Are traditional sail boats the future of trade?

Editor’s Note: MainSail is CNN’s monthly sailing show, exploring the sport of sailing, luxury travel and the latest in design and technology.

Story highlights

European merchant ships of the 19th Century were a lifeline to world's exotic goods

"Golden Age of Sai" makes a comeback with modern-day wind powered cargo ships

Sailing ship Tres Hombres leaves from Netherlands to Caribbean on eight-month voyage

Part of 21st Century bid for environmentally sustainable travel

CNN  — 

With their billowing sails, towering masts and long wooden hulls, 19th century clipper ships were staggering feats of design – and Europe’s lifeline to the world’s most exotic goods.

Laden with spices, teas and chocolates from across the globe, the use of these wind-powered sailing vessels reached its peak during the late 1800’s, a period often referred to as the “Golden Age of Sail.”

Abandoned in the advent of steamboats, the centuries-old transport is now enjoying a revival among cargo traders, with a new breed of merchant ships returning to wind power in an effort to promote environmentally sustainable trade.