They have travelled more than 24,000 miles, been through Southern Ocean storms and propelled British sailor Pip Hare to the finish line of her first Vendée Globe non-stop circumnavigation – but her sails’ adventures do not stop there. They have been recycled into pens by sailmakers OneSails in a bid to improve sustainability of the materials used in offshore racing.
Pip said: “As the sails will not fit my new boat, we have decided to put them through the recycling process, and then make them into something else we can hopefully use on my next campaign. It is an exciting project and sets a benchmark for the sailing world.”
The OneSails 4T Forte composite sails that Pip used in her race around the globe are the only certified, fully recyclable sails on the market.
John Parker, head of OneSails GBR (East) said: “Performance is obviously the priority when designing and making sails, but we are also conscious of what happens to them once they eventually reach the end of their life. For Pip’s sails we chose 4T Forte for its high performance, durable and recyclable properties. It is cutting edge technology but we are seeing it become more popular as people increasingly look at their eco credentials.”
Over the last few months Medallia’s sails were put through a machine that churned out tiny rice-like polyethylene pellets, which were then remoulded into pens.
Pip said: “I have spent all my professional life on or near the ocean and I have seen first-hand the increasing amount of plastic and rubbish floating around out there. Like so many others, I want to do whatever I can to tackle this problem and have been looking at ways I can make my campaign as sustainable as possible. And I am not alone – it is something that my fellow sailors and race organisers are also making a priority.”
The IMOCA Class has also revealed changes to the class rules for 2021-2025 that are designed to help limit environmental impact and require teams to use sustainable materials.
Pip, who has been actively involved in developing the IMOCA class’ sustainability charter, said: “We have got some big targets heading into 2024. Things like eradicating the use of single-use plastic both on and offshore, using recycled or recyclable materials and looking at working with freeze-dried food manufacturers to try and get more sustainable packaging. We are looking at everything and thinking how we can make our sport greener, cleaner and more sustainable.”