New life for old sails


A complete set of furniture, made from upcycled sails, has been supplied to Turn the Tide on Plastic’s team base and the Volvo Ocean Race press conference area to showcase the power of design in finding solutions to Ocean health.

The furniture, used by sailors for team meetings and private guest receptions, includes Genois bean bags, Tack lounge chairs, 3rd Ris stools and Dhingy folding tables. In addition, 2nd Ris stools were provided for each Skipper to sit on during the long awaited press conferences organised in each Host City.

© Beau Outteridge/Turn The Tide On Plastic

The partnership with the Turn the Tide on Plastic race team, enabled old sails from the last edition of the race to be upcycled into a new line of DVELAS products. In November, DVELAS visited the Volvo Ocean Race Lisbon stopover to collect used sails that had been given away by teams, thanks to the coordination of The Boatyard.

The new products, called the ‘Abu Dhabi’s Special Unique Editions’ are now available, carrying with them the history of the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 edition and the proof that sustainability impacts can be the fruit of meaningful business partnerships.


Phil Allen, Turn the Tide on Plastic team director, said: “DVELAS provides a product that is totally aligned with the values of Turn the Tide on Plastic. Turning upcycled sails into designer outdoor furniture helps encourage people to make changes in their consumer behaviour.

"Our partnership has enabled us to relax and enjoy the DVELAS furniture in our team base at stopovers throughout the Volvo Ocean Race. It has also given us an opportunity to promote our efforts to recycle materials that we use, such as old sails from the yachts and also to encourage people we engage with to seek alternative products and support brands who are making sustainability a key element of their vision and offering.”

© Beau Outteridge/Turn The Tide On Plastic

DVELAS, meaning ‘made of sails’ in Spanish, was the brainchild of architect and founder Enrique Kahle who was inspired to find new uses for the huge quantity of material thrown away by the sailing industry.

Based in Pamplona, the company, composed of 10 employees, combines its creative vision and knowledge of sails, to transform valuable material into unique products such as home furniture.

Enrique Kahle, said: “DVELAS integrates sustainability in its whole production process through upcycling. Being a supplier of Turn the Tide on Plastic race team is an amazing achievement, and we are delighted to be attending the Ocean Summit in The Hague to share our experience."

To source old sails the company has developed its own network of sailmakers in Spain, France and Italy. Every two months, or twenty days during the high summer season, DVELAS contacts its suppliers to request available sails. Sailmakers then prepare the shipment, send pictures of the sails as proof of quality, before DVELAS coordinates the pick up through a transport company.


Once delivered, sails are meticulously studied and reimagined in DVELAS’ workshop. They are unpacked, checked and cut according to the dimensions of each product. Sails are then cleaned, cut again in the exact dimensions of each product and sowed. Finally, sails are treated with a product to make them waterproof, a process that can take up to fifteen days.

The number of sails needed depends on the size of the product as well as the quality of the sail: between 0.50m² for a small bean bag, and 4m² for the largest ones.

At the back of each product, a label is sewn with information regarding the sail’s origin, home port, type of boat and sail, as well as the original manufacturer.

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