BEACHGOERS sitting on the shore yesterday could be forgiven for rubbing their eyes when an old sailboat appeared on the horizon.

But sailors should not fear – it was not a ghost ship.

It was the Gallant, a century-old sailboat transporting quality goods from across the world to Newhaven port the old-fashioned way.

Though the boat itself is run by a French company, Brighton co-operative the Sail Boat Project has been organising deliveries to raise money for its charity work.

The Gallant’s latest shipment includes Portuguese olive oil, vegan wine, and organic almonds.

Though shipments are small, founder Dhara Thompson hopes to expand his operation by finding new buyers.

“We’re trying to set up regular orders,” the 46-year-old, originally from London, said.

“It’s tricky because Brighton is a good area for restaurants but we can’t go into the marina as we are not licensed for that.

“Anyone can come to Newhaven to try some of our produce as we unload it and we still have some in our office.”

All surplus from the not-for-profit’s produce sales goes into the community sailing groups Dhara runs in Chichester Harbour.

The Sail Boat Project has worked with youth group Esteem, Brighton charity Open Strings Music, and Dorothy Stringer High School in Brighton to run sailing lessons for the community.

But the co-operative’s community lessons are not the only positive impact it aims to have on the world.

The Gallant’s wind-powered sails mean it does not produce any emissions, making it an eco-friendly alternative to polluting motorboats.

For volunteer Karen Luyckx, the Sail Boat Project shows fighting climate change can mean looking back as much as it does looking forward.

She said: “Transport represents almost a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions.

“Even if we stop importing unnecessary luxury products and consume more locally produced food, we will still need transport to support a resilient food system and healthy diets.

“We know that ‘business-as-usual’ improvements in energy efficiency are unlikely to yield substantial reductions in CO2 emissions from ships.”

“Sail cargo can work both at larger volumes internationally and at smaller volumes to replace local road and sea transport.”

Founder Dhara has worked to make the entire operation as eco-friendly as possible.

“The olive oil we imported used to come in plastic tubs but now we’re using 30-litre tins,” he said.

“All of our products are sourced from small producers who use environmentally responsible production methods.”

And because the Sail boat Project cuts out the middlemen, suppliers receive a bigger cut of the sales than they would selling to a big corporation.

Karen said: “In the case of the mouth-watering Reigado olive oil, the sourcing was done by olive oil sommeliers Passeite and the co-ordination of the transport by New Dawn Traders.

“The shipping was done by the Blue Schooner Company with their ship Gallant and the distribution and promotion is carried out by us.

“Sail cargo producers receive a much larger share of the final product price

compared to conventional trade.”

Nationally, the co-operative is part of the Sail Cargo Alliance, a group of organisations working together to import products ethically using sailboats.

Though the Gallant has already docked at Newhaven, it will continue delivering its delicious cargo to Bristol, Penzance and London.

But now Dhara and his crew hope to expand their operations by supplying Brighton businesses with its specialist goods.

Karen added: “We now need more ships, citizens purchasing the goods, and funders to come on board. “