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Discussion Starter #1
I've used a variety of search terms but haven't been able to find a thread that addresses where people sleep on boats and how they manage various tradeoffs in sleeping on a small boat.

If you can direct me to one or more threads that talk about this, please do. If there aren't any, here's the context and my question:

We are going to be buying a boat 27' to 30' boat --- we can't afford, and don't want, anything longer. We are married and prefer to sleep together. A 54" width at shoulder level is enough, but we'd prefer to have at least one open side --- which suggests a sleeping surface athwartships, in the saloon.

So...

- has anyone created a sleeping area for two, with at least one open side, anywhere on their boat?
- how did you make it and where do you stow the components that make up your sleeping surface, during the day?
- if you sleep in the V-Berth, what do you prop your pillows against when you read at night?
- can you get out of the V-berth in the middle of the night without disturbing your sleeping partner? How do you do it?

If you have photos, that would be excellent!

Thank you,
NWS
 

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That's a great set of questions; thank you for asking! I'm looking forward to the responses.

This sentence made me chuckle:

If you can direct me to one or more threads that talk about this, please do.
In the internet forum world, a contributor may be admonished for starting a new thread about a previously-discussed topic, yet risks reprimand for adding to an old thread. And now I might be rebuked for going off topic. :laugher
 

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Deep Blue Crush
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Come on ianjoub, that is way too small! I am sure you can do better than that! :)

Good thread NWS, I was actually wondering, once someone buys an older boat, to what extent one can modify the interior if they choose to do so. This thread might answer that.
 

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...So...

- has anyone created a sleeping area for two, with at least one open side, anywhere on their boat?

- how did you make it and where do you stow the components that make up your sleeping surface, during the day?
My 78-YO mother sails with us. Our table turns the port berth into a double berth. The cushions are supposed to fit together like a puzzle to create a mattress but we've never figured out how to do it without one lump somewhere. We bought a really comfy double air mattress to put on top of the cushions that, when deflated, stores in the quarterberth (which we use mostly for storage). Mom says she sleeps really well on it. She's not one to hold back if anything was wrong. Inflated the mattress is about four inches high and fits perfectly in the berth space.

She's also 7% of our decision to buy a larger boat with at least two cabins.

If we wanted to when mom isn't with us, John and I could sleep on the air mattress but it's just slightly too short for us to fully stretch out. We can in the V-berth.

- if you sleep in the V-Berth, what do you prop your pillows against when you read at night?
The bulkhead if I wanted to. On our 30 footer there is no space between the bulkhead and the cushions. But even at home I usually don't read sitting up for too long before I end up on my side.

- can you get out of the V-berth in the middle of the night without disturbing your sleeping partner? How do you do it?
I can't. He can. But it wouldn't matter. I wake up briefly regardless.
 
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Sounds like you're looking for a 'pullman' berth - one with an open side. Not likely to be found on a 30 footer.

There are a variety of ways to make a settee on one side or the other a 'pull-out' or a 'fold out' which may be a workable solution, or on boats like the Catalina 30, eg, a U-shaped dinette can often be made down into an open sided double. However having to 'put down' and 'put up' the dining table on a daily basis grows old in a hurry.

On a 30 feet or less older boat getting a true 'double' 54" width is always going to be a challenge, as ending up with a reasonable 6' plus length may be.

I think most people can climb out of a Vberth perhaps with less disturbance than the inside person climbing over the outside sleeper on a pullman... we have a quasi-pullman aft berth and I sleep on the outside because I'm more likely to be the one getting up in the night to check things.
 
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bell ringer
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I gave GREAT consideration to berths and sleeping arrangement on both of the boats I've owned. In fact the biggest reason I got rid of my first boat and got my current one was about the berth. If I get another boat it will almost 100% be to get a still better berth.

But I think the berth/sleeping arrangements depend a lot on how often you are going to sleep on the boat and how old the users are.

Far as a 27-30' boat with good sleeping arrangements the best you are going to do is to get a more modern/newer design production boat with a wider beam. This is where boats like Catalina/Bene/Hunter really shrine, they make boats with good living arrangements!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
We weekend-cruised on a Martin 242 (almost identical to a J24 but without a forward hatch) for a few years in the Gulf Islands. At night, we put a plywood insert between the settees to make a seriously huge bed: it took up almost the entire interior, 6" forward of the companionway to right up against the mast. We slept athwartships, head to port and feet to starboard. The "open side" faced the stern.

I've seen one sleeping conversion, wherein the boat owner created a head-pointing-to-the-stern sleeping area between his saloon settees --- but that didn't have an open side.

I'm hoping that someone else will have created an athwartships sleeping area on a small (27' to 30') boat and will share information and photos!

(Yes, making up the bed every night can get old --- we used to vacation for two to three weeks a year in a tiny travel trailer without a dedicated sleeping space --- but the one of us who has to make up the bed every night prefers that to not having an open side!)
 

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Somewhere buried in the Pearson 28 yahoo group are descriptions of a conversion of the settee into an athwart ship double berth with two side exits, one to the head and one to the companionway.
John
 

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Many Catalina 25 owners make a huge double berth by dropping the table, bridging the settee to the table with some boards, then putting a queen sized air mattress over the whole thing.

I personally don't like converting sitting area to sleeping areas, but that is one way to make a huge berth that is open on both sides on a small boat.

I personally like a double sized quarterberth that goes under the cockpit. It provides a larger double bed than a V-berth, doesn't require converting the table every night to make up the berth, and leaves the V-berth available to guests. On our boat the quarterberth has the normal orientation because there is a huge lazarette on the starboard side. The huge lazarette is a big bonus, but it does leave the person under the cockpit with low headroom and clearance.

Some similar sized boats have the quarterberth turned 90 degrees and would give you an open space along one side, more headroom for both sides of berth. This will typically be found on newer designs that carry their beam all the way to the transom.

It is pretty easy to read in the V-berth or quarterberth on our boat, there are walls in the corner to pile some pillows up on.

If you do like converting tables to bunks then the C&C 30 has a table in the main salon that turns into a very nice double while leaving some room along one side. If I remember correctly the San Juan 30 had a pull-out berth along one side that turned into about a 1.5 person bed -- it might work for two small people who don't need a lot of room. The Yankee 30 has a very nice V-berth with edges to pile reading pillows up onto, and the main table also drops into a nice double berth. So there are plenty of good options around, and all of these are common boats in the Seattle area (my Pearson 28-2 is not).
 

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Bristol 45.5 - AiniA
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It is big 30 footer and not cheap but the Nonsuch 30 Ultra has a pullman berth. No idea how wide it is. There is also a 26 Ultra but the mast goes through the foot of the bed so one set of feet would have to go on each side.

 
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You can do what We did on our Bristol 24, I attached a stringer (1x1) along the face of both settees, then spanned the gap with a couple of planks, put in filler cushions to gain the same thickness as the settee cushions and rolled out a three inch thick memory foam mattress topper over the top. We sleep athwarts ship, it's comfy and allows a 6'4" me to stretch out on a small boat. It sets up and breaks down very quickly. I got the idea from a poster on a Bristol boats board, she called it the "Mega Bed".
 

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Hey,

My Newport 28 had two settees in the main cabin. The port would expand to a double. There was a filler sheet under cushions that had legs on one side and pins on the other to lock it in place.

My wife and I usually sleep in the V Berth. It can be difficult to get in / out of, but we don't spend that many nights aboard so we just deal with it.

Barry
 

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Mermaid Hunter
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We are going to be buying a boat 27' to 30' boat --- we can't afford, and don't want, anything longer. We are married and prefer to sleep together. A 54" width at shoulder level is enough, but we'd prefer to have at least one open side --- which suggests a sleeping surface athwartships, in the saloon.

So...

- has anyone created a sleeping area for two, with at least one open side, anywhere on their boat?
Folks earlier in this thread have described bridging the settees into a large berth. I've seen that work quite effectively. As long as the head and galley are aft of the bed there really is no need for a couple to convert back to seating during the day as long as the weather is nice.

Until you get to pretty big boats (45 feet or bigger) more conventional Pullman berths (I believe named after the old railroad sleepers and so capitalized) come with the unacceptable (to me) implication of a head all the way forward. At the risk of digression the head should be at the base of the companionway to provide wet storage, easy access from the cockpit, and reduce tramping water through the boat (including onto bedding).

- how did you make it and where do you stow the components that make up your sleeping surface, during the day?
A well designed convertible will have cushion components that are the backs of seating around the boat. Donna's air mattress is common alternative/supplement.

- if you sleep in the V-Berth, what do you prop your pillows against when you read at night?
- can you get out of the V-berth in the middle of the night without disturbing your sleeping partner? How do you do it?
These two desirable characteristics turn out to be in conflict. The more bulkhead there is to lean against the more difficult getting in and out becomes. I have seen boats with large anchor lockers on which the forward end of the v-berth was wide enough to be the pillow end which made all kinds of things easier. I don't recall seeing anything in your size range with that characteristic.

Very open plan boats like the Gozzard 31 have a unique approach to addressing these desires.

Paying attention to sleeping accommodations was very important to me in boat selection also. We ended up with a center queen aft on a 40' center cockpit. You may find some center queens forward on nearer, smaller boats. I'm not sure you'll see them in anything much below 34'.
 

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Many Catalina 25 owners make a huge double berth by dropping the table, bridging the settee to the table with some boards, then putting a queen sized air mattress over the whole thing.
We did this on our Catalina 22 just last weekend! (Minus the queen air mattress.)

We dropped the table and I cut some boards to bridge the table to the starboard settee. We used the dinette seat-back cushions to fill the bridge. It made a full-size bed that opened, kind of, to the left. It was remarkably comfortable, spacious sleeping for a 22' boat.



Maybe I should add this to the Low Buck Projects thread.
 

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Daniel - Norsea 27
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I've seen some people make extra supports between the seating spaces and throw filler cushions in to make a larger sleeping area than the v-berth.

I like that my boat was designed for the table to drop in between the seats to make a large sleeping space. I also have a couple quarterberths that make a good spot to crash too.

<a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-tHQI8RRWbc8/T5ydRknZqkI/AAAAAAAAAXE/bkW5c6aRxKs/s1600/100_1992.JPG"><IMG src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-tHQI8RRWbc8/T5ydRknZqkI/AAAAAAAAAXE/bkW5c6aRxKs/s1600/100_1992.JPG" height="10%" width="10%" border="0"></a></IMG>

<a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-4hOA2K22Raw/UYhQIU24nuI/AAAAAAAAA5o/neqA3kouFqk/s1600/IMAG0152%5B1%5D.jpg"><IMG src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-4hOA2K22Raw/UYhQIU24nuI/AAAAAAAAA5o/neqA3kouFqk/s1600/IMAG0152%5B1%5D.jpg" height="10%" width="10%" border="0"></a></IMG>
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thank you to all who have responded! There are some grand ideas here.

I've also done some Googling and found a posting on sailFar.net (Vee-Berth Blues....) which has some excellent photos of boats that have heavy arches instead of solid bulkheads --- not one of which it is likely that we can afford to buy.
 

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Laying a board between opposing settees would work on my Helms 27. But, where to stow the board when not in use?
I used 3/8" plywood and made four boards that are 12" wide and between 16" and 30" long (on a Catalina 22 the size of the gap varies from front to back). I stacked them and stowed them beneath the cockpit sole.
 

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Bristol 45.5 - AiniA
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I find it interesting that these things are called pullman (or Pullman) berths since they don't fold up onto the wall like the railway sleepers did. An aside, I have travelled across the continent (in Canada and the US) 50 years ago with berths like this. How can I be that old?!?
 
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