February 14, 2005 A Hamburg-based company has developed a sailing propulsion system that can be retrofitted to almost all large ships, enabling us to reharness the enormous energy potential of the wind! With minimal operating costs, the wind-power ed system could make shipping more profitable, safer and more independent of declining oil reserves. It's ironic that the motive force that enabled the Spanish, English, Dutch, Portugeuse and Chinese to explore the world 500 years ago might have a second golden age thanks to a German company but the technology is sound and the prize for success will be immense. World trade is conducted principally by ships. Ships carry 98.2% of intercontinental goods, and 98% of all cargo vessels are powered by diesel engines. In 2002, ships used 25 billion Euros worth of fuel. The Skysails system is expected to more than halve fuel costs.