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2021 MFA Fabrication Excellence Awards

March 1st, 2021 / By: / 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 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 an award plaque to celebrate their achievements. All of the winning projects, including photos and descriptions, are available on the MFA website, www.marinecanvas.com, and at www.marinefabricatormag.com.


 Powerboat—Rigid Enclosures

Award of Excellence

Charlton’s Marine Canvas
Leopard 39
Designer, Fabricator and Installer: Mike Charlton

Materials: Docril® by Docril Fabrics® LLC, SolarFix® thread by Solar Fix, Makrolon® by Plaskolite Inc., O’Sea® polished 40-gauge vinyl by Continental

Project Description: This project was a full upper and lower enclosure designed to give the customer more living space when the weather is iffy. The primary challenge was connecting the upper enclosure to the lower and having them flow together as one. The upper portion is rigid polycarbonate and the lower is 40-gauge flexible vinyl. All of the lower enclosure has a full set of attachable screens to block out the sun when needed. The final product turned out well and the customer was very happy.

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

Outstanding Achievement

Lake Shore Boat Top Co. Inc.
420 Sea Ray Sundancer—”What a View!”
Designer: Rob Kotowski

Fabricators: Rob Kotowski, Gregory Phillips, Renee Pruett

Installers: Rob Kotowski, Renee Pruett, Gregory Phillips

Materials: Sunbrella® by Glen Raven Custom Fabrics LLC, Piedmont Marine Grade® AquaGlas® by Piedmont Plastics®, SolarFix® thread by Solar Fix, YKK Zippers by YKK®

Project Description: This project consisted of replacing the OEM factory canvas on this 420 Sea Ray Sundancer. To modernize the look, the original five windows on the front enclosure were transformed by a new sleek design into three large windows, which were nearly 9 feet long when complete. These windows are all bonded, which provides a watertight enclosure. The rear canvas is a standard aft slant enclosure. The customer did not want any windows in the rear. From inside the boat, it literally looks like there are no windows installed on the front enclosure at all. This design provides the customer maximum clarity with no obstructions to the view. The customer wanted his boat to stand out from other boats in the harbor. This unusual three-piece front window set is an innovative approach, and the customer loved it. This new design makes a statement!  

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


Hybrid Enclosures

 Award of Excellence

Mike’s Marine Custom Canvas
Formula—Full Enclosure

Designer: Mike Johnson

Fabricator: Faith Thomas

Installer: Dan Johnson

Materials: Sunbrella® by Glen Raven Custom Fabrics LLC, Polycarb UV, Strataglass by Strataglass LLC, YKK Zippers by YKK®

Project Description: The client wanted to clean up the look and function of the existing enclosure with a better formed fit and a design that eliminated leaks and blind spots. To provide a clear panoramic view from the captain’s helm, four vertical zippers were eliminated from the forward part of the enclosure. All the panels attach to a 35-foot flap with zippers and Velcro® around the top perimeter of the hardtop. The forward center panel swings up to the hardtop without having to mess with the bottom fasteners, thanks to a zipper installed above the snaps for the windshield, allowing easy access to the bow. The aft part of the enclosure was very challenging because of the tight radius of the track in the corner of the hardtop. The previous enclosure caused constant leaking from the top. The redesigned five-piece flap overlaps and shingles seamlessly to shed water. For the enclosure, everything is oversized and doesn’t fit on stock material. The center aft panel is made out of three pieces of Strataglass, and the rear entryway door is 14 feet long. The customer was very pleased with the result.

Mike’s Marine Custom Canvas
Virginia Beach, Va.
www.mikesmarinecanvas.com

Outstanding Achievement

Lake Shore Boat Top Co. Inc.
36-Foot Tiara Flybridge Enclosure—”Rigid Style”

Designer: Rob Kotowski

Fabricators: Rob Kotowski, Gregory Phillips, Renee Pruett, Andrew Adas,
Phyllis Gielow

Installers: Gregory Phillips, Renee Pruett, Andrew Adas

Materials: Stamoid by Serge Ferrari North America Inc., Makrolon® by Plaskolite Inc., 60-gauge Strataglass by Strataglass LLC, SolarFix® thread by Solar Fix

Project Description: This bridge enclosure started with a new skin top laced onto the boat’s aluminum structure. At nearly 16 feet long, significant heat was required to stretch the fabric so it would be under the correct tension to install. The front bridge windows are rigid panels attached using a “track to track” application to the top rail. The lower windows were installed using track to the bottom of the rail and track to the bottom of the fiberglass. The tops and bottoms of the panels were separated so the client could more easily clean, install and remove the rigid panels. The side windows slide on track and also roll up and pin to the roof of the structure. Two rear panels across the back provide ventilation and ease of removal, and give the customer a “glass view” at the rear of the boat. 

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

Outstanding Achievement

Lake Shore Boat Top Co. Inc.
480 Sea Ray Sedan Rigid Bridge Enclosure

Designer: Rob Kotowski

Fabricators: Rob Kotowski, Gregory Phillips

Installer: Rob Kotowski

Materials: Stamoid by Serge Ferrari North America Inc., 60-gauge Strataglass by Strataglass LLC, Piedmont Marine Grade® AquaGlas® by Piedmont Plastics®, SolarFix® thread by Solar Fix, YKK Zippers by YKK®

Project Description: This yacht enclosure for a 480 Sea Ray Sedan Bridge was fabricated using CAD design to provide the customer with a clear view and a watertight enclosure that allows for ventilation on the bridge. The “track to track” design allows tension to be applied to the windows so they can be secured without button fasteners. Using a plotter cutter, the windows were cut to exact size along with the curved shaping strips needed to fabricate this enclosure during the bonding process. The forward enclosure was built with 80 mil high-impact AquaGlas acrylic. The bonded enclosure met the customer’s requirements for a watertight enclosure. To provide ventilation, the front window and the port and starboard bridge windows can be retracted and attached to the hardtop. Rear enclosure ventilation is provided by the center window U-Zip opening, which can be rolled up or retracted to the hardtop.

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


Sailboat Dodgers

Award of Excellence

Charlton’s Marine Canvas
Whitby 42 Dodger

Designer, Fabricator and Installer: Mike Charlton

Materials: Docril® by Docril Fabrics® LLC, Seaquest marine vinyl by Nassimi LLC, Makrolon® by Plaskolite Inc., SolarFix® thread by Solar Fix

Project Description: This client requested a dodger that had a lot of unobstructed views. The client also wanted to be able to remove the enclosure and leave the top on. This dodger was unique because of the lack of obstructions looking through or at the dodger. The framework had to be designed to flow with the fabric and mostly be hidden from the outside view. This was a fun project to work on.

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


Sailboat Enclosures

 Award of Excellence

Charlton’s Marine Canvas
Morgan 41

Designer, Fabricator and Installer: Mike Charlton

Materials: Docril® by Docril Fabrics® LLC, O’Sea® polished 40-gauge vinyl by Continental, SolarFix® thread by Solar Fix

Project Description: The project was a Morgan 41 center cockpit enclosure. This client requested a better viewing area with fewer panels and zippers to deal with. This project was designed to update the look of this boat and bring it into 2020. The forward three panels are rigid polycarbonate with the forward center being able to swing up and attach to the top. All other panels are 40-gauge vinyl to roll up for airflow and easy sailing.

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


Marine Interior Upholstery

 Award of Excellence

Alfred’s Upholstery & Co.
Dash and Helm Pod Cover

Fabricator: Rebecca Delano

Installer: Lyman-Morse Boatbuilding Inc.

Designer: Stephens Waring Yacht Design

Materials: Ultraleather® by Ultrafabrics® Inc.

Project Description: The client requested both a wrapped helm pod and dash cover with the influence of a hot rod and a seamless glovebox. The challenge and innovation involved in this project was exciting and rewarding. Creating a seamless glove box was of the utmost importance to the client, and that goal was achieved.

Alfred’s Upholstery & Co
Alfred, Maine
www.alfredsupholstery.com

Outstanding Achievement

Chicago Marine Canvas
1964 Chris Craft Constellation Restoration

Materials: Sunbrella® by Glen Raven Custom Fabrics LLC, Various by Morbern®, Supple Bone by Pindler, Better Than Teak II by Infinity Luxury Woven Vinyl

Project Description: The project was a complete restoration of the interior of a 1964 Chris Craft Constellation 57-foot yacht. This included interior carpeting, four mattress covers and headboards, a four-piece galley seating area, a three-piece sectional custom couch, two ottomans reupholstered, a five-piece aft hallway bench and two helm seats (eight pieces total) with helm bench and backrest. The sheer size of the project was challenging, but the most challenging part was designing the custom sectional couch to get it through the passageway from the upper helm, which was 2 feet wide by 4 feet tall. The sectional pieces were fabricated in two pieces each. The couch frame was assembled first at the shop and then on the yacht, then brought back for upholstering. The sectional was fully assembled, disassembled and reassembled back onboard. The overall design theme reflected the yacht’s original time period with a modern touch. Each piece was given luxury detail and attention such as top and double needle stitching to add elegance and style. 

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

Outstanding Achievement

Interiors by Dawn
Modern Cozy Cabin

Designer and Fabricator: Dawn Novotny

Installers: Dawn Novotny and team

Materials: Caliber Iron and Marlin Ivory by Spradling International Inc.®,
Vibe Cornerstone by Nassimi LLC, AquaMat® AquaWeave® Black Pearl
by Corinthian Marine

Project Description: This Sea Ray cabin redesign consisted of creating a modern, timeless space to complement the exterior redesign. The project included a new bed, bedding, bolster cushions, main lounge, aft lounge and carpet runner. The main lounge is a two-tone design with a woven vinyl, Vibe Cornerstone on the backrest, and Spradling Caliber Iron vinyl on the cushion for a soft leatherlike feel. The textured gray continues around the sleeping area, with new tailored bedding and added pillows to complete the design. For the aft lounge, a light color balances out the spaces using Spradling Marlin Ivory, which left a soft neutral area allowing accent pillows to pull color. The design is completed with a woven AquaMat Black Pearl carpet bound in the textured gray vinyl to match. This project stands out from others because working with this client allowed for creative freedom in the design process, which reflects both the desired style of the client and the spirit of the intended design.

Interiors by Dawn
Gansevoort, N.Y.
www.interiorsbydawn.net


Marine Exterior Upholstery

 Award of Excellence

B’s Kustom Kreations
36-Foot Spectre Cat

Designer, Fabricator and Installer: Bryan Lute

Materials: Sunbrella® Horizon Capriccio by Glen Raven Custom Fabrics LLC, Shock Thunder Adrenaline Collection by Morbern®

Project Description: The client wanted bucket seats and rear seats recovered, custom-built headrests added to the rear row, and the upper side panels recovered. The top stitching was blue with a gray outline. Diamond designs were stiched onto the seats. Seat inserts were in a blue stitch. The client was looking for custom work from a reputable shop. This project was different from others in design and required an elegant, classy look.

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

Outstanding Achievement

Even Keel Canvas LLC
All Intrepid

Designer, Fabricator and Installer: Whitney Carman

Materials: Nautolex by OMNOVA Solutions

Project Description: The client wanted to update this 2012 Intrepid to a current style. The project included adjustments to the template, rebuilding the foam, and changing the design of the helm seat, all forward seating and gunwales. This project included several firsts: quilting, redesign on a helm and the curved angled backrests were tricky. Getting the look of the double diamonds wrapping the backs on the forward seating required adding a purposeful split. After curving it, the design was drawn in with stitching and the points on the diamonds were hand-tied. Many of these pieces involved tons of planning. Difficulties were expected and everything required close attention. Surprisingly, most of these panels went together with very few problems.

Even Keel Canvas LLC
El Segundo, Calif.
www.evenkeelcanvas.com

Outstanding Achievement

Interiors by Dawn
Classic Modern Sea Ray

Designer, Fabricator and Installer: Dawn Novotny

Materials: Zander Brilliant White and Simtex Zeus Black by Spradling International Inc.®, Gore® Tenara® thread by W.L. Gore & Associates Inc., AquaMat® AquaWeave® Solar Surfstone by Corinthian Marine

Project Description: This Sea Ray redesign was about creating a classic, modern design with a sleek look and luxury feel. This project started with the classic, timeless look of white using Spradling’s Zander Brilliant White, a go-to marine vinyl line because of its softness and ease of care and maintenance. Square diamond pattern stitching was used to reflect a more modern, clean look while adding in comfort and luxury style. For textures, Spradling’s Black Simtex has a minimal texture to bring life to the neutral color while creating a sleek look. The material selections fit the client’s lifestyle, emphasizing ease of maintenance, durability and longevity. The vinyl is backed with sew foam with antimicrobial treatment. The white and black modern, classic look of this boat stands out as a favorite from 2020. 

Interiors by Dawn
Gansevoort, N.Y.
www.interiorsbydawn.net


Travel/Full Covers

 Award of Excellence

Canvas Experts Inc.
Blackout

Designers: Michael Varga, Ed Kime

Fabricator: Michael Varga

Installers: Michael Varga, Victor Albino

Materials: Sunbrella® Supreme by Glen Raven Custom Fabrics LLC, SolarFix® thread by Solar Fix, YKK Zippers by YKK®

Project Description: The cover was designed to prevent harm to the recently repainted surface, as this boat travels up and down the East Coast during the racing circuit. The cover was made in two parts (forward and aft) because of its weight and the client’s ability to handle putting it on and taking it off. The forward section covers the topside and bottom of the hull for 16 feet going aft. The bottom was covered to prevent road debris damage to the hull during traveling. The aft section covers the cockpit area and the sides of the hull all the way to the transom. The two sections are connected by zippers that start center and zip center to port side and center to starboard side. The zipper travels topside outbound and down the freeboard to the chine line. Heavy-duty 2-inch four-ply webbing straps were placed about every 30 inches. Two adjustable support poles in the cockpit area prevent water ponding. The primary challenge with this cover was the number of templates that had to come together for the finished product: 18 templates in all. Each seam was super seam taped together and then stitched. It took about 100 hours to complete the sewing and fitting of this project.  

Canvas Experts Inc.
Ocean City, Md.
+1 410 213 8766

 Award of Excellence

Canvasworks Inc.
Ratchet Strap Travel Cover for a Zodiac Open 7

Designer: Duane Smith III

Fabricators: Duane Smith III, Jackie Lueck, Sarah Heintz

Installers: Duane Smith III, Joe Vail, Nick Finneman

Materials: Top Notch® and Top Gun® by Marlen Textiles, YKK Zippers by YKK®, Lenzip Zippers by Lenzip® Manufacturing Corp.

Project Description: This customer wanted full protection for his new Zodiac Open 7. He regularly travels in extreme road conditions and needed to make sure his boat was protected from the T-top to the inflatable pontoons. The cover was digitally scanned with a Prodim Proliner. The CAD work was done in Rhino 6 with MPanel to create the meshes and ExactFlat to flatten it. The fabric was cut on a 52-foot CNC cutter. All straight seams were fabric welded and the curved seams were sewn with 138 Serabond thread. The challenges of fully protecting this boat while traveling were several, most being related to the unique and diverse shapes associated with this type of boat and the necessity of a tight fit in order to effectively travel at highway speeds around the country. The tow bars and ski pylon needed to be fit around as did the T-top. The round hull presented fitting challenges as well, especially when coupled with the intricate shapes of the rear corners of the boat. Fitting this cover digitally allowed for a precise fitting cover, and the customer was very pleased with the final result.

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

Outstanding Achievement

Canvasworks Inc.
Ratchet Strap Travel Cover with T-Top Bonnet and Motor Covers for a Cobia

Designer: Duane Smith III

Fabricators: Duane Smith III, Jackie Lueck, Sarah Heintz

Installers: Duane Smith III, Joe Vail, Nick Finneman

Materials: Top Notch® and Top Gun® by Marlen Textiles, YKK Zippers by YKK®, Lenzip Zippers by Lenzip® Manufacturing Corp.

Project Description: This cover was designed to protect a Cobia 261 during travel. Due to the condition of the roads, the customer required the entire boat to be covered, including the T-top. In addition, he requested an extendable sunshade off of the T-top and twin motor covers for protecting the motors during storage. It was also important that the cover was quickly and easily removed and installed, making the ratchet strap design the best choice for this particular cover. This cover is installed in approximately five minutes, exceeding the customer’s expectations. The size and the challenge of fitting around the T-top, including the three converging compound curves involved in covering the extendable sunshade and the rocket launchers, made this project unique. In addition, the front of the cover was fully lined with Top Gun to protect the hull from rocks. The customer did not want the trolling motor covered, so a three-flap and zipper system around the mounts and brackets was designed to ensure a completely waterproof seal. Removable boat buckle ratchets were used to secure the cover.

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


Wild & Innovative

 Award of Excellence

Even Keel Canvas LLC
Beneteau Oceanis

Designer, Fabricator and Installer: Whitney Carman

Material: Sunbrella® by Glen Raven Custom Fabrics LLC

Project Description: Beneteau backrests are a personal favorite of the shop owner among the recent upgrades in standards. Lifeline cushions are always so unimpressive; the goal with these was to look intentionally placed, floating in midair and perfectly level. Cupholders added into the backrests of the lower seating curve over the combing, and the combing cushions zip onto the base, all with waterfall edges, and the seat bases fold in half on a fabric hinge. Tan Sunbrella is used for the table cover, achieving the goal of designing a cover that doesn’t look like a cover. The unique aspects of this project include the backrests and the tan table cover that looks like teak.

Even Keel Canvas LLC
El Segundo, Calif.
www.evenkeelcanvas.com


Marine Miscellaneous

 Award of Excellence

Mike’s Marine Custom Canvas
Regulator

Designer and Installer: Dan Johnson

Fabricator: Darlene Phillips

Materials: Stamoid by Serge Ferrari North America Inc., YKK Zippers by YKK®

Project Description: The customer wanted to cover all of his new expensive upholstery and electronics. He also despised fasteners, snaps, etc., so the design had to be something without fasteners that would stay put at 80 mph! This project has three covers: a bow dodger, a helm cover and a leaning post cover—all with no snaps! The leaning post has form-fitting seams, one zipper and two suction cups to secure it. The helm cover has form-fitting seams and quick-release buckles and webbing straps to secure it to the T-top console. The bow dodger is attached with zippered pockets wrapping the grab bars and T-top framework, as well as two adjustable hook straps to the outrigger cleats. It all gets raised up in the center with two adjustable cam-lock support poles. It’s like a circus tent that the client can actually leave up on the boat with the throttles running wide open!

Mike’s Marine Custom Canvas
Virginia Beach, Va.
www.mikesmarinecanvas.com

Outstanding Achievement

Lake Shore Boat Top Co. Inc.
Boston Whaler 330 Outrage®—”Covered in Canvas”

Designer: Rob Kotowski

Fabricators: Rob Kotowski, Gregory Phillips

Installers: Rob Kotowski, Gregory Phillips, Bob Kotowski

Materials: Sunbrella® Smoke by Glen Raven Custom Fabrics LLC, SolarFix® thread by Solar Fix

Project Description: The goal of the project was to protect the boat owner’s upholstery throughout his center console powerboat. The customer did not want a full cover, as this boat sits on a hoist in Florida during the season. He wanted something simple and easy to put on and take off. The design consisted of eight individual covers throughout the cockpit to protect his investment. The unique part of this project is that the boat owner is able to use the boat while keeping the majority of the covers in place. Snaps were used as the main attachment points on the outside of the boat, and stay-put bungee fasteners were used on the inside of the boat for easy installation and removal. This project used 42 yards of 60-inch Sunbrella fabric to complete! The main combing pad and front bow seating cover were fabricated into one individual cover for ease of installation and to provide a very clean look. Everything is form-fitted and custom to the boat. The client was very pleased with this job.  

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