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A second cargo ship for the Brest chocolate and coffee maker Grain de Sail

Brest (France) – Since November 2020, Grain de Sail operates the world’s first modern cargo sailboat to meet international maritime regulations: an eponymous schooner-type vessel of 24 metres and 50 tons of payload capacity. The fast-growing company has this time designed a ship twice as long in collaboration with the naval architecture firm L2Onaval. The overall budget for the build is kept confidential but will remain below the 10M€ mark. Grain de Sail has selected two market leaders to build its next wind-propelled freighter: Piriou will manufacture the hull in its shipyard in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam while Lorima will provide the rigging and install it in Lorient, France. The launching of Grain de Sail 2 is planned for the end of 2023.

Grain de Sail successfully transported by sail around 55% of the cacao mass used in its chocolate factory during 2021 thanks to its first cargo sailboat. This next ship will enable 100% of its raw ingredients to cross the Atlantic carbon-free for use in the chocolate factory and coffee roasting facility located in Morlaix, France. 

Grain de Sail 2, to be registered under the French flag, will make transatlantic routes from St Malo (its homeport) exporting wines and other fine products from France and Europe to the United States and bring back raw ingredients from Latin America to France (cacao mass, green coffees, rums, etc.). It will be built in aluminum and have a payload capacity of 350 tons, up to 238 pallets loaded on two levels in two separate holds. In addition, a separate tank will be able to receive up to 18 m³ of bulk liquid while on deck there will be another 5 m³ for liquids in barrels.  

With 1170 m² of sails, Grain de Sail 2 will be efficient even in light wind conditions and is designed to be maneuvered by two experience sailors. On board, cabins will accommodate the nine crew members. Crossing of the Atlantic, depending on routing choices and wind conditions, is estimated at around 2 weeks thus permitting three to four round trips per year. Above all, the design of the ship emphasized safety, reliability, manoeuvrability and robustness.  

Grain de Sail 2 seeks not only to transport goods without carbon emissions it also seeks to maximize reduction of its overall carbon footprint by incorporating renewable energy production systems to provide electricity on board: solar panels and hydrogenerators. Only a small IMO TIER 3-approved engine will make use of fossil fuels during maneuvers into and out of ports, as well as diesel generators for safety and to be used only in case of need as a backup to green energies.  

An economic ecosystem in Brittany for wind propulsion 

Accompanied by L2Onaval, based in Lorient (Brittany), Grain de Sail significantly incorporated first-hand experience of navigating with its first cargo sailboat and was thereby able to reach a concept design for Grain de Sail 2 that will serve as first in the series for the construction of future sister ships. Following a year-long design phase, Grain de Sail made requests for bids with several shipyards and rigging builders. At the end of the selection and negotiation process, Piriou and Lorima (acting as a subcontractor), two companies from Brittany, were retained.

Jacques Barreau, co-founder and managing director of Grain de Sail says, “We are pleased to enter the construction phase with two experts from Brittany such as Piriou and Lorima. We have already learned so much with our first cargo sailboat* and now has come the time for Grain de Sail to prove that carbon-free maritime transportation can work on a larger scale.”

Loïc Briand, managing director of Grain de Sail Shipping adds, “It has been a long journey and a lot of work to reach this point and I am happy to sign this contract which turns into a reality a childhood dream. It is a sailboat designed by sailors for sailors that will be efficient, quick, adapted to our needs and capable of facing all sea conditions safely.

Vincent Faujour, president of PIRIOU Group says, “Within a few weeks this is the 3rd sailboat awarded to Piriou which reinforces our commitment and places us at the forefront of carbon-free maritime transportation, by adding a whole range of sail-powered freighters for our clients. We thank Grain de Sail for entrusting us with this build.”

Vincent Marsaudon, managing director of Lorima says, “From competition to work boats and forever around the world, diversity has always been my entrepreneurial dream. We are pleased to be working with Grain de Sail and Piriou.”

Loys Leclercq, cofounder of L2Onaval and naval architect says, “We are honored by the trust Grain de Sail has given us. We had the necessary time to design together a ship that completely aligns with our values of reducing carbon emissions of maritime transportation at a moment when it is really time to act.”

Financial partners  

The ship is financed by Caisse d’Épargne Bretagne / Pays de Loire with FIMAR as maritime financial arranger. Bpifrance and Crédit Mutuel Equity are also participating in the financing via their recent equity investment into the Grain de Sail Group.

*The first ship used for transatlantic routes since 2020, Grain de Sail 1,  will be repurposed for coastal shipment within Europe once the new vessel is operation. Grain de Sail is actively working on new routes and new products to create new carbon-free gastronomic adventures.


Length overall:52.00 m
Beam overall:10.70 m
Water draft (on ballast):5.40 m
Max water draft:6.00 m
Sail area:1170 m² up wind
Max air draft:51 m
Gross tonnage :< 500 UMS