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International Windship Association | August 3, 2020

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History of Wind Propulsion

History of Wind Propulsion

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The history of wind propulsion in shipping is a long and dynamic one. On this page we aim to provide a broad outline of the developments within the sector over the centuries, advances in wind propulsion technology and the barriers and challenges that led to the decline in commercial use. We also aim to provide a snapshot of more recent trends, projects and vessels that hold lessons for the sector as it develops rapidly in the coming years.

We welcome contributions and comments and this page will continue to be updated, external links added and the timeline and project profiles enriched by members, historians, experts and seafarers alike. Please send us your contributions under these headings to:

Origins of Wind Propulsion

Golden Age of Sail

Transition from Wind to Fossil Fuel

Resilience of Wind – from traditional networks to the leisure industry

Resurgence of Wind – projects and vessels of the 1970’s & 80’s

Wind into the New Millennium