The innovative sail recycling firm making waves on the sustainability scene

Sustainable Sailing Ltd is a successful start up using technology to pave the way for a more environmentally friendly marine industry
22 Mar 24
Joe Penhaul-Smith of Sustainable Sailing at the RYA Dinghy & Watersports Show

The Penhaul-Smith brothers launched Sustainable Sailing with a simple aim: build a more sustainable future for the marine industry.

And that’s exactly what they’ve been doing, since founding the business back in 2021.

The mission was born when Joe and Sam decided to tackle the growing issue of end of life boating materials, after the scale of the problem became increasingly pertinent to them both.

Concerned by the quantity of sails and other boating materials which pose a recycling challenge due to their material, Sustainable Sailing became a concept after Joe completed his Master’s and PhD at the Scottish Association for Marine Science in Oban, and after Sam returned from working at the most recent America’s Cup.

Joe said: "As sailors, we all want to keep sailing, and keep sailing in beautiful places for as long as possible."

To find out more about how Sustainable Sailing is serving that mission (as well as more on Joe’s time in Scotland) we sat down with the co-founder for the latest episode of ‘Off The Water’ – the official RYA Scotland podcast.

Sustainable Sailing content, Green Blue pledge, chlorofoil, Joe Penhaul-Smith 

Quickly gaining momentum, their venture was named ‘Start-Up of the Year 2023’ by the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) which was awarded in Glasgow at the end of last year.

Reflecting on their success so far, as well as what’s still to come for Sustainable Sailing, and the environmental challenges within sailing in general, Joe is optimistic:

“There is so much more we can do, it’s not a case of if it’s a case of when.

“So, the more we can do to get the word out, build the conversation, and get people to take more small, practical actions – the better!”

“If everyone does a little bit – that’ll help.”

To find out what practical actions you can take – make sure to give the episode a listen.

You can also find out more about good environmental boating practise on The Green Blue website, where you can get involved by taking their boating pledge.

Sustainable Sailing content, Green Blue pledge, chlorofoil, Joe Penhaul-Smith

The first on the scene in terms of true sail recycling technology, Sustainable Sailing benefits from wealth of experience offered by its founding directors in science, and the inner workings of the marine industry – combined with a true passion for change.

The company’s innovative technology can recycle 90% of the different sail cloths in general circulation – offering a potential solution for a huge quantity of annual waste, primarily stemming from the boating and leisure marine industry.

As their offering expands, the Sustainable Sailing team are also hard at work producing predominantly bio based dinghy foils, as well as tackling different areas of legislation within the recycling landscape.

Joe Penhaul-Smith of Sustainable Sailing

With momentum not slowing anytime soon, Joe and Sam remain dedicated to paving the way for a more sustainable future for the marine industry.

Offering a range of consultancy services, working with individuals and companies alike, the brothers are dedicated to opening up the conversation to get more people talking.

Watch this space for all that’s to come from Sustainable Sailing in the near future.

To find out more about Sustainable Sailing – head to their website and check them out on social media now.

And, if you enjoyed our latest podcast episode, you can tune into more now. Be sure to spread the word with your friends and communities.