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2020 MFA Fabrication Excellence Awards

March 1st, 2020 / By: / Awards, Feature, MFA Excellence Awards

Sponsored by the Marine Fabricators Association (MFA), the Fabrication Excellence Awards contest is designed to recognize excellence in marine fabrication. The entries are displayed throughout the MFA’s Marine Fabricators Conference and are judged by a panel of certified marine professionals. Awards of Excellence and Outstanding Achievement Awards are given in each category.

The MFA recognizes two Awards of Distinction, chosen from the Award of Excellence winners. All winners receive a press release and a plaque. All of the winning projects, including photos and descriptions, are available on the MFA website, www.marinecanvas.com, and at www.marinefabricatormag.com.


Travel/Full Covers

Award of Excellence

Lake Shore Boat Top Co. Inc.
390 MTI Off Shore—“Silver Bullet”

Designer: Rob Kotowski
Fabricators: Rob Kotowski, Gregory Phillips
Project Manager: Rob Kotowski
Installers: Rob Kotowski, Renee Pruett
Materials: Sunbrella® by Glen Raven Custom Fabrics LLC, SolarFix® thread by Solar Fix, Stamoid® by Serge Ferrari North America Inc.

Project Description: This project involved creating a cockpit cover to protect this stunning 390 MTI while in rack storage. The customer wanted the cover to have a sleek, stylish look that would be the envy of all when it was pulled out of the water or sitting in its slip at the dock. The cover needed to match the stylish paint job while also protecting the upholstery from dirt and the possibility of oil dripping from other boats while in storage. The complex part of this project was that after completing the Sunbrella Concord cover, the windshield was marked to sew in pieces of Silver Stamoid. Trying to get the mock-up windshield inserts to lie perfectly and be at just the right location was a difficult task given the shaping darts running up the center of the windshield. The final result was a slick new cockpit cover that blended with every aspect of the boat. The flawless design, down to the fitted inlaid windshield, made this a top-notch project.

Lake Shore Boat Top Co. Inc.
St. Clair Shores, Mich.
www.lakeshoreboattop.com 

Outstanding Achievement 

Marine Tops Unlimited
Center Console Full Travel Cover

Designer: Kyle Van Damme
Project Manager: Carl Van Damme
Materials: Softtouch® by Marlen Textiles

Project Description: This customer regularly trailers his new center console from the Midwest to Florida and was looking for a cover that could be put on the boat for travel purposes to protect it and keep it clean. The cover had to be durable enough to hold up to a lot of highway trailering and not scratch or rub on any surfaces of the boat. The black Softtouch protected the boat from the elements and provided a soft layer to prevent the cover from wearing on any components of the boat. Fabric was also attached to the areas of the trailering straps where they could possibly rub against any parts of the hull. Designing and fabricating a cover that will be used frequently and at highway speeds means ensuring the longevity of the cover, protecting the boat from the elements, and ensuring that the cover itself won’t cause damage to the fiberglass and other components of the boat. The customer really loved the final result and followed up with a request for a low-profile design solution to cover the hard top for trailering as well.

Marine Tops Unlimited
Omro, Wis.
www.marinetops.com

Outstanding Achievement 

Sewlong Custom Covers
Centurion Tower Down Cinch Cover
Designer, Fabricator and Installer: Clint Halladay
Materials: Top Notch® by Marlen Textiles

Project Description: This tower down cinch cover was designed for trailering and light storage. It allowed the client to trailer the boat with the tower in the downward position and also to store the boat with the cover on with the tower in the downward position. The towboat industry is constantly evolving and changing tower designs year after year to make the towers easier to fold for clearance in garages, bridges and for transport. This cinch cover allows the boater to put the tower down and cover it while transporting the boat. Canvex® was used to pattern the boat, PhotoModeler to digitize the pattern, Rhino CAD to prepare the pattern for production and a ProSail plotter to output the pattern to the fabric. The final result was a nice, form-fitting cover to be used while traveling to and from the lake.

Sewlong Custom Covers
Salt Lake City, Utah
www.sewlong.com


Tops

 Award of Excellence

Charlton’s Marine Canvas
Sheer Delight

Designer, Fabricator and Installer: Mike Charlton
Materials: Weblon Regatta® by Herculite®, SolarFix® thread by Solar Fix

Project Description: The project was a sexy banded top for a customer who wanted more shade on the aft end for relaxing on those hot sunny days. The project was a collaboration with a local metal fabricator and good friend. The intent was to work together and have collaborative input happen throughout the project so the entire banded top and framework would flow and work completely together with the lines of this beautiful boat. In the end, this top came out beautifully and exceeded the customer’s expectations.

Charlton’s Marine Canvas
Yorktown, Va.
www.charltonsmarinecanvas.com


Sailboat Dodgers

 Award of Excellence

Charlton’s Marine Canvas
Sailing Uma

Designer, Fabricator and Installer: Mike Charlton
Materials: Sunbrella® by Glen Raven Custom Fabrics LLC, Strataglass by Strataglass LLC, SolarFix® thread by Solar Fix

Project Description: This project was a California dodger designed with one-of-a-kind spray wings to give the customer an updated and creative look while also having a better functioning dodger. In particular, the client wanted extra protection from the horizontal water spray experienced by the boat’s occupants while on the water. This project was unique because of where the traveler was located. It required a zero-effort quick-release shackle with a cord sewn into the aft edge of the dodger spray wings that would automatically release the shackle if the traveler were to come into contact with the spray wings. Also, the canvas was fabricated so that no fasteners were visible from the outside, which provides a much cleaner and professional look. The final project came out beautifully. The aft spray wings’ quick-release system worked flawlessly, and the customer was very pleased.

Charlton’s Marine Canvas
Yorktown, Va.
www.charltonsmarinecanvas.com


Powerboat—Soft Enclosures

 Award of Excellence

David’s Custom Trimmers
Go-Fast 

Designer and Project Manager: David Elliott
Fabricators and Installers: David Elliott, Aaron Stumer
Materials: VALMEX® Lodge de Luxe by Mehler Texnologies, Makrolon® AR2 by Bayer Corp., Strataglass by Strataglass LLC, Gore® Tenara® thread by W.L. Gore & Associates Inc.

Project Description: The project was a new front and rear enclosure system, including a rear-suspended awning, a full one-piece wraparound windscreen cover and a front deck daybed on this 43-foot go-fast boat. The perfection-minded customers wanted their new enclosure to be as user friendly and waterproof as possible, with a simplistic design and clean lines. They also wanted some form of aft shade for use in all conditions, including being left up while motoring, and a comfortable daybed and headrest. This was a world-first use for this fabric in the marine field. It shows huge potential with a polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) outer coating and an acrylic lacquer inside coating, which makes it easy to clean with long-lasting potential for isolating atmospheric pollutants. Particular attention was paid to minimizing the gaps in the joining areas between the roof sections and windows, and covering all external and internal zippers, including the bimini-attaching zippers, to minimize water ingress. The owners were stunned with the attention to detail, the uncluttered clean finish, and with how easily the inside wipes clean.

David’s Custom Trimmers
Wakerly, Queensland, Australia
www.davestrimmers.com

Outstanding Achievement 

Charlton’s Marine Canvas
MY44 Fountaine Pajot

Designer, Fabricator and Installer: Mike Charlton
Materials: Sunbrella® by Glen Raven Custom Fabrics LLC, 60-gauge Strataglass by Strataglass LLC, SolarFix® thread by Solar Fix

Project Description: This Fountaine Pajot flybridge enclosure was a replacement for the client’s brand-new canvas on his three-month-old boat. The existing canvas was not up to basic standards and had many issues. The first thing the customer requested was straight stitching, which he was going to have a critical eye on. He also wanted covers over all the zippers to stop water from coming in and the glass and fabric to be flat and smooth with no wrinkles. This customer’s primary concern was to correct the existing problems. The project required travel from Virginia to New York City to pattern the job because the client was always on the move.  A week later, he arrived in Virginia for an early morning installation so he could continue his journey. This entire enclosure was track to track, so being off in the slightest was not acceptable. The end result was a very happy customer and a very stylish enclosure.

Charlton’s Marine Canvas
Yorktown, Va.
www.charltonsmarinecanvas.com


Powerboat—Rigid Enclosures

Award of Excellence

Charlton’s Marine Canvas
Just Cruisin

Designer, Fabricator and Installer: Mike Charlton
Materials: Sunbrella® Plus and Coastguard® by Glen Raven Custom Fabrics LLC, 60-gauge Strataglass by Strataglass LLC, SolarFix® thread by Solar Fix

Project Description: The goal of this project was to make this bimini with a full upper enclosure and a full lower aft cockpit enclosure more functional while updating the aesthetics to make the boat look newer and more up to date. One of the main challenges in this enclosure was hiding as many fasteners as possible to enhance the appearance of the project. All of the U-zippers swing up and attach flat to the ceiling for airflow when needed. The doorways were also challenging, as the path through them was quite narrow, and easy access was important. The design makes only two zippers necessary for opening the doorways, and the bottom half of the door can be completely removed for even easier access. This project came together nicely. Everything functioned as it needed to, and it definitely updated the look of this boat.

Charlton’s Marine Canvas
Yorktown, Va.
www.charltonsmarinecanvas.com

Outstanding Achievement 

Chicago Marine Canvas
Carver Voyager Flybridge

Materials: BreakWater X by Safety Components Inc., Piedmont Marine Grade® AquaGlas® by Piedmont Plastics

Project Description: The project was a forward and aft enclosure on a Carver Voyager Flybridge yacht, and both areas had unique designs. For the forward area, the customer did not like having to unfasten snaps to the windshield, so the windows were designed to unzip and fold directly up without having to touch a snap. The three forward panels were all connected with canvas on the bottom, but the center window can be removed from the group of three via keder track on top. This configuration added to the level of difficulty. For the aft area, the client wanted to have the lower section of windows be independent of the upper and be able to remain installed when the upper section is fully removed. This was accomplished by adding straps that are attached to a railing to the upper portion of the lower windows. The client also wanted the center aft window to split in multiple places so it could be folded down in two stages rather than folded up. This was a challenging project that turned out great!

Chicago Marine Canvas
Chicago, Ill.
www.chicagomarinecanvas.com


Marine Miscellaneous

 Award of Excellence

Coastal Coverings
Reefsleep

Designer: Lesley Magill, Journey Beyond
Fabricator: Tom Storrie
Subcontractor: Oscar Solares, BME
Project Manager: Paul Gibson
Installer: Joel Reynolds
Materials: Sunbrella® Plus and Sunbrella binding by Glen Raven Custom Fabrics LLC, PVC mesh by Nolan Group, Gore® Tenara® thread by W.L. Gore & Associates Inc.

Project Description: The Reefsleep project is permanently moored on the Great Barrier Reef and is a queen-size bed base of pressed aluminium sheet enclosed with marine acrylic canvas to provide a daybed lounge and luxury overnight accommodations in one compact unit. The bed contains a complex zipper system that allows it to be used for multiple functions. A waterproof canvas cover slips over the latex-topped mattress to create a sunbed with shade options during the day. A screened mesh enclosure zips out for a bug-free night’s sleep with the option of a waterproof outer shell to keep out any uninvited weather. The remote location of this project made its delivery and execution difficult. The project has to maintain its structural integrity and be used 365 days a year in a full marine environment. Twelve Reefsleep units were created for the client and installed on a unique floating hotel on the Great Barrier Reef. The client now has a patent pending on the Reefsleep design and is planning to extend the operation to other locations.

Coastal Coverings
Smithfield, Queensland, Australia
www.coastalcoverings.com.au

Outstanding Achievement 

Charlton’s Marine Canvas
Distant Drummer Chaps

Designer, Fabricator and Installer: Mike Charlton
Materials: Sunbrella® by Glen Raven Custom Fabrics LLC, PVC18 Vinyl Coated Polyester by Manart-Hirsch Co., SolarFix® thread by Solar Fix

Project Description: The main objective of this project was protecting the dinghy ribs from sunlight. The customer requested that these dinghy chaps have many storage compartments and be very durable. He is a U.S. Marine currently in the military and likes to put his products to the test. The chaps were designed with two colors to give them a creative and dynamic look. The black reinforcing materials on top accommodate the wear and tear from people sitting on top. The black materials on the inner sides are mesh bags for storage of paddles and other miscellaneous items. The end result was a very happy customer and some attractive dinghy chaps that are built to last.

Charlton’s Marine Canvas
Yorktown, Va.
www.charltonsmarinecanvas.com


Marine Interior Upholstery

 Award of Excellence

Coastal Coverings
Zulu Assegai 55

Designer, Project Manager and Installer: Paul Gibson
Fabricator: Paul Hillier
Materials: Tennant Plus by Wortley & Tasman Leather, Combustion modified foam by Joyce Foam Products

Project Description: The Zulu is a commercial game fishing charter vessel. The owners wanted to increase the level of comfort and luxury for their clients to enjoy during extended charters. This included re-covering and rebuilding the corner lounge and side sofa, adding drawers under the lounges to accommodate plenty of storage, and incorporating hidden storage behind the backrests to store fishing rod racks and holders. Given the high traffic, longevity was a must and required commercial leather and the right density profiled foams stitched with polytetra fluoroethylene (PTFE) threads throughout. A challenge was that the Zulu was available for only a very short turnaround due to prebooked charters. The client wanted the luxury refit in a time frame that would not interrupt business. A team effort resulted in a successful four-day fit out. This client is a repeat customer with a fleet of game fishing vessels requiring the highest standards and reliable turnarounds. 

Coastal Coverings
Smithfield, Queensland, Australia
www.coastalcoverings.com.au 

Outstanding Achievement 

Lake Shore Boat Top Co.
510 Sea Ray—“No Red Wine Allowed!”

Designers: Rob Kotowski, Bob Kotowski
Fabricators: Rob Kotowski, Rick Flint, Bob Kotowski, Gregory Phillips
Project Managers: Rob Kotowski, Rick Flint
Installers: Rob Kotowski, Renee Pruett, Jacob Koch, Gregory Phillips
Materials: LuxHide II by Luxury Fabrics Inc., SolarFix® thread by Solar Fix

Project Description: The clients wanted to put their personal touch on this four-year-old boat. The original interior was a tan/beige combination, and the customers wanted to go with bright white upholstery throughout. The salon dinette had nine pieces of upholstery, including a small ottoman. The helm seat was a double passenger seat with many mechanical parts. The lower station included another large couch with ottoman and an additional 10 pieces of upholstery. One of the unique parts of this project was all the detailed sewing to replicate a similar upholstery project the clients had seen. There was a great deal of double-stitch French seaming, and many pieces required sew-in foam backing to allow for more of a plush look with the leather fabric. The removal and installation of the captain seat was a true nightmare; many screws were stripped in the effort. The results of this project were amazing. The updated upholstery made this boat look larger and brighter. No red wine allowed here! 

Lake Shore Boat Top Co. Inc.
St. Clair Shores, Mich.
www.lakeshoreboattop.com


Marine Exterior Upholstery

 Award of Excellence

Overboard Designs
Ocean Express Interior Renovation

Designer: Cibele Aisquith
Fabricator: Jose Acosta
Project Manager: Gisele Ziobrowski
Installer: Fabio Araujo

Project Description: The project was to get rid of the old bulky interior and build a completely new cockpit structure engineered with an up-to-date design that would comfortably accommodate more lounging and seating areas. The project included designing with foam packs, patterning and upholstering with a wild color scheme and fun, intricate designs that matched the exterior of the boat. A large sunpad was built and installed over the motor compartment with easy-to-access steps. Diamond stitching by Automated Stitching was used heavily throughout this interior, including factory embroideries stitched onto all the headrests. The project was finished with faux teak flooring installed in the main cockpit area and on various steps for nonskid purposes. The interior turned out stunning! The design is fun and exciting, yet timeless and suitable for the boat style and brand. The rich layout offers safe seating for seven while also allowing room for socializing between the seats.

Overboard Designs
Buford, Ga.
www.overboarddesigns.com

Outstanding Achievement 

Canvasworks Inc.
Reupholster and AquaTraction flooring on a Moomba Mobius LSV
Design and Project Manager: Duane Smith Jr.
Fabricators: Duane Smith Jr., Duane Smith III, Jackie Lueck, Sarah Heintz
Installers: Joe Vail, Kelly Parsons
Materials: Seabrook by Morbern®, AquaTraction by AquaTraction Advanced Marine Flooring

Project Description: This project involved a full reupholster of a Moomba Mobius LSV. The customer also wanted to have the flooring replaced with AquaTraction marine flooring instead of marine carpeting to modernize the look and upgrade its durability. The client wanted to replace the current sun-damaged upholstery and the old carpet with a modern look since buying a new boat was cost prohibitive. Additional requests included a center walkway in the swim deck and a center seat step to protect the new upholstery from traffic in and out of the boat. Getting rid of the exterior carpet on the walkways while leaving the carpet in place in the compartments was an unusual challenge. Using the Prodim Proliner made it possible to accurately measure the area where the AquaTraction would replace the carpet, resulting in a perfect fit and a very happy client.

Canvasworks Inc.
Cokato, Minn.
www.canvasworksincmn.com

Outstanding Achievement 

Marine Tops Unlimited
Midnight Express 39cc Makeover

Designer: Kyle Van Damme
Project Manager: Carl Van Damme

Project Description: The customer wanted a completely new design that would include changing, moving, adding and eliminating seams, new foam in areas, embroidery and plenty of diamond stitching. The client wanted the redesign to mimic some of the designs of the new models of this boat, which made things tricky. This required the use of new foam in some areas and totally redesigning the foam profile of some seats to make the new design work throughout the boat. The large amount of diamond stitching in this project was all created in-house. In some ways, the client was very specific and picky about things he wanted, while also expecting brand-new, exciting design ideas that fit his expectations. With a total redesign, it can be challenging to make the spatial aesthetics of the boat feel correct with the right amount of colors, textured vinyls, etc. in just the right places. Ultimately, the design was a complete success, and the customer was very pleased with the end result!

Marine Tops Unlimited
Omro, Wis.
www.marinetops.com

Outstanding Achievement 

B’s Kustom Kreations
Classy Cig

Designer, Fabricator, Project Manager and Installer: Bryan Lute
Subcontractor: Tammy Scott, Twisted Threads
Materials: Shock Thunder Vinyl by Morbern®, Trexx Met MQ by Spradling,

Project Description: The project was to update and change the colors of the existing cockpit upholstery. The client wanted to keep the design simple and classy, but still have a wow factor. There were a few undecided design ideas that worked themselves out and fell into place as the project went along. A small redesign and rebuild needed to be done on the hatch, as it was originally much higher in the front than the client liked. The design also included some tweaks on the side panels and rear seat upholstery. One challenge was to make sure the colors played off each other just right in certain areas to keep a proper balance and to make sure they flowed throughout the cockpit. Another challenge was getting the embroidery on the hatch bordered and sewn in properly so it was centered and correctly proportioned. The client was pleased with the finished product and plans to have the cabin area reupholstered to match. The boat was showcased at the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout, and the interior received many compliments.

B’s Kustom Kreations
Jefferson City, Mo.
www.bkkllc.com