Are OLD sails interesting for humanitarian relief shelters?

relief tents

With tragic events in Morocco and Turkey in mind, the question has been raised by many sailors whether old sails can be used for relief shelters? Although some initiatives have been tried, like Doyle Sails donate your sails, the answer is: probably not!

Relief organisations are in need of large quantities of easy to set up tents that are readily available.

To make old sails available for this purpose, they need to be available in large volumes in preferably equal qualities. This is not the case! Discarded sails come in a variety of sizes, thickness and materials. To be suitable for tent making, it will need sorting, taking off zippers, lines and reinforcements. There is no such facility available and probably not or very difficult to get operational let alone economically viable.

The relief “industry” and relief shelter manufacturers have already found solutions that are hard to beat, see Sioen’s offering of Speedkits.

Tents can be purchased in large quantities at relatively low prices, there are cloth manufacturers that specifically focus at this market. Some examples are:

So sell your old sails, donate them for upcycling, but support the Red Cross and other organisations with money!

There is always a second life for sails!