May 28, 2013

Beware of the bunk problem

IT’S INTERESTING how many boats have a bunk or two that is too short for the average crewmember.  Interesting because, no matter how hard you try or how long you practice, you never seem to be able to get comfortable in a bunk that’s not long enough for you.

Before you buy a boat you should definitely test every bunk for length. The minimum length that designers strive for is 6 ft. 4 in., but all too often production boats are built with smaller bunks because of customer pressure for the greatest number of berths in a given hull.

Don’t buy a boat unless there is at least one bunk in the main cabin or aft cabin that fits you. The only exception to this rule is where a saloon berth abuts a locker that you could break into for a foot well. You can stow your bedding in there when you’re not using your bunk.

A bunk that is too wide is uncomfortable at sea because the rolling of the boat throws you from side to side. The maximum width for the average person should be about 21 inches, though it can taper from 13 inches at the foot, out to 21 inches at mid-thigh and back to 16 inches at the head end. You might find this restrictive at first but you’ll soon get used to it.

You’ll need a lee board or cloth to keep you in your bunk at sea. Sailcloth is often used for the purpose, but if it makes you feel claustrophobic use netting instead. A lee cloth is usually fastened to a lengthwise batten screwed or preferably bolted to the bunk frame beneath the mattress, close to the outer edge of the bunk. It’s held in place by three or four lines lashed or clipped to eye straps firmly bolted overhead. When it’s not in use, the lee cloth lies flat beneath the mattress.

Mattresses for double berths should be made in two lengths with a lee cloth brought up through the split between the two. This will save you from rolling steeply downhill across a wide expanse of bed and crashing into the hull. It’s not conducive to a good night’s sleep.

Today’s Thought
If a bed would tell all it knows, it would put many to the blush.
— James Howell, Proverbs

Overheard on the subway:
“We went to Bophuthatswana for our vacation.”
“Bophuthatswana? Where’s that?”
“I don’t know. We flew there.”

(Drop by every Monday, Wednesday, Friday for a new Mainly about Boats column.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with your thoughts on bunks. Whem I lived aboard my Contessa 32 I was most grateful for the full size bunks. Being 5'3" I had enough room at the head of the bunk to build in a rather nice little wine cellar and book rack with a coffee table on top!

Love your blog!

This is my boat related blog - new endeavor.