The Challenge Group

Challenge Sailcloth is a technology driven leader in the design and manufacture of materials for wind driven watersports.  A longtime leader in woven fabrics for the sailmaking industry, Challenge is now a leader in high performance ultra-light materials for Yacht Racing, Kite and Wing foiling, as well as for outdoor mountain sports. We regularly develop materials with our clients for specialized applications, rather than solely selling “off-the-shelf” materials.

The legacy of Challenge Sailcloth spans four generations in the textile industry. In 1917, our family founded Howe and Bainbridge, one of the first sailcloth companies in the USA. In the 1930s, DuPont® invented synthetic polyester and nylon fibers which we used to create the first Cordura® nylon mainsail cloth. Moving from tar-impregnated cotton sails to technical synthetic textiles started a new era of sailboat racing and innovation. We’ve been leaders at the forefront of textile innovation for over 100 years. In 1986, we founded Challenge Sailcloth. Looking forward, our focus is entirely on sustainability within the textile industry.

4 Core Divisions

Wind Sports- Foil Sports - Outdoor - Technical

Energy-Efficient Manufacturing & Distribution

Our textiles are produced at eco-friendly facilities either Bluesign approved or powered by hydroelectricity.
Our innovative manufacturing system eliminates expensive and energy intensive drying ovens, hot rooms for curing, and many other processes needed to laminate Nylon and Polyester with solvent-based adhesive.

We maintain stock in America, Asia and Europe for better efficiency with our manufacturing partners and brands.


Headquarters + Research & Development

  • Challenge is an independently run company owned by the Bainbridge Family.

  • Unique Sailcloth styles are produced in North Carolina and finished at our facility in Rhode Island.

    Challenge produces the majority of the woven products at our Bluesign approved facility in Thailand.

    Our Ecopak, Ultra and Laminated Composites are woven worldwide and laminated at our CAC facility in South Eastern China.

    Our hardware and other components are sourced from over 200 unique partners globally.

  • We have over 70 dedicated people developing, producing, selling and administering our products. Our world class team is closely connected to our partners and clients on a daily basis.

Sustainable Trifecta

  • Recycled Components

    ECOPAK™ is the world’s only composite fabric made with 100% recycled fiber and film. Constructed with REPREVE® rPET fiber, our fabric lasts longer, absorbs 80% less moisture, and has better UV resistance and color retention than traditional laminated nylon.

  • Non-Toxic Adhesive

    These materials are laminated into composite fabrics, using our proprietary adhesive, which does not contain toxic solvents or VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds). Others laminate with solvent-based adhesives long with energy-intensive drying ovens. They may claim to be ‘carbon neutral’ by buying carbon-offsets after polluting; Challenge has taken the progressive step of eliminating harmful chemicals from the start!

  • Recycled Film

    The proprietary Challenge RUV™ film backing is 100% recycled and 97% UV resistant. Challenge RUV™ lasts 5 times longer in the sun than conventional film used in other fabrics - a big breakthrough in extending performance