An anonymous reader writes "Big container ships are taking it very slow these days, cruising at 10 knots instead of their usual 26 knots, to save fuel. This is actually slower than sailing freighters traveled a hundred years ago. The 1902 German Preussen, the largest sailing ship ever built, traveled between Hamburg (Germany) and Iquique (Chile): the best average speed over a one way trip was 13.7 knots. Sailing boats need a large and costly crew, but they can also be controlled by computers. Automated sail handling was introduced already one century ago. In 2006 it was taken to the extreme by the Maltese Falcon, which can be operated by one man at the touch of a button. We have computer-controlled windmills, why not computer-controlled sailing cargo vessels?"
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