Introduction to the sailmaking market

The development of plastics since 1945 have given the sailmakers an endless opportunity to develop better, faster and longer lasting sails. Like many industries local craftsman have disappeared and replaced by global players that primarily produce sails in low
income countries. Local lofts are either service centers or focus on making covers, sprayhoods and repairs.

This industry has a huge ecological footprint using big plants, lots of chemicals and recycling is not part of the business model. For the future of our planet and the watersports industry we need to change this.

The sailmaking market in relation to the global sustainability goals

Pricing

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Price increases of raw materials (Oil & Gas) and its connected ecological impact will drive innovation and change.

Environmental Awareness 

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First movement of use of recycled material and/or  material that can be recycled is introduced and will  continue to grow. Customers (Sailors & Surfers) will 

embrace the use of alternative sustainable materials as  long as they are durable and an economical alternative (It is an illusion that there is a market for sustainable 

products when it is more expensive) 

The Racing Market

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The high end racing market will always want the fastest sail no matter what the cost or its durability; this will only be limited by class/race organizations & governing

bodies.

Economical Value

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 All plastics (and so also sails) can be recycled; the  questions are: is it economically viable? or who is willing  to pay for costs of taking the sails back and give them 

new purpose. 

THE QUESTION IS? 

50% reduction of GHG by 2030, towards Net Zero Emission, lowering Carbon Footprint. 

Is this on the agenda of the Industry leaders?

Market size

Sailmaking is a niche within the plastics / textile industry with an annual turnover of approx. $500 million. The yacht sails market shows some annual growth whereas the (kite)surfing and wing-surfing market is booming.  >13 million m2 is being produced annually which equals 10  times the area of Greater London. Upcycling or other re-use in new products is less than 10% of what is produced; recycling is non-existent to this date.


Enviromental Impact 

Oil & Natural gas

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are the basics of plastics which have a negative environmental impact in harvesting and are a finite resource. 

Transport

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of raw materials and semi-finished products around the world to and from low income countries have a huge CO2

impact; 80% of emissions globally are generated from within the supply chain (Mckinsey & Company)

Recycled materials

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too have a carbon footprint, it is not always a better, greener solution and in most cases it is more expensive. Recycling of plastics possibly implies the further distribution of microplastics

Burning plastics

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Burning plastics produces toxic fumes

Manufacturing of sails

Manufacturing of sailcloth is being done everywhere in the world mostly by companies that are supplier to the textile industries

Help us to reduce the carbon footprint of the sailing  industry for a better planet.