So, you have finally decided that it’s time to order a new set of sails. You’ve saved up your funds, chosen a sailmaker, and taken measurements for the new set of sails. Everything is working out perfectly, except one question remains…what to do with the old sails?
If you are like me, you probably have had piles of old sails in your basement more than once in your life. Sometimes it’s worth it to hang on to the old sails, in case you ever need to use them in the future, or as a spare set for emergencies. But more often than not, old sails just end up taking up space and deteriorating over time. It may be time to think about selling or donating your old sails.
Can I Sell My Used Sails?
The first thing to ask yourself before you donate your old sails is if they still have any value. If you chose to replace your old sails before they got too worn out, there is a good chance that you might be able to help pay for your new suit of sails by selling your boat’s old wardrobe.
So how can you know if your old sails are still worth anything? Well, chances are that if your sails are totally worthless, you’ll know. Old sails that have serious damage or are over 20 or 30 years old are unlikely to sell at all. These sails are probably best donated to someone who can repurpose them into bags or backpacks, since it would take too much work to try to fix them.
If your sails don’t have any serious damage, then you should take a closer look at them. Ask yourself how much wear they have overall. If your sails aren’t too worn out they may be of use to someone who needs a new sail but lacks the funds to order a new one straight from the sailmaker. Other questions that you should keep in mind are how much the sails originally cost, what type of boat they were built for, and what materials they were constructed from. This will help you determine if your used sails are worth selling or better off being donated.
Where Should I Try Selling My Old Sails?
If you have determined that your old sails still hold some value, Sailtrader.com is one of the best places to get them sold. Sailtrader.com was developed by sailors who were tired of the old ways of trying to buy and sell used sails on Craigslist, Facebook, or for-profit sailing marketplaces.
The best thing about Sailtrader.com, is that it is run by sailors who know what it’s like to try to buy or sell used sails. That’s why they have made it as easy as possible to post your sails there, communicate with interested buyers, and ultimately sell your sails. You can also buy and sell used boats on the website free of charge.
How does it work? Sailtrader doesn’t work like a consignment shop or warehouse, but instead is an online meeting place for people who are interested in buying and selling sails. As a seller, you just need to set up an account, and then post pictures, measurements and any other relevant info about the sails that you want to sell. Sailtrader.com doesn’t ask for a commission or fee, and they let the buyers and sellers work out the deal themselves. It may sound too good to be true, but it’s real!
Other Places to Donate Your Sails
It may be the case that your sails aren’t valuable enough to sell, but still could be useful for somebody without money to buy new sails. After all, one person’s trash is another person’s treasure. I actually found two of my favorite sails of all time next to a marina dumpster. I regularly get asked who the sailmaker was by admirers at the nearby members only yacht club. All I can say is that I found them in the garbage.
Where should you try to donate your used sails? There are a number of organizations that might be interested. One option is to ask local junior sailing programs. They often make use of donated boats and sails to teach young boaters how to safely navigate. Another option is to ask any friends who are just getting started in sailing if your used sails could be of any use to them.
As I mentioned above, sails that have been damaged beyond reasonable repair may still be useful for companies or individuals who re-purpose sails into bags. One of the more popular businesses that does this is Sea-Bags out of Portland, Maine, but there are a number of other outfits also doing this all over the world.
You may also want to ask around to see if there are any local sail donation programs in your area. I have found at least four or five such programs within 50 miles of my home in Washington State, and I know of many more around the country. The profits are often used to benefit Maritime Centers or Sailing Schools.
As you can see, there are many options available for your old sails rather than simply throwing them away. First, it’s always a good idea to see if you can sell your used sails through a platform like Sailtrader.com. If that’s not possible, make sure to look around for organizations that make use of used sails. Giving old sails a second life is good for the environment, your local community, and for sailors everywhere!