They are frequently the bane of crews’ lives, but when it comes to deck essentials the seat or sunbed cushion is an integral part of any superyacht. So when a company that specialises in designing and manufacturing systems to mount panels to hard surfaces took on the challenge of creating a secure and quick, easy-to-use solution for cushions the industry looked on with interest.
The inspiration for the idea came when director and founder of Fastmount Gregg Kelly was walking through a newbuild motor yacht in a large UK superyacht yard with the boat’s project manager. The project manager was complaining that the exterior forward mattresses were arduous to remove and replace – something that crews face on a daily basis either for accessing lockers, for weather or going to sea, or as part of the overnight packdown routine. Kelly noted that existing solutions each had their own problems and disadvantages. Velcro can look messy, doesn’t always last and doesn’t always hold well in strong winds; heavy duty metal domes or studs are liable to corrode, are very visible and get hot in the sun, and rope tracks are difficult to use.
“While I noticed that there were many options of attaching cushions, each had its own disadvantages. For example, hook and look tape is easy to install but does not bond well to painted finishes and is not a long term solution,” Kelly explains. “We wanted to create a solution from the ground up, not a product designed by adapting devices from other industries but something completely purpose built.”
Development started at Fastmount HQ in 2015, and by the end of that year the company had a working prototype of its Textile Range system that it could take yard to yard, distributor to distributor, and also to the annual METSTRADE show in Amsterdam that November. The main stumbling block proved to be how to attach one half of the clip system to a soft cushion but after researching different materials and through extensive concept testing Fastmount developed a special plastic that can be easily sewn through while offering durability.
A triangular engagement clip sits inside the flexible housing of the female element to give great holding power when engaged with the male clip, which is mounted to the seat or superstructure surface. The clip can be easily released by pushing any one of the three buttons by finger, or by using a special removal tool which could prove invaluable for yachts with a large number of cushions. To affix the cushion, the male and female parts of the clip are simply lined up and the cushion pressed down gently ‘with a jiggle’ to click the clips in position.
“The idea behind the clip is that it streamlines deck processes,” says Kelly, “saving crew time to focus on other things rather than struggling with rope tracks and the like. We appreciate that precision is key with all elements of the yacht, and having an exact location that the cushion clips into means there is no chance of uneven cushion placement.”
Following its launch, the Fastmount Textile Range was nominated for a DAME innovation award at 2016’s METSTRADE exhibition, but development has not stopped there. “The biggest question we were asked after the launch was ‘what about the surface male mount?’. So we set to work again to find a solution to create a male that wouldn’t require drilling into the substrate,” Kelly concludes. “We have developed a clear, UV-stabilised surface mount version which will have a clear adhesive tape bond on the base, which gives an extremely strong bond.” The release date for the new Textile elements is scheduled for early 2017 – watch this space for updates.