I’ve written here before about sails used to pull ocean-going vessels, but this is an entirely different step in that story. British company B9 Energy expects to begin production of large sailing vessels in 2012:
The 100% carbon-neutral freighter will feature automated, self-adjusting sails that respond to minute changes in the wind to maximize propulsion. The boat will also take advantage of “skysail” technology — a kite-styled towing system currently used on some cargo ships to improve fuel efficiency. In addition, a biofuel-powered engine will operate under less windy conditions.
The cargo will be much, much less than with a traditional freighter. Of course there are doubters, and there are also details here.