely the biggest kiteboarder in the world

The SkySails-System was successfully placed into operation aboard Germany's largest fishing vessel – the ROS-171 "Maartje Theadora" – on the North Sea near Ijmuiden, the Netherlands on March 8th, 2010.

This innovative SkySails wind-propulsion system will henceforth help save large amounts of fuel and emissions.

The maiden voyage of the ROS-171 "Maartje Theadora" with SkySails propulsion, which will take the ship across the Atlantic to South America and then into the South Pacific, heralds the use of regenerative energy sources in deep-sea fishing.

"As one of Europe's biggest fishing companies, we consider it an important duty to not only promote sustainable fishing but to take a leading role in making it a reality," says Dr. Uwe Richter, the Managing Director of Westbank Hochseefischerei GmbH, which belongs to the Parlevliet & Van der Plas B.V. Group, has its headquarters in Sassnitz, Germany and is responsible for the technical and commercial operation of the ROS-171 "Maartje Theadora."

"For us, sustainability in this context means acting in a manner that makes both good economic and ecological sense."

"And so, by combining our MSC-certified pelagic shoal fishery with the innovative SkySails propulsion system, we intend to realize major savings in fuel and costs, while at the same time significantly reducing the adverse effects on the environment caused by harmful emissions - first by employing the system during those long transfer runs and then, looking to the future, during direct fishing operations."

"Because operating conditions on a fishing vessel differ greatly from those of a commercial cargo ship, especially during trawling operations, our key focus during this phase of trials will be on technically adapting the system to the circumstances specific to fishing operations," explains Stephan Brabeck, the Technical Managing Director of SkySails.

"Working hand in hand with our customer Parlevliet & Van der Plas, we will be further enhancing and developing the technology in practice, and in turn, devising a wind propulsion system that is optimized for use on fishing vessels."

The practical testing of the SkySails-System on the ROS-171 "Maartje Theadora" is being funded as part of a pilot project by the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and the European Union (with resources from the European Fisheries Fund).

The state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania is supporting this pilot project as an investment in the future, now that it has assumed the challenge and responsibility of developing and fostering visionary technologies in the fishery and aquaculture sector.

"I am very proud and pleased that my state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania is supporting and accompanying this pioneering effort," emphasizes Dr. Till Backhaus, Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Consumer Protection.

"The implementation of this project was made possible by an exceptionally generous grant as part of the 2007-2013 European Fisheries Fund."

"The €583,000 in funding from the EU and €194,000 from the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania have been approved and will be used for this project."

I firmly believe that this is money well spent and an important investment in the future."

"The European Union and the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania view this project as a catalyst with tremendous potential as a multiplier for improving resource efficiency over the long term and for abating the fishing industry's adverse effects on the environment."

Sailing under the flag of Germany, the ROS-171 "Maartje Theadora" is 141 meters long, and its main propulsion consists of two MaK engines that produce a total of 8,640 kW of power.

The crew comprises over 40 members during fishing trips. A 160m² SkySails towing-kite propulsion system works to relieve the ship's main engine.

SkySails propulsion is already in use aboard the cargo ships "Beluga SkySails" owned by Beluga Shipping, as well as on the "Michael A." and "Theseus" of the Wessels Shipping Company.

The system is currently being installed on two other cargo new builds, and SkySails has a number of additional orders on its books.

The concept of towing-kite wind propulsion has proven itself fully capable onboard ships, and the tractive forces that were measured make the SkySails-System the most powerful and effective wind-propulsion system in the world.

Thanks to its unique physical properties, the system produces between 5 and 25 times more power per square meter than conventional sail propulsion.

A 160m2 SkySails generates a tractive force of 8 metric tons, which is comparable to the thrust of an Airbus A318 engine.

Top Stories

Kiteboarding will make its Olympic debut in Paris 2024. Here is everything you must know about the event and the qualified athletes.

In an electrifying display of kiteboarding prowess, 19-year-old Italian Andrea Principi has been crowned the champion of the prestigious Red Bull King of the Air competition, held in Cape Town, South Africa.

Patri McLaughlin set a new Guinness World Record for the largest wave ever kitesurfed.