A business profile: Great bags out of old sails

Hoist away bag - every one is different
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The last good use we heard of for the old sails from your boat was to send them to Haiti for the survivors of their catastrophic earthquake. Now there's another, and so good we wonder why every country - even state - in the world doesn't have a business like this - stitching old sails into bags! ..and how many thousands of those are lying around in lockers or garages?

This one is just a small home-based business, operated by keen sailor Laura Cleminson, who lives on the coast of Maine in the USA, and is an active member of the Piscataqua Sailing Association. The best thing about her business, Hoist Away Bags, is the common sense attitude of making something useful out of what would otherwise remain a piece of old garbage helping to clog up a garage or rotting on a rubbish dump somewhere.

So Laura takes 'retired' sails, and stitches them into great bags - big floppy bags, useful for, well, sails, or picnics or stuffing with anything that needs a quick bag.

And they are strong. Sails these days are mostly made from Mylar or Dacron or other materials which will stay tough and useful for many years.

Hoist away bag
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Laura told her local Foster's Daily Democrat that she has found that people who have old sails lying around hear about Hoist Away and can't get them out of storage and into her sewing machine fast enough.

Maybe it's the smell of the water, the feel of the wind on their face, the idea that the fabric will be used once again, perhaps even on another boat carrying a picnic lunch. Sailors are romantics by nature and easily envision the possibilities when they hear about Hoist Away. It isn't all unselfish, however.

if you donate a bag to Laura, she will make you the first bag from it - free sails to her, free bag to you, and you know that your sail is having a new life as bags for other people.

If you're anywhere near enough, Laura would like your sails (she'll pay the freight if necessary). Just go to her www.hoistawaybags.com!website and let her know.

In the meantime, if there are any keen sailors out there looking for a neat alternative way to make an income, what a great model for a business!