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Sailboat Show Sideline

There’s a lot of life in those old sails yet

The Haughwouth sisters’ parents had passed away, and the boat was long gone, but when their childhood sail resurfaced, Penny and Pixie couldn’t bear throwing it away. Instead they turned it into two jackets. Then they turned it into a business, Sea Fever Gear.

Sailors don’t have many options for worn-out sails other than throwing them away. “So many hold onto them,” says Haughwouth, “because they carry an emotional tie. Who owned it before? Where has it been? What has it gone through? Each sail has a story of its own.”

Sailors tend to be eco-friendly. So the Haughwouths’ earth- and space-friendly option has “people dragging their sails over to donate them,” says Penny Haughwouth who’ll be collecting sails and selling goods and gear made from sails at the United States Sailboat Show October 7 to 10.

Knowing their sails won’t sit in a landfill gives captains peace of mind — and more. Each donor to Sea Fever Gear also gets a bag made from recycled sails and, in their honor, a donation to the Cousteau society.

Sailors who don’t want to let go at all “can have custom-made gear from their own sails, ” Haughwouth says.

“We’re different from competitors who mass produce and buy new cloth,” Haughwouth says. The “salty and torn sails are hand cut to funky patterns. Next, artisans sew the pieces together into tote bags, hats, backpacks, wallets, sandals, shower curtains, key chains, baby bibs —and the list goes on. Sea Fever Gear sells the sail goods by email, at stores in San Diego and Cape Cod and at boat shows. 

Also showing sail ware at the boat show is local merchant Resails-Holley of Annapolis. Like Sea Fever Gear, Resails — based in Newport, Rhode Island — accepts donations of old sails to be repurposed into goods from beanbag chairs to hats or tote bags. To donate, visit the Resails website, www.poshyachting.com. Resails also makes goods out of new sailcloth.

At the United States Sailboat Show October 7 to 10, they’re also collecting. That’s where you can join a “giant sail recycle drive to benefit the Cousteau Society.” Drop your sails off at Tent K. Or call Penny Haughwouth at 508-648-1023 before or during the show to arrange a collection point.