Before & After: Sailboat Makeover Reveal with Sunbrella Horizon Vinyl

Dive deeper into this mini makeover aboard our home away from home
Before & After: Sailboat Makeover Reveal with Sunbrella Horizon Vinyl Fabric (ad): custom sailboat cushions in the cockpit of a Catalina Sailboat #SunbrellaPartner
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Sunbrella. All opinions are my own and always will be! Thanks for supporting the content that keeps Jojotastic going.

I’ve been wanting to add a bit of Jojotastic flair to our 34′ sailboat pretty much since the first time I saw it when I first started dating Sean — and that was 8 years ago! When we decided to use Sunbrella fabric for our sailboat makeover, I knew it was my time to shine. Recently, we had our maiden voyage with our brand-new boat cushions upholstered in Sunbrella Horizon marine vinyl and it was magical. So today I wanted to share a bit more about our boat and why we’re so happy to finally have sturdy, easy-to-clean, and super-comfortable seating in the cockpit. Anchors aweigh (I promise to keep the boating puns to a minimum… maybe)!

All About Our Sailboat Makeover + Sunbrella Horizon Marine Vinyl

Before photos + A little bit about our boat

Before & After: Sailboat Makeover Reveal with Sunbrella Horizon Vinyl Fabric (ad): custom sailboat cushions in the cockpit of a Catalina Sailboat #SunbrellaPartner

Our boat is a 34′ Catalina sailboat from the late ’80s. Sean likes to say that it’s like a Honda car, a good basic car that is easy to work on and that a lot of people have had experience sailing and owning. Not coming from a boating background myself, I’ve learned everything about sailing from him and Andy. It’s been a ton of fun!

Sean has owned the sailboat for a little over 10 years I believe and all of the work he’s done to it has been functional, nothing aesthetic… until now!

Before & After: Sailboat Makeover Reveal with Sunbrella Horizon Vinyl Fabric (ad): custom sailboat cushions in the cockpit of a Catalina Sailboat #SunbrellaPartner

Before this mini makeover project, we had a few random throw pillows, blankets, and floatation devices that we cobbled together into cushioned seating whenever we went sailing. It wasn’t ideal and definitely lead to a few man overboard drills as the pillows slid off the deck and into the water. We knew we needed to get custom cushions made for the cockpit — but we were overwhelmed by the options and just didn’t know where to start.

Before & After: Sailboat Makeover Reveal with Sunbrella Horizon Vinyl Fabric (ad): custom sailboat cushions in the cockpit of a Catalina Sailboat #SunbrellaPartner

The Makeover Reveal + Why We Chose Sunbrella Horizon Marine Vinyl

And here’s how our boat’s cockpit looks now with our new custom cushions made with Sunbrella Horizon marine vinyl! So much nicer, right?? I absolutely LOVE the simplicity of the crisply sewn cushions and the pop of navy blue plaid on the decorative pillows (also upholstered in Sunbrella).

In the boating industry, Sunbrella marine upholstery fabrics are considered the gold standard for their performance properties. For over 50 years, they’ve led the market in durable, fade-resistant, stain resistant, and easy-to-clean fabrics that stand up to life on the water, salty or fresh. Specifically, Sunbrella Horizon marine vinyl caught our eye because it is ultra-soft while also being a durable option. So for us, choosing Horizon was a no-brainer! We chose Sunbrella Horizon in Capriccio Salt which is the perfect clean, bright white color to complement the boat’s gel coat.

Before & After: Sailboat Makeover Reveal with Sunbrella Horizon Vinyl Fabric (ad): custom sailboat cushions in the cockpit of a Catalina Sailboat #SunbrellaPartner

Durability

As much as we try, as a household, we are not gentle on things. Whether it’s the dogs jumping up, my seeming inability to not spill drinks (especially red wine), or our various misadventures, we have a tendency to wreck stuff. But with Sunbrella Horizon onboard now, we have been blown away by their durability. Also, having the peace of mind that these cushions will withstand so many variables helps us to enjoy the moment so much more — and focus on other projects at the boat!

Before & After: Sailboat Makeover Reveal with Sunbrella Horizon Vinyl Fabric (ad): custom sailboat cushions in the cockpit of a Catalina Sailboat #SunbrellaPartner
Before & After: Sailboat Makeover Reveal with Sunbrella Horizon Vinyl Fabric (ad): custom sailboat cushions in the cockpit of a Catalina Sailboat #SunbrellaPartner

We often use our sailboat as our ‘city home’ when we’re away from the cabin, which means that the dogs are with us. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how well they withstand the dogs jumping on and off the seat — especially Diamond.

Easy to clean

As I mentioned before, I am constantly spilling on the boat. Even if the boat is still at the dock, I usually lose my balance somehow because of my leg. Thankfully, our new custom cushions are fully waterproof and easily cleaned.

Before & After: Sailboat Makeover Reveal with Sunbrella Horizon Vinyl Fabric (ad): custom sailboat cushions in the cockpit of a Catalina Sailboat #SunbrellaPartner

Made for marine environments

Even if you’d spent just minutes on a boat, you probably have a good idea of all the variables an upholstery fabric faces. From salty water to fresh water and rainwater, Sunbrella Horizon is literally made to withstand the elements. It’s also got superior protection from the elements, including being mold and mildew resistant. Those last two are key in the Pacific Northwest, let me tell you!

Although we chose white for our upholstery color, Sunbrella Horizon is offered in a variety of bold, saturated colors… which means it’s also worth mentioning that the fabric is resistant to fading! So you can sail off into the sunset knowing that Sunbrella pillows and cushions are made to last.

Before & After: Sailboat Makeover Reveal with Sunbrella Horizon Vinyl Fabric (ad): custom sailboat cushions in the cockpit of a Catalina Sailboat #SunbrellaPartner

Comfort and style

Last, but certainly not least, we love the Horizon marine vinyl because it’s incredibly soft, which is so important for longer sailing trips (or even just napping on deck). When the swatches first arrived in the mail, we loved the handfeel of the fabric. It does not feel like a waterproof fabric at all!

I was also worried about our cushions being really hot in the sun, either scalding your skin or your skin sticking to it while you’re sitting. The absolute worst on a hot day! I am pleased to report that I have not experienced either of those issues this summer since getting our new cushions. Luxury!

Before & After: Sailboat Makeover Reveal with Sunbrella Horizon Vinyl Fabric (ad): custom sailboat cushions in the cockpit of a Catalina Sailboat #SunbrellaPartner

Get the look:

So what do you think?? I hope you find this a fun alternative to my usual cabin and home-related content — for us, our sailboat is another extension of our home and the lifestyle we love living, so we’re really happy to have this project completed in such a comfortable, high-quality way!

Photography & styling by Jojotastic.

Behind The Blog

Joanna Hawley-McBride is a Pacific Northwest-based social media strategist, content creator, and former textile designer. Joanna is the founder and editor-in-chief of Jojotastic, a lifestyle blog focused on Joanna’s work-in-progress cabin, finding the best pair of underwear through #UnderwearThesis, and empowering women to explore nature — all in her signature unfiltered style. Her work has been featured in Domino, CNBC, and Eating Well.

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Please note that I use affiliate links at times here, as well as on my social media accounts. This means that if you click on a link to a product and purchase that product, I may receive a commission based on your purchase. I only feature products that truly inspire me. Any products that have been gifted to Jojotastic for review are noted at the bottom of the post. Sponsored posts are noted as such. All opinions are my own and always will be! Thanks for supporting content that keeps Jojotastic going.

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2 Comments

  1. 8.24.23
    Brenda said:

    Gorgeous photos! The cushions are perfect for the boat- comfy, practical, and stylish!

    • 10.3.23
      Joanna said:

      Thanks so much! Glad you like the update :)