STUDIO 103 @Sand Sea and Air Interiors

Upholstery for Yachts, Aircrafts, Home, Hotels and Office


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Seating solutions for reclining, storage and temperature control

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Terri Madden’s March/April 2017 article for Marine Fabricator Magazine.

When a customer requests an unusual type of seating for a boat, it’s a fabrication opportunity to begin a comfortable dialogue with that client. Instead of hesitantly saying, “I will try to do my best,” turn your response into, “I am here to help you.”

That customer may have already heard a reluctant fabricator say, “That’s not possible,” or “That’s going to cost a lot of money.” The open-minded fabricator will thoughtfully listen and ask questions as the customer describes his or her vision. The goal is to cultivate a constructive dialogue that will help a customer understand the value of the fabricator’s time, effort and skills. What’s more, creating an especially challenging seating project may become an award-winner that ultimately showcases a fabricator’s considerable skill and experience.

Customers are often looking for a wow factor in their new marine cushions and seating. At the same time, they usually have budget constraints and want the work completed as soon as possible. To balance these demands, fabricators need to help clients understand the give and take of turning unusual requests into reality.   

When an usually project is requested, here are ideas for preparing for your first meeting with the client:

  • Designate a day to review his or her request so you have sufficient time to explore solutions that will suit the project.
  • Consider whether this project will take away or add to your core business.
  • Review measurements and gather photos of similar projects.
  • Develop sketches and rough drafts for the client.
  • Research the type of materials required, including quantities, costs and availability.
  • Compare the customer’s budget to your rough estimate for materials and labor.
  • Designate your prototype fee in your estimate; this will be different than a quantity fee and re-orders on certain items.

Adjustable chaise seating

Consider what new projects you have seen in the past year. I find it inspiring to view fellow fabricators’ projects that, to my knowledge, had not previously existed in the marine market but are now are frequently seen on pleasure crafts around the world.

Adjustable reclining chaise seating has been in the furniture industry for years, yet only recently have a few fabricators sourced hardware and materials to transition this idea to the marine market. Now this comfortable solution is a reality for marine customers.

In the past, super yachts often incorporated flat cushions into a recessed area on the bow of the boat. Typically these “day bed” cushions have had elevated headrests integrated into the body of a cushion, providing only a few inches of elevation. However, fabricators like David Elliott, owner of David’s Custom Trimmers in Australia, have recently utilized a 25 mm Kingboard as a custom base with a stainless ratchet-hinge. The hardware is available from Taco Marine. This fusion has provided a durable and comfortable solution for guests to sit side-by-side with one person relaxing in an upright position while another person reclines.

Since the completion and installation of this project, Elliott has been sourcing additional prototypes for alternate functional hardware that is enduring and functional when installed into a fiberglass hull. He, like so many other fabricators, continues to strive to propel a great concept to the next dimension.  

Premium storage

Every vessel, no matter how large or small, needs optimized storage space, which is always tight onboard. Crew and owners need most items to be securely stowed away, yet they want easy access to everything from hardware to comfortable quilts.

Clever storage was recently created in the armrests of a custom-built sofa by Canvas Designers Inc., Riveria Beach, Fla. In fact, this upholstery project was awarded an Award of Distinction in the MFA 2016 Fabrication Excellence Awards. This custom sofa was for a 72-foot Merritt Sport Fish.

The two sofa arms of this handsome U-shaped sofa provide spacious custom storage via a hinge access feature. [Terri, this project was included in the March/April 2106 issue of MF (MFA Fabicator Awards). It stated “The entire seat and back are on hydraulic hinges, which lift up for storage space.” I think I should add this.]

Pat Erickson, at Canvas Designers, says the company slogan is, “If you can dream it, we can make it.”

The sofa is all leather with the back sections custom built with 2.25-inch horizontal channel pockets. The foam pockets were individually fabricated with a Stamoid back base for stability. The back has zipper access for stuffing the foam into the individual pockets. The size was specified by the client to match the leather boat blinds. This custom feature on the sofa back was exactly what the customer envisioned.

Just last week I received a customer request to include armrest storage in new custom sofa on a family vessel that is in a full refit stage. The customer saw this feature on the Internet and at a boat show. This opportunity illustrates how important it is to keep up with design trends for seating and cushions through Marine Fabricator magazine, seminars and conventions.

Climate controlled seating

Bill Marriott from Extreme Upholstery Designs, Charleston, S.C., is a talented fabricator who recently exceeded a customer’s expectations by creating climate-controlled mezzanine seating. He described the request as a “brain teaser, to say the least.” He puzzled through every step before preparing a prototype. Many times this type of process can take a fabricator days or weeks. I like to call it “chewing over a project.”

Bill’s client flew him to the boat site, so he could pattern the seat area on a new custom-made 62-foot Scarborough in North Carolina. The resulting seats are climate controlled with heat and air conditioning, so the owner can have a cool ride after a long hot fishing trip. Sunbrella® fabric was used. The one requirement the client had was, when standing on the dock or the back of the boat, he did not want to see into the open holes where the heat and air comes through the seat. Bill designed the seat so that only the fabric was visible when looking at the openings.

This was no easy task for a three-dimensional seat, which required access to insert the foam on form fitting cushions. Talent, ingenuity and years of design skills were incorporated into this amazing creation   .

Here are preparation tips that can guide you in creating a challenging project.

  • Do a conceptual “walk through” for each stage of a unique project to ensure that your time and talent are adequately compensated.
  • Confirm materials and hardware.
  • Prepare a maquette, sample or pattern.
  • Consider contours and alignment of all areas.
  • Determine time factors for each stage.
  • Determine what employee training may be required for the project.
  • Determine installation logistics and storage-related issues.

Don’t be shy about calling on fellow fabricators for advice when you hit a roadblock. You will be surprised at how willingly they share resources related to suppliers, techniques and professional contacts. I recall reading about scrim foam in the Marine Fabricator magazine several years back, I did not know what this foam was or how it would be utilized, so I contacted the author. She was more than willing to explain the various types and usages and provide a list of vendors. Through reaching out to others, I am fortunate to have many friends in this unique industry.

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Elegant performance in stripes

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Terri Madden’s March/April 2016 article for Marine Fabricator Magazine.

You can browse the PDF, or read the text version below.

Stripes come in every color, shape and size…a two-color stripe can even be juxtaposed to form an eye-catching pattern. Striking stripe patterns can be matched or combined with solid colors to provide dramatic effects for your next project. Stripes are more popular than ever and Sunbrella likes them so much that they featured subtle as well as dramatic stripes on their 2016-2017 Upholstery Fabric Brochure. Stripes can be placed horizontally or vertically to give a low and wide effect versus a high or tall dimension to a space. As Marine Fabricators, we even get to play with stripes around curved edges and contour corners. The sky is the limit, yet we need to apply some earthly planning to ensure that incorporating stripes into a project is a winning solution.

Every year new patterns and colors are developed that invite fabricators to create different looks on board a yacht; classic, modern, chic or sophisticated. A sailor stripe sets off an eye-catching look, especially when combined alongside various shades of brilliant oranges or you can offer a subtle pallet of clay and charcoal that is a modern interpretation of European inspired designs with architectural precision.

If you’re not familiar with fabricating with stripes it can be a bit of a challenge, yet you can welcome the opportunity, as stripes are synonymous with boat décor and make a dramatic nautical impact on any yacht and your choices of colors and sizes are endless.  I was a bit daunted as to how to proceed for a few of the projects and spaces that will be explained and illustrated in this article. I want to give you that ‘step-ahead’ when your next customer inquires and selects a striped marine textile for their boat. Some essential design elements for you to consider are the following:

The Repeat of a Fabric

The repeat of a fabric refers to the number of inches it takes before the pattern starts all over again. It is the distance between the starting point of the pattern to the point where that pattern starts over again. This is referred to as “one repeat.”

Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 2.49.09 PMWhen choosing a fabric for a project, it is important to know the repeat of the pattern you are considering.  The repeat can have a big impact on how much fabric you need, and what that product looks like on a sectional seating with multiple cushions compared to a single cushion.

Any type of patterned fabric will always have a repeat, and the supplier generally provides this information.

The average repeats size of a stripe is between 8” and 9″. A cushion layout needs to be planned ahead of time, for ordering the correct quantity of fabric as well as the best use of the material.

Recently we provided a few color ways to a customer in a handsome nautical stripe. We received two swatches from a supplier of the nautical pattern below; one was a navy/white/tan color way and the other was a teal/white/navy color way. The customer selected the navy/white/tan color way and when we went to order the material we were told that the pattern repeat was 16″. Ironically the teal/white/navy color way was a continuation of the navy/white/tan color way, yet with several more white stripes, which our customer did not want. Additionally, the 16″ repeat would have been extremely difficult to pattern as well as a significant amount of fabric waste for matching cushions that would sit “side by side.”  Below are two swatches sewn together to show the full repeat!

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16″ Fabric Repeat

Also, it is always wise to have your customer select not only their first choice of material for a project, but also a second choice as time between fabric selection, confirmation and you ordering materials may result in your customers #1 choice not being readily available.

Location

Determine the cushion(s) placement, will it be side-by-side, will there be a corner cushion that joins next to other cushions to form an L-Seating area?

Design of the Cushions

What will be the cushion style? Common types are: rollover designs with side bands, rollover designs with corner seams, rollover designs with baseball corners, Side bands in a contrasting stripe placement, Side bands in a solid matching fabric.

If the cushion is a banded cushion, you have three options:

Vertical Stripes

The contrast of a horizontal band to a vertical stripe on the band of the cushion actually can work nicely depending on the stripe.

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Vertical vs. Horizontal Bands

When the face of the back cushion runs vertically, your seat cushion stripes must be patterned so that the stripes match perfectly. A piping accent may be used to enhance the construction transition to a side band in the horizontal or Vertical direction and consistency should be your guide for all cushions.

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Solid Color Band

This can be your best option whether you are just getting started working with stripes, or an experienced fabricator. A solid border and band work nicely when you have a contour corner area to fabricate.

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Above is a combination of a stripe fabric insert with a solid border in a marine vinyl.

It is wise to photograph the area and then sketch or draft examples over the area for consideration to determine the best option for your material direction, project space and a budget when you are estimating time and cost; as project planning, layout and construction time can easily add up when multiple pieces are part of a large layout, as seen below.

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One of my all-time favorites is this Ralph Lauren stripe, juxtaposed for a classic and dramatic impact! Note the stripe placement on the top bands of the corner cushions.

I’m including a few photos of our projects as well as some interesting others that illustrate the variations I’ve explained above. Look around and notice the placement of stripes on cushions and pillows whenever you see them in a residential, commercial or marine project. Trust your instinct, as to what works best or do a mock-up to guarantee a winning combination.Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 2.50.53 PMThis master cabin bedcover works well with the horizontal stripe on the side banding. The border stripe on the accent pillows unites the patterns for a cohesive look.Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 2.51.03 PMThese contour cushions are sewn with the stripe as an insert and solid banding and edging on the seat cushions – found on the web – however, notice that the top left back cushion stripes do not match the seat stripe!

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An inviting aft cushion seat, seen at a recent boat show.

In the seating images below I am certain that someone spent a significant amount of time planning and fabricating these striped seat cushions. The side band makes a nice transition on the double seat with a baseball corner. The solid piping provides a clean transition to the stripe in the horizontal direction on the double seat.

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Double Seat – Horizontal Side Band, Baseball Corner, Solid Piping and Rollover Face

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However, I imagine we could all enjoy contemplating the various solutions as to our “best shot” for the corner cushion when a rollover design with this stripe was planned for the multiple seating on this yacht. Send along your thoughts, ideas and any photos you have for a similar project that you may have encountered, I’m interested and welcome your input!

May you enjoy ‘Smooth Sailing’ into Spring!


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Window treatments to WOW your customers

Terri Madden’s January/February 2016 article for Marine Fabricator Magazine.

You can browse the PDF here, or read the text version below.

This article presents  options for the perfect look and fit for those challenging Yacht windows. A bit of experience will help you; yet don’t be daunted by the encounter as just being on this page means that most likely you have already surpassed obstacles for other areas of vessels that were once demanding. Entire lines of blinds and shades are available that can be custom built for any windshield, pilot house, stateroom, galley, or any other window area that you can imagine.

You can take your experience in working with a range of fabrics and combine it beyond your scope for custom window treatments and applications from drop down roman shades to fully motorized systems, nothing is beyond your expertise. The challenge is offering solutions that appeal to your customer’s vision, space and budget. Custom window treatments made with a precise fit, distinctly enhance the value of your customers yacht interior.

There are a large variety of products in a vast assortment of colors and finishes for window treatments. There are several companies that offer services for all your blind and shade needs. No matter if you are doing the patterning, fabrication and installation or using the services of a highly trained manufacturer and installer, you need to make sure that every window treatment and component installed is of marine quality to withstand the harsh conditions of the sea.

Unique Products and Features 

Whether your project is a trapezoid, triangle, or parallelogram etc. it should be accomplished successfully to function reliably and be of exceptional appearance.

The internet is at your fingertips to source ideas, solutions and suppliers. There are numerous boat shows held throughout the U.S. as well as the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show, IBEX and the Miami International Boat Show. These events showcase current trends as well as various sources for manufacturers of window systems.

Exceed expectations with some of the most popular styles:

  • Sheers, Horizontal and Roman Shades
  • Windshield Blinds and Shades
  • Wood Blinds, Aluminum Blinds
  • Hunter Douglas products such as Silhouette, Duette, Pirouette, and Vignette
  • Honeycomb Shades
  • Pleated Shades
  • Hatch Shades and Fly Screens
  • Ocean Sheer

Options to Consider for Installation

Wire Retention System

Yacht blinds should come with a stainless steel wire retention system that prevents blinds and shades from swaying as the vessel moves. The wire itself should be coated in a Teflon clear coat that protects both the cable and blind/shade from being damaged over time.

There are two methods for securing the stainless steel wire. The first method is the deck mount. It is primarily used for inside mount window frame installations. The second method is standoffs. Standoffs are used mainly for an outside mount or out of the ordinary applications.

All wood and aluminum yacht blinds should have the stainless steel wire retention system running through the routing holes and fasten to a standoff. They are mounted directly to the frame to avoid punching extra holes for the wires. On other types of blinds, the wire might have to be placed in a different location.

Standoffs and Hold Downs 

Standoffs can be manufactured from stainless steel, teak, wood dowels, plastic, polished or unpolished aluminum, bronze or plated nickel; that can match any style you are looking for.

Having a stable standoff or hold-down is important for both blinds with either tension or wire retention systems. Standoffs can give clients an easy installation alternative when they want to install their blinds themselves. This way they can save money on installation and still have it look like it was professionally installed.

Motorization

Window Treatments use different brands of motors. Basically all window treatments can be motorized based on your clients’ needs. Motors are available for Silhouettes from Hunter Douglas. Check with an authorized dealer, familiar with a marine installation for  motors such as Somfy or Lutron motors.

Styles to Consider

Blinds and Shades

The Hunter Douglas Silhouettes (a luxury horizontal sheer) has become a popular product within the yachting community and although they are a great product, sometimes there is just not enough room to mount them. However, Poseidon Window Treatments has come up with a solution, Roller Only Ocean Sheer. Most yacht owners know that window depth can limit their selection of viable window treatments. With a roller only application you can mount beautiful blinds with a minimum of 1 7/8″ window depth.Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 2.30.39 PM.pngAbove: Ocean Sheer – Roller Only

Poseidon has over 20 years of experience manufacturing blinds and shades for the Marine Industry and they are a Hunter Douglas Dealer. Even though I have not had the opportunity to use this company personally, they advertise that their knowledge and experience allows them to adapt their products successfully to any yacht window. They can incorporate various operating systems and other applications into Hunter Douglas products. Their flexibility to fit any blind into any window, with all types of window treatments, provides clients with many options to fit their style and needs.

Writing from experience, I know installation is what really scares most fabricators. Poseidon has streamlined the installation of their blinds and shades so that anyone can install them like a professional. Their easy to mount brackets and wire retention systems are thoroughly tested and proven to be easy to use and install. Along with written instructions they can also walk you through the process on a videophone like Skype, if needed. Their website is Poseidon Window Treatments.

Roman Shades

These have always been my favorite and they have become quite popular on boats and yachts recently. Many owners request them because they give a yacht interior a very soft yet refined look. Shades can be manually operated using a pull cord or they can be easily motorized. You can offer either option to your customer as well as a wide variety of colors, patterns, and fabrics.Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 2.33.24 PMA Roman Shade from Poseidon

Honeycomb Shades

These are a very flexible product and can fit most windows, doors, windshields and hatches. They give a boat a clean look, are highly durable, easy to use and the cells come in three different sizes of ¾”, 3/8” and 9/16”. They are available in a single, double or triple honeycomb and come in a variety of opacity levels. There are over 50 fabrics and colors to choose from, to match any interior.Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 2.33.44 PM.pngAbove: Double Cell and Single Cell Honeycomb Shades

Windshield Blinds for Pilot Houses

Every yacht’s pilothouse gets hot during the day; with windshields getting blasted by the sun. Honeycomb shades, 1” wood blinds, aluminum blinds and pleated shades are options that not only keep pilothouses cool, they maximize visibility by using a top down or bottom/up system. Motorization can be added.Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 2.33.54 PMThe single most effective window treatment for a yacht interior is the covering of the windshield. Photos courtesy of Poseidon Window Treatments.Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 2.36.24 PMSome Affordable Alternatives for Unique Spaces

CloZures®

Formerly Peek-a-Boo Shutters, these are for irregular or non-opening port lights; when curtains or shades just don’t work. They offer 100% UV protection. Shutters are attached to the glass via 3M a low profile Dual Lock (a Velcro type material). They are easily removed for cleaning. Shutters are available in 3 colors: White, Sea Shell and Chocolate (room darkening). The room-darkening shutter is dark brown on the inside and white on the outside. For samples and more info contact Zarcor Solutions.

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Ocean Air 

The Ocean Air PORTSHADE is an ultra-slim cassette roller blind, suitable for even the smallest port lights. It can be used for vertical or horizontal surfaces, with the added benefit of also being well suited for curved surfaces.

The Ocean Air SKYSCREEN roller surface is a combination fly screen and shade system suitable for boats with no headlining or thin decks. It requires no recess or cavity and can be easily fitted to existing hatches. The soft edged low profile design uses low weight plastic extrusions with integrated screw covers and a simple and reliable magnetic catch system.

The Ocean Air SKYSOL is ideal for curvatures, a day or blackout pleated blind for large sunroofs.

Contact Ocean Air for a dealer near you.Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 2.37.02 PMAbove: Portshade, Skyscreen and Skysol

Many yacht owners may think that they have windows on their yachts that cannot have proper functioning blinds. As skilled Marine fabricators it is our role to offer solutions for unique shapes of windows as well as windows with a curving radius. These windows may look beautiful yet planning a system that operates reliably and matches the other blinds of the boat can be intimidating.

There is no denying the complexity of fabricating such specialty shaped blinds, but they are far from impossible. Through experience you can develop a system to offer window solutions that function properly and enhance your customers living quarters onboard their yacht…

Much success!


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Cushion security issues

Terri Madden’s September/October 2015 article for Marine Fabricator Magazine.

You can browse the PDF, or read a text version below.

I love going to boat shows, especially to investigate how all of the new boats keep their cushions attached. Traditionally cushions were snapped or screwed through boat rails and/or secured via T-nuts or spider bolts to wood bases. Now there are options like ridged plastic Velcro found in industrial supply stores; while top of the line vessels push industrial designers to design attachment options that are invisible to the viewer. Researching the names, keeping current with new components and their suitable applications may seem daunting, yet it can bring significant rewards. When your customers present a cushion installation challenge, all of the hardware options in your database can deliver a flawless and secure award-winning project.

In this article I’ll explore some of the materials you may be familiar with, while offering some upgraded information as to the brand names and many of the MFA supplier resources that can assist you in the future to fabricate cushions that stay in place during wind, rain and the high seas. For trailering a boat it is best to advise your customers to check & stow cushions if there is any chance that they will fly away. You can also offer protective covers as an upsell item that will protect and extend the life of your customer’s investment.

There are several boat manufacturers who have Forum sites on the Internet for customers to express concerns, questions and solutions that may guide you for a particular model and cushion style solution.

For my very first cushion project, my customer wanted to know exactly how many holes I was going to drill into his beautiful Birdseye woodwork to attach the 13 stud screws to hold the snap tabs on his cushions. I’m sure if I were installing the project today I would find a hidden system that would affix the cushions on board. Interior boat cushions slide and shift around as much as exterior cushions, yet the approach to adhere them may vary significantly.

Attachment Materials to Consider

  • Snaps – Traditional, yet have to be placed with 100% accuracy. Installation requires forethought as snaps on expandable vinyl without reinforcement pullout after a few removals. Drilling or installing screws into fiberglass or gel-coat requires caution and screws should include a bit of a marine sealant when setting them.
    • Always include site installation time when replacing cushions with snaps. Only a 1/16” variation from the original snap location will prohibit a cushion from fitting properly.

See photo: Snap Failure

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  • Velcro – There are different types – While each type of fiber offers its own benefits, the type of task it will be performing is the best way to make a selection. Nylon and Polyester are almost identical in appearance. The major difference between these two types is their lifespan. Nylon fasteners can open and close 10,000 times while polyester fasteners have a lifespan of 3,500 openings and closings.
  • Nylon Velcro – hook and loop fasteners provide a sturdy and reliable hold and are far and away the most common hook and loop system at a better price point.
  • Polyester Velcro – does not absorb water, is resistant to mildew and is the most resistant to ultraviolet light. Velcro hook and loop fasteners made of polyester provide a strong hold and closure. Polyester Velcro can be double or triple the cost of Nylon Velcro, yet it is my preferred choice for boats in the tropics.

Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 12.33.35 PMAbove: Velstick, Velcoins & Dual Lock

  • Velstick – A semi-rigid, high impact vinyl extrusion with Velcro Hook or Loop Tapes permanently attached. Velstick fasteners were designed and developed for those applications to rigid surfaces where speed and simplicity can be accomplished with the use of rivets, screws, etc. Designed for easy use, Velstick fasteners can be cut with scissors, drilled or punched. It is ideal for all kinds of marine use. Traditionally it is offered in 1” x 48” strips in both White and Black – Hook and Loop. It is also available in 1.75” x 48” in Black Hook thru Trivantage.

Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 12.34.16 PMCushions held in place with 2” Velcro sewn into cushion back & Velstick secured to surface.

  • Velcoins – fasteners that are available in several different diameters for lo-profile attachment points with acrylic Hook & Loop Velcro.
  • 3M™ Dual Lock™ Reclosable Fasteners – a fastener that can both durably attach and be easily separated; you get the permanency and strength of a screw with the ease and aesthetics of a hidden fastener. It is a recloseable fastener that locks into place and provides holding power 5 times stronger than conventional hook and loop.
  • Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 12.34.32 PMYKK® PowerRail® Hook & Rail SystemThis product is an engineered lightweight hook and rail system for wall and panel hanging and other applications. PowerRail hook fasteners provide superior holding strength and flexibility. I chose to include this type, even though I have yet to use it; I think it is an interesting application to securely hold large cushions to vertical surfaces. Any feedback would be appreciated.

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  • Hooks & D-Rings – traditional interior upper sofa seat cushions are held “in-place” via a snap hook on shock cord, sewn into the upper cushion and connected to a D-Ring on the lower cushion. A small hand helps when attaching these cushions.
  • Webbing with Hardware – For this windy deck we used 2” webbing with a turnbutton eyelet sewn into the cushion underside. The turnbutton post was installed underneath the wood frame. Tip: Always include sufficient installation time on your estimates/invoices as travel and installation time add up, especially when more than 1 person is required.

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  • Grommets – all sizes and even colors – an aid to secure pillows on a windy deck.

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  • Zippers – yes, they can help hold cushions that join one to another! This zipper placement was designed to prevent the neck roll from falling off the cushion or rolling forward.

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  • Keder Welt – check that you use the correct style & diameter for the track application you are installing – the flat style welt below avoids screw heads in the track. Diameters of welt and track vary so order with caution…

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  • Costa Track – is heavy-duty PVC, center-mount track. It is designed to replace flange-style track. Used for a variety of enclosures and cushion applications. It can be heat-formed to most radii and is predrilled every 4 inches. With built-in countersink for the seating of screw heads, the large channel opening allows keder welt to slide through unobstructed. Lengths are available over 8ft.

Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 12.36.59 PMAbove: Costa Track, Flange Track, Flex-A-Rail

  • Flex-A-Rail A flexible, non-corrosive, PVC extruded awning track for kedar ropes. It is a lower profile than the Costa track and it is great for twisting around corners for easy installation. You can heat it if necessary to bend. It is easy to cut with a hacksaw. Use flat or oval head screws and 3M VHB tape to help install.  It is available in White or Black.  Consider setting with a square head # 6 with a #4 screw for the best fit thru the small center opening. Track, screws and screwdriver are available through Bainbridge.

Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 12.37.35 PMCosta Track and Flex-A-Rail Installations

I’ve included most of the typical solutions and images for cushions security systems we’ve encountered here at Sand Sea and Air in Puerto Rico…and yes we’ve gained new customers when we have been called upon to replace cushions that have flown overboard when another contractor did not consider foresight. Below is a cushion challenge that incorporated track with keder welt in the bow, snap tabs at the hatch opening cushion and webbing with turnbuttons on the Port and Starboard sides. May your sea legs steadfastly carry you through your next cushion installation!

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Salon sofa upgrades

Terri Madden’s June/July 2015 article for Marine Fabricator Magazine.

Browse the PDF here, or read a text version below.

The waters of San Juan, Puerto Rico have been home to many Bertram yacht enthusiasts ever since Richard Bertram opened a 25-acre plant in 1962. I have had the good fortune to hone my skills and deliver full interior projects for several of the various models.

From the moment one steps aboard one of these classic vessels there is an appreciation as to why the Bertram 50 convertible which debuted in 1986 was dubbed ‘the slickest Bertram yet’ by Boating magazine.

The Caribbean is well known for tournament fishing and in 1995 Bertram introduced the Moppie 46, which was capable of speeds faster than 37 knots. It was well suited for fishing tournaments and cruising down-island. Simultaneously the 54’ convertible interior was redesigned whereas the classic hull was left intact “because you don’t change perfection.”*

It is no wonder that after a history of 50 years these vessels have a predominate presence on tropical waters and now a second generation of owners retrofits these vessels and our expertise is called upon to refurbish and improve upon the original seating for the safety and stability of the owners, regardless of the location or conditions out on the ocean. In this article I will detail the decisions, design changes and conclusions for fresh new looks on a sofa of a 2001 Bertram 51’ and a 1996 Bertram 50′.

My first impression from the moment I step aboard a 50’ boat doesn’t have to be my lasting impression. I delight in planning and fabricating a functional and contemporary style that maintains the integrity of the classic lines of a vessel. Collaborating with customers is sometimes like a Tango, yet it is an essential component whereby the final outcome reflects the taste of the owner. There has been an explosion of suitable marine materials in fabric, vinyl or leather that fabricators can provide for a basic as well as dramatic effect in the marine environment

Especially for the creative minds of marine fabricators…the sofa is generally the most frequently used piece of furniture on a boat and the materials particular to the class of vessel like a Bertram command an elegant statement yet they must withstand company and crew who may even ‘live aboard’ the boat. Captains generally have to provision the boat and store items under sofa cushions for get-a-ways and fishing excursions. These areas must be easily accessible yet the exterior material takes the brunt of everything from fishing poles, grocery boxes to refreshments. Yet in less than a few hours it must make a Cinderella transformation for owners and guests.

You may be contacted for a retrofit on a vessel as soon as the owner takes charge of his new boat; sometimes they don’t like the manufacturers design or the boat had been a display model. In this case the “Style” may still look current and just a change of material will suffice.

I have generally been contacted to re-do the interiors when a boat changes owners and the boat is 5-15 years old. Materials may be worn and the style look “dated”. Generally the sofa on a 50’ boat is an L-shaped design to provide maximum seating in a tight space. Currently some vessels have a rectangle sofa on each the port and starboard side. In this case your work may be less as smaller sofas can be easily transported to your shop and side-by-side alignment isn’t necessary.

This is your opportunity to improve upon the design, especially if the frame is good.

Tips:

  • Check the alignment of side-by-side pieces. It is crucial, as we almost missed making a 1” height adjustment on the factory model of the Bertram 51’.
  • Start with pictures of the sofa at every angle.
  • Measure twice for ordering materials.
  • Keep in mind the additional time required if you are removing the original material outside and inside storage areas.
  • Seat foam generally should be replaced, yet back foam may be ok to reuse with a Dacron topper.
  • Trends – visit boat shows to see the 2015-2016 designs.

Considerations:

  • Will you make design adjustments?
  • Style adjustments: Contemporary or Traditional?
  • Will you modify the existing frame, design/location/type of modifications?
  • Is the overall ‘look’ sleek, pleated or oversized?
  • Are corners pleated to save time or seams fabricated with accent topstitching?
  • What will be the cushion style: rollover fronts, banded sides, matching or contrast piping?
  • Are sofa corners with or without arms?
  • Are the seat & back cushions designed with a flat surface, or a Hi-Lo combination of foam and contours?
  • Will Memory foam toppers add comfort to the arms?
  • Surface Materials: Fabric, Vinyl or Leather?
  • Thread:  Contrast Accent of matching color – Thread size?
  • Material combinations and types of materials: pattern alignment: stripe, plaid, geometric, combinations of quilted and solid sections increase the level of difficulty.

Bertram 51’ 2001

This boat was frequently used for fishing and entertaining and the customer contacted Sand Sea and Air to replace the leather in an Ultra Leather (vinyl), as part of a complete refurbishing project.

Upon inspection it seemed odd that the sofa side arms were unusually high as well as narrow for the proportion of the sofa. The owner liked our idea to: widening the arms, lower the arms by approximately 6” and insert a memory foam topper for comfort across the top of the arms. New high-density seat foam replaced the worn out seat foam; deterioration was due to the frequent use and travel by the owner to nearby islands.  All of the seat cushions were reversible and the foam was Dacron wrapped for a plush look with a refined style.

The new contour on the arm was noted at the boat and the section was cut off from the top of the original arm frame after the original material was removed. Sampling and patterning was needed to position the material on the sofa back where it had to be “filled-in” and extended to meet the top of the new ‘lower’ arm.

Bertram 51’ Sofa: Before / In-Process PhotosScreen Shot 2016-06-29 at 12.07.28 PM.pngAttention to the final height of adjoining sections is extremely important and placing the side-by-side frames next to one another during assembly is highly recommended. As it would be very time consuming to correct adjustments on the boat once the back of the sofa is stapled and closed.

Our client was extremely pleased with the design and the comfort on the refurbished sofa sections.

See: After PhotosScreen Shot 2016-06-29 at 12.08.20 PM.png

Bertram 50’ 1996

This client grew up on a Bertram 50’ and he had fond memories of his time spent aboard. His recent purchase of a 16 year old yacht had a navy sofa that looked “old-fashioned” and he and his sophisticated wife were delighted to know that ‘the bones” of the L-shaped sofa were good and that our reputation proceeded us to transform his boat. The pillow backs that attached to the back and the arms of the frame were removed and we scheduled mock-up visits for the new design and material selections.

A rollover design was selected for the individual seat and back cushions to soften the overall appearance; whereas cushions with side bands would have looked ‘too boxy’ with the rectangle lines of the frame.

We put an extra layer of foam on the back frame and fabricated individual higher ‘pillow-back style’ cushions for more comfortable sofa seating.

Bertram 50’ Sofa: Before                                                      Sofa: Mock UpScreen Shot 2016-06-29 at 12.09.15 PMThe sloped frame on the arms was reshaped to a squared edge to match the sofa frame.

The navy leather on the original frame was replaced with beautiful and durable Sunbrella “Salt” Sailcloth that coordinated perfectly with the ”Taupe”, “Cinnamon” and “Ivory” materials on the ottomans, coffee table and dinette.

Bertram 50’ Sofa: In-processScreen Shot 2016-06-29 at 12.10.47 PMThe final dramatic sofa lines were in balance and harmony with the classic foundation of a Bertram.

You can achieve this goal on every sofa project also; no matter what the size, make or model; experience helps, do your research and trust your instinct!

Bertram 50’ Sofa: After Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 12.11.56 PM.png

*www.Bertram.com/timeline/