Introduction to the sailmaking market

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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


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

Environmental Awareness Pricing

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

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

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.


50% Reduction of GHG by 2030, towards net zero emission, lowering carbon footprint. 
Is this on the agenda of the industry leaders?

Market size

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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.

Environmental Impact

Oil & Natural gas

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


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

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

Burning plastics produces toxic fumes

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Manufacturing of sails

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

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