Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image

International Windship Association | June 17, 2024

Scroll to top


Sail Line Fish – IWSA Member

Sail Line Fish – IWSA Member


Sail Line Fish is an innovative Company, based in the Shetland Islands, UK developing sail-system technology for carbon reduction and fuel efficiency in the shipping and fishing industries.


IWSA Member

We established Sail Line Fish Ltd in 2009 after the sudden increase in fuel price in 2008. This had an immediate global effect on the fishing industry. To our Shetland fishing fleet this meant up to 70% of vessel earnings could be going on fuel costs. With this continuing high fuel cost, the attractive convenience of diesel power starts to fade.
We began research into alternatives to diesel motor power and specialised in a Feasibility Study (2010) into the potential of sail-assisted fishing with Scottish Government funding. Through combining knowledge from the past and the continuous development of sail technology in the yachting industry we could see that innovative solutions to the modern commercial fisherman could exist. The necessity to design a foldaway hands free sail system was evident. Which could be utilised when conditions were suitable without the need for extra crew.

The photo shows the first public demonstration of our prototype Balpha Mast patent’s pending (US 14/000,592 & EU EP 2678215.A1) 2010. We conducted 18 months of sail-assisted fishing trials with this small traditional Shetland fishing vessel. During these long-line fishing trips we recorded a 17.6% reduction in fuel consumption. The Balpha Mast system also allowed 21% extra days fishing in marginal conditions, as the mast and rigging could be safely lowered and stowed, whilst at sea to avoid equipment damage. When studying our sail fishermen ancestors (pre-1900) written accounts were found of the necessity to lower the mast once lying drifting to lines and nets. Since designing and testing the first prototype Balpha Mast we’ve continued to advance, automate and refine the system to applications in commercial fishing and the leisure industry. We’re presently working towards commercialisation and certification of Balpha Mast systems.
Through collaboration with Naval Architects Dick Koopmans, Netherlands and Eric Sponberg, USA we have an aluminium hybrid sail-assisted fishing vessel to a preliminary design stage.

This 15 metre (50 foot) long vessel has a 2 tonne refrigerated fish hold with 90m2 sail area. Work is progressing on integrating the Balpha Mast sail system with other fuel free propulsion. Our abundance of wind and tidal power  in Shetland, along with a developments in the use of hydrogen power is one option being considered. Where the whole fishing operation (shore station, distribution, handling, ice and fishing boat) could be fuel (CO2) free. Major efforts are being concentrated on finding the financial investment needed for this pioneering fishing venture.
We’ve had significant International interest in the Balpha Mast system from fishermen in Nova Scotia, Faroe, Norway, UK, Maldives, Indonesia etc.

With seafood being such an excellent healthy product, there are many opportunities for the fishing industry. All that’s required is innovation, investment and collaboration of knowledge to solve our challenging future.
The power of Sail is a gift to the Seafarer, which is an energy resource readily at hand with no environmental impacts. As a trading Company its our main objective to develop and commercialise systems which harness this resource. As a dedicated member of the International Windship Association we will continue to collaborate to a collective goal of developing and promoting the use of wind power at sea.

IWSA Member
AddressSail Line Fish Ltd.
Shetland U.K.
Phone+44(0)1806 522619