SUPPORTING SUSTAINABLE SAILCLOTH

Sailmakers working at UK Sailmaker’s network of over 50 lofts and service centers around the world may speak many different languages, but they share one common thread in their approach to making and servicing sails. Simply put, UK Sailmakers is committed to supporting sailing with sustainable sailcloth.

Sustainable sailing has manifested itself in numerous ways, ranging from the Racing Rules of Sailing that prohibit marine littering, and regattas that ban single-use plastic containers. Non-sustainability can rear its ugly head in the form of derelict boats and worn-out sails that end up in dumpsters, chippers, or landfills. None of those are good things.

UK Sailmakers has taken our sailing sustainability initiative one step further by acting globally to minimize the environmental impact of our sail manufacturing processes to help protect the world’s oceans. We are doing this with the help of two companies from which we purchase the sailcloth used to make your new UK Sailmakers’ sails.

Sailmakers working at UK Sailmaker’s network of over 50 lofts and service centers around the world may speak many different languages, but they share one common thread in their approach to making and servicing sails. Simply put, UK Sailmakers is committed to supporting sailing with sustainable sailcloth.

Rolls of cloth fill the shelves at UK Sailmakers Northwest in Sidney, BC.

The first is Challenge Sailcloth. You can now buy a new X-Drive® or radial laminate sail from your local UK Sailmakers loft that uses Challenge sailcloth made from partially recycled yarns and 100% recycled film. This recycled film has greater UV resistance than virgin sailcloth films, extending the sail’s useful life. Challenge has also developed the first sailcloth made with 100% recycled fiber and film. Further, Challenge is using a proprietary non-toxic adhesion method in manufacturing their sailcloth.

UK Sailmaker’s other major sailcloth provider, Dimension Polyant, is approaching sailcloth sustainability from a different direction. DP has focused its efforts on carbon-neutral manufacturing. They have created the first 100% climate-neutral sailcloth made from bio-based Dyneema® fibers. These fibers contain high-modulus polyethylene from renewable raw materials, making them better for the environment from the beginning without sacrificing performance.

Sailmakers working at UK Sailmaker’s network of over 50 lofts and service centers around the world may speak many different languages, but they share one common thread in their approach to making and servicing sails. Simply put, UK Sailmakers is committed to supporting sailing with sustainable sailcloth.

The plotter at UK Sailmakers Northwest in Sidney, BC, drawing and cutting X-Drive sail panels.

These are just a few examples of sustainable products from our major sailcloth manufacturers. Using an environmentally friendly sailcloth is a major step towards reducing UK Sailmakers’ carbon footprint. In addition to the raw materials we use, UK Sailmakers Lofts also reduce waste that occurs during the manufacturing process by using modern pattern plotting technology to reduce material off-cuts. The remaining usable scraps are saved and stored for future sail repairs or to make sailcloth duffel bags.

Talk to your local loft today to learn about the recycled sailcloth options available for your next sail.

Heather Mahady
Heather Mahady

Heather Mahady is the General Manager of UK Sailmakers International. She is based on Vancouver Island in the Pacific Northwest, and is a passionate sailboat racer, sailmaker, and sustainability advocate.

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