During the 2019 boating season, Tecsew took on an exciting and challenging project for an American client, Lance. Due to the distance between us and the customer, questions and answers were exchanged via emails and only a few long-distance telephone calls. The customer was convinced that we would be the best company to deliver what he wanted for his new vessel.
The customer provided us with access to a similar boat at Royal Clarence Marina so we could take measurements. After taking all the necessary measurements, we drew up the designs for him to approve. All CAD work was finalised and signed off whilst the boat was in build in France, with the canvas work constructed for fitting before the boat arrived in Gosport.
How it all began…
Lance first got in contact via our website enquiry page on the 1st of April 2019 interested in a Sprayhood, Bimini and possible Cockpit Enclosure for his then in-build Allures 45.9 in Cherbourg. He was initially only wanted to get some idea of pricing to compare against the factory-supplied covers.
Lance said, “I’ve been looking for a company that will add the extra features I want, such as side and top grab bars and heavy-duty tubing.”
We immediately thought this was a customer who knew what he wanted! Our first response to him was that we would be able to do whatever he wanted provided we had a similar boat we could use locally to measure up and then we would need his boat brought to the UK for fitting.
By the 11th of April 2019, we prepared the basic quotations for the items Lance was asking for. First thing he changed was the size of the stainless-steel tubes as he had opted for the 32mm heavy-duty tubes. He was adamant he had a choice of Sunbrella colour in mind (which unfortunately is not available in the European market), so he said he would buy them in the USA and shipped them over to us. We also advised him it might not be possible to match the zips and binding colour to his unique material colour of Sunbrella Plus Persian Green material.
By May 2019, Lance had managed to get in touch with another Allures 45.9 owner and we were able to go aboard at Royal Clarence Marina to take measurements in order to design the items which Lance had ordered which were a Sprayhood, Bimini and Bimini Conversion.
Tecsew MD John Bland involved CAD Designer Intern Owen Welsh to work on this project and liaise with Lance via email communications, with designs in the forms of 3D CAD drawings being forwarded for Lance to approve.
Not all plain sailing…
As with all projects, there are always challenges. Here at Tecsew, we rise to the challenge and tackle it head-on.
• Welded Grab Bars: This product has five welded grab bars where only one of them is standard. This wasn’t an issue design-wise due to drawing the Sprayhood manually, the only issue was there was quite a lot of back and forth with the wing support grab bars because I didn’t anticipate how large Lance wanted them.
• Grab Bar Cut-out for Fwd. Bar: This was difficult and required a bit of tailoring for the perfect fit. But anything can be solved with the help of Installation Manager, Bruno, Production Manager Ben and Head Machinist Gail who did a great job on the project and are definitely worth mentioning!
• Check Stay Cut-out on Bimini: This was unexpected due to having the Bimini designed and signed off and now working on the zip location for the conversion. Basically, this is a movable check stay which wasn’t attached on the Allures we measured in Gosport. Lance picked this up when looking through the designs. Luckily, we still had access to the Allures, so John and I went down and secured the check stay in the location Lance showed us. We could then measure using the Proliner the angle and location of the Check-Stay to where it would intervene the Bimini canvas. The cut-outs were then added to the 3D CAD model and applied to the CNC cut file. To use the cut out practically, the stay needs to be fully tensioned for the cut out to operate efficiently with the design.
• Pattern Matching Cushions: This was about lining up the patterns so that when the cushions were manufactured, the stripes were continuous and even all the way along. Machinist Angie was a massive help with this and also manufacturing the cushions while Ben cut the foams.
We love this quote from Lance he wrote on his email mid-May saying “I’m super excited we are moving forward. Thank you, John, for going over to measure David’s boat. I realise you are the design experts.”
Lance knew what he wanted for his newly built boat, so there were a lot of communications via emails sent back and forth in terms of designs to ensure that we had incorporated all that he wanted. This process was made easy because we use the latest technology (we believe the first in the world) used for boat covers. He was able to see CAD pictures of the covers on the boat in 3D so it was easy for him to make sure that we had everything that he had asked for.
Due to the fact that we had done the designs for Lance’s covers before he even confirmed the orders, he was more than happy to pay for design times spent on designing his covers and also paid for us to work out how much material we would need to make the covers in order for him to order the material to be shipped over to our factory here in the UK.
Meeting face to face…
Lance made his trip to our factory here in the UK towards the end of August 2019 to discuss the colours of zips, binding webbing and even the colour of the cotton to be used to the stitch the covers together! He came by and we spent a few hours discussing his requirements, making sure we got everything correct. This would have been the first time Jenni; Lance’s partner was mentioned. Unfortunately, Jenni was unable to join Lance over to the UK this time around.
We loved the way that Lance talked about Jenni as ‘My Jenni’ would want this and that. It was all very romantic!
With us at Tecsew, it’s a fully hands-on service, as we drove him back to the Fareham train station that evening so he could catch his flight back to Seattle from Gatwick.
A VIP visit to Tecsew…
Whilst Lance was at our factory, he mentioned wanting some Cockpit Cushions for the boat but was not sure what sort of cushions he would like and if we would have enough material leftover from the first batch of material that he had shipped over to us.
Owen was heavily involved with the discussion to do with the cushions and they finally agreed on the design after Lance ‘struck a compromise with Jenni’.
By 16th of September 2019, we had completed all the Sprayhood, Bimini and Bimini conversion in-house excluding the Cockpit Cushions. Lance’s new boat was meant to arrive at Royal Clarence Marina on the 7th of October 2019; unfortunately, due to bad weather, she arrived three days later on the 10th. Once here, our expert fitting team together with Owen started fitting the cover on to GiLLi. We knew there would be a few alterations and tailoring to be done, but it was not major and we knew they would need to be done when the boat was here.
Lance and Jenni went back to Cherbourg and came back to the UK on the 4th of Nov. After final inspection, Lance and Jenni were happy to sign off everything and paid the final amount on their invoice.
We asked Lance to summarise his experience working with Tecsew. Here is what he wrote…
“We LOVE the canvas work. Jen especially loves the conservatory – as I’m told many Brits call our Cockpit Enclosure. It makes for a whole extra big room on the boat. The heat from down below with the hatch opened warms up the enclosure quite well. The strategically placed grab rails and solidness of the build makes me feel like I can reach out anywhere round the cockpit whilst moving around.
The salesman at Allures and our French broker sure liked your work. Hopefully, a few orders will come your way in the future.”
Lance and Jenni have since been back to our factory and ordered more items!
A defining moment in his Tecsew career, Owen said, “It has been a pleasure working on this project! Especially conversing with Lance over the past few months to ensure the design is perfect. You can really see the difference in the product when the client takes full involvement within the design stages of the project. Everyone involved within design, manufacture & fitting performed exceptionally, especially Lance who has been determined over the past few months to learn every minute aspect of the project; ensuring a perfect balance between aesthetics, functionality & manufacturability.”
Tecsew Director, Ally Bland praised Lance for being a model customer, “Lance has been a pleasure to deal with over the course of the year. All communications between us were fluid as he knew what he wanted and none of us had to wait for another for answers.”
Tecsew has been a key figure in the marine textile industry for 35 years, gaining an exceptional reputation for designing bespoke Boat Covers with use of a 3D CAD system developed in house. Together with CNC cutting and tube forming, we are well placed to outperform the competition when it comes to quality and product development.
Tecsew has a very strong company ethos which involves cutting-edge technology and design to achieve:
• Improved quality and consistency
• Reduced delivery time
• Increased range of products and services
• Improvements to our already outstanding customer service
Tecsew is also proud members of the Marine Fabricators Association, Industrial Fabrics Association International, British Marine Federation and Sunbrella Marine.