What is route optimisation?

Route optimization or weather routing predicts the optimal conditions for efficient sailing with wind propulsion devices, taking into account the instant/prevailing ocean wind energy potential to ensure minimum fuel consumption. Because of the complexity of the application, a fully automated voyage optimization system coupled with the wind propulsion system and the main propulsion plant of the ship is needed. The resulting route may differ depending which wind propulsion device is installed, due to their different optimum wind conditions for maximum performance.


On board voyage optimization computers can be used in conjunction with accurate and real time weather forecast data, which will provide to the captain the best possible routing that would be optimal for ETA and for fuel consumption, or at least the best compromise of the latter.


Especially in large oceangoing voyages of over 3-5 days where the weather forecast uncertainty rises considerably, there can be methods to use stochastic optimization of the routes by combining real time weather data coming from such providers.


The application of wind propulsion technologies requires either more trained and competent captains or more integrated automation controlled ship power adjustments, wind propulsor functional parameters adjustments, weather routing and voyage optimization in a holistic way to ensure safety of navigation and reduction of fuel cost and CO2 emissions at all times.





– Information courtesy of Konstantinos Fakiolas’ book ‘Wind Propulsion Principles’, Edition 1 –