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2020 boat show highlights

May 1st, 2020 / By: / Interior, Shop Techniques

New trends in marine upholstery.

By Terri Madden

Marine fabricators can find the latest design innovations for marine canvas and upholstery by attending any of the top U.S. boat shows sponsored annually by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA). It is an ideal way for fabricators to glimpse the newest innovations in design, construction, equipment and technology. 

One of my favorites is the 2020 Progressive® Miami International Boat Show, which is held annually over Valentine’s Day weekend. You can spend five days learning about the latest marine trends and industry innovations by exploring hundreds of yachts and boats for every budget and lifestyle. They are exhibited both in the water and in various venues throughout the Miami Beach area, and you can examine new color trends, upholstery textiles, and wall and ceiling panels.

The Sunreef 80 catamaran was crowned “Queen” of the 2020 Progressive® Miami International Boat Show. The cabins and lounge areas include striking, yet easily accessible seating and padded wall and ceiling configurations without the massive “built-ins” of past years. Photos: Sunreef Yachts. klient: Sunreef Yachts

An adventure like this can give fabricators a sense of the renovations and repairs boat owners will be requesting a few years from now as vessels change ownership. Below are some of my favorite finds.

Queen of the show

This year, the Sunreef 80 catamaran was crowned “Queen of the Miami Show.” This vessel has classic interior areas that flow easily into one another and expansive seating and lounge areas. The design incorporates geometric units that can easily be rearranged for conversations and comfort, and the catamaran’s elongated hull allows the living spaces to be easily reconfigured based on the number of guests. Unlike the massive “built-ins” of years past, the easily accessible seating and wall panels will be a welcome sight for fabricators when they have an opportunity to replace them. Even the cabins boast impressive padded sectional wall and ceiling configurations that bring harmony to these areas. It is certainly a jewel in a sea of competition.

Jet boat

The 2020 Scarab 285 ID is the largest recreational “jet boat” on the market. It is designed with wide and comfortable forward-facing seating that features an adjustable backrest that can easily enlarge port and starboard U-shaped seating along the aft areas. The bow seating is spacious, the multifunctional cushions have a sporty feel, and the clever cushion configurations allow cushions to fold into a head- or backrest combination and also provide cooler and storage space. Fabricators should keep this model on their radar for custom upgrades for marine flooring such as SeaDek® and Gatorstep, overhead sun protection from a bimini or cockpit shade, and storage covers.

The 2020 Scarab 285 ID (left and above) is designed with wide and comfortable forward-facing seating. Fabricators may see requests for custom upgrades in marine flooring, overhead sun protection from a bimini or cockpit shade and storage covers. Photos: Scarab Jet Boats.

Cruiser drama

The De Antonio D42 Cruiser has a futuristic white hull from bow to stern, which allows vast areas of sunlight to contrast with the dramatic yet simple seating. It was designed with seating frames and stark cushion construction on both the bow and stern that mirror the sleek geometric contours of the hull. Rollover or hi-lo cushions are nonexistent. The monotone seating features saturated fabric tones from Morbern’s Sundance collection accented by topstitching on “boxy” cushions that use extra-firm foam to maintain their shape to complement the lines of the boat. As the sun takes its toll, replacement cushion covers should be easy to replicate in the future. 

The De Antonio D42 Cruiser (left) was designed with saturated fabric tones from Morbern’s Sundance collection accented by topstitching on “boxy” cushions that use extra-firm foam to maintain their shape. Photo: De Antonio Yachts.

Luxury yacht

The Lexus LY 650 by Marquis Yachts is a 65-foot yacht that is an impressive and creative blend of technology and high-quality craftsmanship. Three lavish staterooms complement the multipurpose entertainment and lounge areas. The comfortable interior living space can be easily reconfigured in common areas to suit the guests on board. These modular units allow fabricators easy access to furniture that traditionally required considerable disassembly prior to refurbishing.

The Lexus LY 650 by Marquis Yachts has lavish staterooms that complement the multipurpose entertainment and lounge areas. Photo: Marquis Yachts.

The yacht features an optional two-tone color scheme with metallic accents on the bow, side windows and the vessel’s L-shaped air intakes. The attractive upholstered panels on the main walls, which provide soundproofing, could test fabricators’ skills for future access when a new owner prefers a color or texture change.

Sourcing and product updates 

Bainbridge is offering bolster clips for upholstered cockpit bumpers and rigid hi-lo Velcro® discs for holding cushions in place. As the demand for cockpit shades on powerboats has increased, Bainbridge has had a good response to its new carbon-fiber sunshade poles at a very competitive price. 

Fresco vinyl from Spradling® has pigments that reflect much of the heat in direct sunlight, keeping it cooler to the touch than standard marine vinyl. Photo: Spradling Intl. Inc.

Cool Feel vinyl, also called Fresco vinyl from Spradling®, continues its popularity. Offered since 2016 on MasterCraft boats, it has pigments that reflect much of the heat in direct sunlight, keeping it cooler to the touch than standard marine vinyl. Easy care instructions are essential to follow to maintain the longevity and cooling properties of this vinyl. It is manufactured in a “pebble grain” texture by Spradling in seven neutral color tones at a price point similar to Ultraleather®. Black is the most popular color for the cool-chill technology. Fresco vinyl is also available from The Miami Corporation.

Common elements

Summing up my 2020 boat show experience, the common elements in marine decor trends were metallic tones of silver, gold, bronze, iron and stainless steel complemented by amber, ivory and blue. These jewel tones were the color palettes used individually or in combination for most of the new vessels described in this article. Seating areas were modular units designed to form flexible geometric configurations and were upholstered with natural finishes predominately in trend-setting textiles combined with vinyl seating. These materials were saturated in solid tone-on-tone palettes with textures used as accents. The harmony of tones and textures softens the glare of the sun and the sea, is soothing to the eye and encourages relaxation and comfort on the water. 

Terri Madden owns Sand Sea & Air Interiors Inc. in San Juan, Puerto Rico. www.sandseaair.com

SIDEBAR: Diamond stitching in demand

Photo: Intrepid Powerboats

Diamond stitching continues to be a popular request for exterior seating cushions, and it continues to challenge fabricators who are using this technique for rectangles and contours and for matching sectional corner cushions. The machine quilting on this Intrepid powerboat, especially around the logo area, is impressive.