UK Sailmakers is proud to announce the world’s first environmentally ethical racing sails. This new sail manufacturing process reflects a concern with the long-term environmental impact of current high-performance membrane sails that laminate grids of yarns between layers of petroleum-based Mylar films. While these high-tech racing sails deliver peak performance for a number of seasons, eventually their competitive lifespan comes to an abrupt end. Those indestructible, petroleum-based sails end up filling boat yard dumpsters, landfills or incinerators.
Alain Janet, head of UK Sailmaker’s loft in southern France, has been working on UK’s proprietary membrane sail manufacturing technology for nearly a decade. Having developed high-end MartiX Titanium®, a continuous-yarn membrane-sail manufacturing process, Janet turned his focus to creating environmentally ethical sails. Thanks to those efforts, UK Sailmakers is now developing Titanium Blue® high-performance racing sails – being branded as Blue because of the sky blue color of the sails’ skin material.
Using organically-derived, cellulous-based films, in place of petroleum-based Mylar makes these sails recyclable. When the sail’s competitive usefulness is over, MatriX Blue sails can be treated with a substance that dissolves the membrane allowing the recapture of the reinforcing yarns originally built into the sail. Sails made with cellulous-based films will have the same durability as petroleum-based Mylar films yet will be bio-degradable.
“Our industry has been a serious contributor to the clogging of landfills with the indestructible polymer-based used sails,” said Janet. “Today, over 20,000 sails of non-renewable sail skin materials are manufactured each year, which translates to over 1 million square meters of eco-unfriendly sails. If you turned that into a narrow ribbon, it could circle the Earth several times.”
“As a leading global sailmaker, UK is taking the lead to help resolve this growing environmental challenge,” said Des McWilliam, President of UK Sailmakers International. “UK Sailmakers is aggressively pursuing this green initiative and, importantly, will share with the sailing world advancements when they are made and milestones as they are reached. These sails will be offered exclusively by UK Sailmakers at the outset, but the company plans to make arrangements with other sailmakers whereby the impact of this important environmental advancement can be felt throughout the sailing world.”
View all the Articles in the May 2012 Newsletter