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Enkhuizen Nautical College Sets Course for Wind-Assisted Ship Propulsion and Sustainable Shipping 


Netherland’s Enkhuizen Nautical College, founded in 1978, is the only nautical college in Europe where the focus lies on teaching students to navigate vessels under sail. Regular subjects like (astronomical) navigation, collision regulations and marine engineering are supplemented with specialized subjects such as square-rigged sailing, sailing vessel design and sailing vessel stability.

This year at Enkhuizen Nautical College, this knowledge base and experience with sailing ships is extended with a technical introduction to modern developments in sailing ships: Wind-assisted ship propulsion. Wind-assisted ship propulsion (WASP) is the modern version of sailing commercial freight. This green technology segment may be central to the energy transition for the maritime sector. 

Director Cosmo Wassenaar is excited about this new addition to the school’s program. ‘You should realize that there is hardly any experience in the practical use of these technologies, so there are no old ‘sea dogs’ which can share their experience with our students. For this course, we have managed to attract some highly motivated young teachers with a lot of knowledge on the theories and practice of wind-assisted shipping’.

One of these new teachers is Dr. Nico van der Kolk, co-founder of an engineering consultancy specialized in wind-assisted ship propulsion: ‘The course will begin with a survey of presently available wind-assist devices, including the physical mechanisms behind the new generation of high-lift sails. Practical considerations for wind-assist design and operation are treated foremost. Students will be introduced to significant interaction effects between WASP systems, the main propulsion engine, course keeping and routing, and finally commercial operation. I’m very excited to explore this new topic with the students at EZS.’

WASP Project

The WASP (Wind Assisted Ship Propulsion) project, funded by the Interreg North Sea Europe programme, part of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to the tune of €5.4 million. The project brings together universities, wind-assist technology providers with ship owners to research, trial and validate the operational performance of a selection of wind propulsion solutions thus enabling wind propulsion technology market penetration and contributing to a greener North Sea transport system through harvesting the region’s abundant wind potential. This fully aligns with the wider programmes’ objective of promoting the development and adoption of products, services and processes to accelerate the greening of the North Sea Region.

International Windship Association (IWSA)

The International Windship Association (IWSA) facilitates and promotes wind propulsion solutions for commercial shipping worldwide and brings together all parties in the development of a wind ship sector to shape industry and government attitudes and policies.