thomas m wilson

Trust in Aeolus

December 13th, 2006

A couple of weeks ago I quoted Green member of the Western Australian Parliament Paul Llewellyn when he, in his inaugural speech to the upper house, envisaged Western Australia in 2055 having an ‘internationally recognised tourism industry based on sail and solar powered ocean liner technology’. I’ve been doing some reading.  Paul was wrong to have sketched such a vision as belonging to as far away an epoch as 2055.

The Royal Clipper is 5000 tons worth of ocean-going ship for carrying tourists around the place.  It uses the power of the wind. India to Greece is one route they do which might be interesting. I’m not attracted by the whole ocean cruising tourism thing, but I wouldn’t mind sipping a whiskey in some wooden interior redolent of a London club, knowing that it was Aeolus, the god of the winds, and not the Dug up Dead, fossil fuels, that was abetting my travels.

I also recently mentioned the Cutty Sark in this blog. Wouldn’t it have been great to have been onboard in 1885 heading towards Sydney when, under full sail and at a rate of 17 knots, she overtook the steam ship Britannia? I like the poetic justice of this moment in history.  The age of steam was threatening to entirely replace the age of sail, but here were the sailors of the Cutty Sark, looking back in their clipper’s wake at a ship within whose iron bowels sweaty stokers laboured in the dark to feed coal into infernal furnaces.