Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Good Night's Rest

If I had to say what was the most important aspect of the care and feeding of The Crew, it would be a hard tie between a good meal and a good night's rest.  When we bought Kintala, it didn't come with a V-berth mattress and that was probably the biggest blessing in disguise of anything that happened.  We set about to get a mattress first thing, since we intended to sleep on the boat while we worked on it.

We're fortunate to have a mattress manufacturer in the area called Verlo Mattress, a company with locations in seven states that we've used before to custom make some foam mattresses for various kids' beds, so I contacted Dave there who was incredibly helpful in designing our v-berth mattress.  I used some old rip-stop material laid out in the v-berth to draw the three-piece pattern because it doesn't stretch and I happened to have it on hand, but if you don't have anything like that you can order the reinforced patterning material from Sailrite.  I visited the Verlo store in St. Charles, MO so I could lay on various thicknesses and firmness of foam that he had in stock, and after testing a few I chose a 4" thick very firm foam, which he constructed in three pieces per my pattern, covering the foam with a regular quilted and bound mattress cover.

We laid these pieces out in the clubhouse at the marina and cut pieces of Wal-mart 4" thick memory foam mattress topper. I know it looks like two pieces of 2", but it's actually a firmer layer on the bottom topped by a softer layer on top and glued together.  You can buy the one-piece type if you prefer it.   I bought a king-sized one but I probably could have fit it out of a queen-sized one and, in fact, Dave at Verlo told me he got the three pieces out of a queen-sized piece of foam.  When we spoke to Verlo they gave us the option of making the mattress with 4" firm foam topped by 4" memory foam all inside the cover, but we opted to put the memory foam on top because we've found it doesn't last quite as long as the regular foam mattress and we wanted the option of replacing it without having to replace the whole mattress.  The bill for the mattress in 2011 dollars was $289.00.  The memory foam from Wal-mart was $119.00 but you can spend upwards of $200 if you get the better quality memory foam.

After we got the mattress laid out in the v-berth I set out to find some comfy bedding.  You have to choose your bedding depending on the location you intend to cruise, and you may need to buy two different types to handle all the climates.  We've found that the jersey sheet sets work really well in cold weather because they're not such a shocker when you climb into the cold bed and they tend to hold the heat a little better than the cotton ones.  They also stretch so they tend not to pull off the mattress when you shift around, something that's pretty important when you have an oddly-shaped bed like a v-berth.  If you're going to use cotton sheets it's a good idea to take an afternoon and custom-make a fitted sheet for the bottom so it's easy to make the bed and it doesn't pull off.  Cotton sheets are really great in hot weather because they tend not to stick to you if you're sweaty.

Whatever berth you sleep in on your boat, you should take the time to create a place you like to go to.  Choose colors that are soothing and that make you happy.  I chose an turquoise that reminded me of the water off Hoffman Key for the sheets. Choose a light blanket for over the sheets, then a lightweight quilt if you're in colder weather.  You'll notice I have a cotton blanket in this picture which I only have because I'm close to laundry facilities.  Once we actually leave to go cruising I will switch to something synthetic that can wash and dry quickly.  The quilt is a very lightweight silky quilt that I found at Wal-mart and I wish I had bought 10 of them.  It's the warmest quilt I've every slept under and it dries unbelievably fast.  Also choose good quality pillows.  This is not an area to scrimp on.  You can buy non-crush pillows that are soft and comfortable but that rebound to their original shape and dry quickly.  We have our pillows for our heads, as well as a few pillows down each side of the v-berth walls to insulate us from the cold outside. 

After all of our efforts, we ended up with a bed that is much more comfortable than the one we have in our house, a place that we enjoy spending time in, a bit of a refuge from whatever happens to be going on in our weekday lives.  There is just not quite anything like laying in the v-berth with the hatch open and the breeze wafting over your face on a cool summer evening while you are anchored in the cove and you have nothing better to do than watch the shooting stars overhead.  Or waking up completely buried in the quilts when it's 17° outside and the cabin temp is struggling to stay above 50° and you have absolutely nowhere else to go.  So when you're outfitting or refitting your cruising dreamboat, be sure to spend the time and the modest amount of money required to do yourself the favor of a good night's rest.


  1. Great posting. Looks very comfy.


  2. Too comfy sometimes...hard to get out of in the morning!