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Commercial Sail Associates
In 1980, when Spanier & Bourne Sailmakers was just formed, the focus of the company was heavy duty charter boat and yacht sails, rugged and tough enough to handle serious daily use in the harsh conditions of the Hawaiian trade winds. All this work on these big boats and the history of working with large vessels of all kinds drove my interest in promoting the idea of manifesting the return of sail power to our merchant fleet. I registered a company called Commercial Sail Associates with the idea of working as a consultant for the sails and rigs of craft such as imagined.
This effort began with some well considered hand written letters to the senior Senator from Hawaii, ‘Sparky’ Matsunaga. He was very responsible and quickly returned the correspondence, beginning a long relationship by mail. His prompting motivated me to join up with the librarian from Kahului, Jill Leveroni, who was also a personal friend. She was really into helping and added her expertise to the research, and together we created testimony and evidence to support our ideas.
Senator Matsunaga followed through admirably by supporting a Bill in the Senate (SB 2992) that was delivered using our evidence as the basis for consideration. As is usual with most bills, it went nowhere, regardless of its quality or potential effect. But just getting the idea in front of Congress was a good beginning.
Now, thirty years later, I found these documents, and re-read them, finding them to be just as relevant as they were back then. To demonstrate the concept was valid then as now, the whole communication, proposal, and bill have been resubmitted to President Obama, Senators Akaka, Inouye, Kerry, and Representative Pelosi for consideration. What follows is the recent complete submission and I think you will also find there is every reason to consider this as a meaningful way we could demonstrate to the world our total commitment to reducing carbon output, restoring American shipbuilding, utilizing our superior sailing technology, and putting a large number of souls back to work again.

Barry Spanier
Maui, Hawaii


"Sailing ships are powered by an energy source that is free of direct cost, political control, and pollution, and is available in effectively unlimited supply."

"Escalating oil prices will continue, and costly “efficiency” improvements
existing cargo delivery systems will never result in stabilized costs for us,
the users of the service, as long as ships burn oil."
"Seventy five percent of the planet is wet.
Sail across an ocean in a small boat and the vastness of it
will stun you into the realization of our insignificance.
All life on Earth is completely dependent on this watery covering.
Yet most of humanity lives outside this recognition,
never considering its importance to our survival
or seeking much knowledge beyond superficial awareness.


Monday, 23 March 2009

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Re: Potential for an American Sail Powered Merchant Fleet
Dear Mr President,
As I watch with interest your action to reduce our nation’s deficit and find more efficient and cost effective ways to operate this wonderful country of ours, I felt you would be open to a Bill that was presented to the Senate almost thirty years ago, but unfortunately didn’t proceed.  

The attached documents provide a brief overview of what occurred in 1978-80. My early exchanges and responses with Senator Matsunaga of Hawaii are not fully represented as some of the documents were never copied or retained, however there is enough of the communication to show this project developed.

The language and intent is still 100% applicable to our current financial and ecological situation. A concerted effort to adapt sail power to our merchant fleet is a solution to many problems. A demonstration project as imagined would be quick to implement and will produce immediate results in terms of our country’s commitment to positive change, reduction of oil use, and major job creation.

My personal interest is to help ensure we are achieving your objectives as outlined in your Energy and the Environment strategy:

President Obama and Vice President Biden have a comprehensive plan to invest in alternative and renewable energy, end our addiction to foreign oil, address the global climate crisis and create millions of new jobs.”

•    Within 10 years save more oil than we currently import from the Middle East and Venezuela combined.
•    Implement an economy-wide cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050.
•    Increase Fuel Economy Standards.
•    Deploy the Cheapest, Cleanest, Fastest Energy Source – Energy Efficiency.
•    Make the U.S. a Leader on Climate Change.
There is a valuable opportunity in recreating a sailing merchant fleet. The technology is not far-fetched or imaginary. The cover page illustration is based on a very successful sailing system now in existence and well proven to work on vessels the size required to service small markets.  In a short time it could be scaled up to do the same on major trade routes.  Job creation and capital investment in a functional infrastructure will go hand in hand with achieving your other goals of improved sustainability.
Thank you for your time and consideration in this matter.

Kind regards,

Barry Spanier

Cc:    US Hawaii Senator Daniel K. Inouye
          US Hawaii Senator  Daniel K. Akaka


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