With an impressive combined experience in design of 50 years, Elite Yacht Covers are familiar with the specific needs of Superyachts. When it comes to bespoke yacht Awnings, Covers and Canopies, Elite Yacht Covers are the go-to company, and understand the unique requirements of every vessel that they work with. Not only are yacht Awnings crucial for protecting the guests and crew from the sun, but they are also essential for protecting the yacht’s finishings, furnishing and fixtures from any potential damage.
In this article, we talk all things CAD design with Elite Yacht Covers’ Sales Director Paul Gray, and how the company have harnessed technology in order to achieve greater results for their clients. Here, Gray speaks about how digitalised designs and 3D drawings open up a world of opportunities for onboard covers. We also hear about the future of Elite Yacht Covers and how their partnership with both Loft Customs and Ratsey and Lapthorn allows the company to reach even more clients internationally.
SYC: What are some of the most common issues when it comes to yacht covers and how does Elite Yacht Covers endeavour to resolve this?
Elite Yacht Covers: Experience over the last 20+ years has shown me that the main issue is within the build design and manufacturing detail, as well as the misuse of materials. For example, not using the correct fabric for the project. For us, the design process involves the material selection very early on, so that these two elements work to benefit each other rather than restrict.
For example, we only downscale the weight/strength of fabrics if we are able to add lightweight, but incredibly strong Dyneema cables/webbings. We sometimes use Dyneema to take the load path’s, similar to a skeleton, which means that the fabric is less loaded.
SYC: What kind of materials do you use when creating your bespoke covers?
EYC: We use the full range of Serge Ferrari products, which includes their mesh shading range. For a particular Mega Yacht, we used Stamoid Smart, for all their furniture covers and the 3x30m sail covers. Smart is breathable, meaning the wood is less likely to sweat, it is also impermeable, so the cushions stay dry and last, it has a silicone finish and this means that dirt simply washes away without any effort in cleaning.
For our sailing yacht tensile awnings, we use WeatherMAX 80, which is a breathable polyester. We use this for awnings that are regularly put up and down by lightly crewed yachts. WeatherMax is an 8oz fabric that is super strong and stable under
high loads. For motor yachts that have fixed tensile awnings, we use Stamoid Top, or Soltis mesh, depending on usage requirements.
“Digitising the yacht or working from 3D drawings opens up a huge amount of opportunities, from millimetre perfect measuring, laser-cutting fabric, exacting repeatability and CAD design work”
SYC: Can you give a brief explanation of the use of CAD technology when designing and creating your bespoke covers?
EYC: Digitising the yacht or working from 3D drawings opens up a huge amount of opportunities, from millimetre perfect measuring, laser-cutting fabric, exacting repeatability and CAD design work. For Awnings, we can test differing loads to gauge the size of the cables required to make sure that they stand up to the working loads. We are also able to show different design shapes to the client for approval so that the finalised design meets the clients expectations and there are no surprises.
SYC: How do you believe CAD technology gives EYC an edge in the industry?
EYC: The aforementioned question provides great context here, but this is a good opportunity to note the limitations of CAD. With our expertise within the field, we can see straight away if a project would be better suited to the age-old art of hand templating. Some shapes require real-time hand manipulation over certain radius/tight bends, so expertise in both fields is essential to make the correct decision.
SYC: Can you provide an example of a time when you worked on a particularly specific project/problem onboard a yacht?
EYC: We were working with an 80+M yacht that used a window enclosure on one of her decks. This popular deck became too hot with the StrataGlass window panels in place, but was too exposed not to have any protection. Because we had the CAD data from the window enclosure, we were able to ship over the exact copy in Soltis 86 Mesh shade material. This material considerably reduces heat by projecting shade and by the small apertures that diffuses the breeze but allows shaded and cooled air through. We often sell ‘winter’ and ‘summer’ sets at the same time now.
See the below video of EYC’s work onboard a Swan 100 Sailing Yacht:
SYC: How does your partnership with Loft Customs in Palma and Collaboration with Gonzalo Romagosa of Ratsey and Lapthorn in Barcelona, allow EYC to reach further clients?
EYC: Being based in the UK, and close to London, we do have some yachts that we service, mainly via MGMT, which is growing year on year. However, this is still a limited flow of Superyachts, compared to Palma and Barcelona. We have worked together with both Loft Customs in Palma and Gonzalo at Ratsey and Lapthorn in Barcelona for many years because these guys are also at the top of their game and their locations produce many more enquiries than we have here in the UK. The guys on the ground with the enquiries work with the clients to produce the desired specification, timelines and CAD drawings, or carry out the digitising on board. We then produce the renderings for sign off and then start manufacturing and organising the shipping. Once arrived at the destination the team will take over the final fitting.
SYC: What are some of your next big projects?
EYC: As you can quite imagine, we cannot say due to the ever-increasing NDA world that encompasses the Superyacht world! I am able to confirm that we currently working with multiple yachts to confirm designs and we are now producing a second and third order from our digitising trip to the Seychelles last year and the products are being shipped to the French Polynesian islands in the coming weeks.
SYC: What are your hopes for the future for EYC?
EYC: This year so far, we have already completed 12 trips to service our yachts, as well as our partnering projects. We have a very strong business plan to see EYC grow year on year. This includes using our large network of captains and industry specialists/working partners to promote our services to Officers and crew that are not aware of us – yet!