Friday, October 14, 2011

NKOTB - Comfort

NKOTB (New Kids On The Boat) ... A Weekly Series Sharing Our Thoughts and Questions as Beginner Sailors and Future Cruisers.  NKOTB or Experienced Cruiser ... Tell Us Your Thoughts!

Since cruising requires living on a boat, we know that some comforts that we now enjoy will be lost.  Long showers, air conditioning, a washer and dryer nearby, and even a normal flushing toilet will be missed!

To make up for the air conditioning, we plan on purchasing a few Caframo fans and a windscoop that works in any direction.  We'd also like a nice canvas tarp to cover our deck and shade us from the scorching sun.  Recently we noticed a sailboat that had a tarp draped over its deck, and we were envious!  The boat looked so cool and comfortable, and with the matching canvas it looked really good.  Of course, matching sunbrella will not be cheap but it's our understanding that those inexpensive, blue tarps don't last very long.  Perhaps we'll have to break down and make the investment once we're finally "out there".

Other than the air conditioning and the things mentioned above, comfort to us means having a place to kick back and relax while reading, watching a movie, listening to music, or playing a board game.  Our salon's settee converts to a full sized bed, or what we'll probably call a "lounging area".  We don't like to sit up straight while relaxing after the day's end, so the ability to create an area for kicking up our feet is really important to us.  We're so glad we'll be able to do this.  We've been planning on adding a 19" flat screen television to the salon, but since we'll be anchored a lot I'm wondering if an iPad with a mount on the wall would be a better idea for movies.  We could also place a mount in the v-berth ... any thoughts on this?

Our lounging area!

Of course, comfort while sleeping is crucial!  We won't be able to do a whole lot regarding interruptions during the night due to weather and other boats, but we hope to create a comfortable space in our v-berth for those nights that we do actually get some sleep.  Recently, we placed a foam mattress on top of the v-berth mattress to get rid of the feeling that we were sleeping on concrete.  It has definitely helped, and we no longer wake up feeling bruised and sore.   This is a temporary solution, and we hope to invest in a real mattress before living on our sailboat.

For me, comfort also means living in a space that is pleasing to the eye.  Perhaps my mom's career as an interior designer has rubbed off on me, but I want Nirvana to feel welcoming and cozy.  After all, it will be our home.  Personal touches in the salon (den) will make it feel like a home, but what about the v-berth?  The v-berth mattress is currently covered in a nice velour-type fabric that matches the salon.  I believe this is original, but it's in fantastic condition.  I'm happy with this and don't plan on changing it, but I wonder what others do to keep their v-berth from looking like a big mess.  When placing another mattress on top plus sheets, I wonder if we will we ever see the original cushions.   .

What do you do to keep your v-berth welcoming and a part of your "home"?  Do you remove the sheets daily?  Do you have a nice comforter and never reveal the original mattress?  Does all of this bedding get moist, and does it have to be aired out frequently?  Do you just use a sleeping bag?

Oh, and no bugs buzzing in our ears or biting us while in our home would be nice.  We don't have any screens for our hatches, but I bet Ken could whip up something for us.

I can hear the comments already . We'll probably be told that we need to forget about having a tidy place.  After all, we'll be living on a 30 foot sailboat!  I know there will be times when everything is torn apart just to get to something, but I do believe that we can keep Nirvana looking like a home with some organization.  To help us keep organized, we'll probably turn our aft-cabin into our garage and storage area.  Our settee can be used for those times when we're blessed with visits from our daughter or other guests.

There are a few simple things to bring us comfort ... real wine glasses, utensils, and those hard to break "Corelle" plates and bowls will be in our galley.  Oh, and a hammock for the deck is definitely a must!

When thinking of comfort, I wonder what other liveaboards do to create a comfortable place to lay their head or lounge.  What does comfort mean to you, and what tips do you use to get there?  Any info would be greatly appreciated

Hasta luego ... until then.  Mid-Life Cruising!

Note:  Here are the previous posts from this series.  Check them out and feel free to give us your advice.  We've really enjoyed reading your comments!


Patricia Daspit said...

Cheryl, this comment is simply to acknowledge that I read your post. Of course, being a land-lover, I've got nothing to offer in the way of advice.

I never would have dreamed that there was this much "preparation" required to live on your Nirvana. These posts have really opened my eyes.

This is your go, girl!!!

Windtraveler said...

Tidiness is definitely NOT lost at sea...our boat is always immaculate, it has to be - otherwise we'd go crazy. But to each his own I suppose. We make our bed every day our 35' boat is too small not, and we need to be able to maneuver in there to get things every day. We have a travasak sleep system and only use the bottom part, roll it up and voila! Our v-berth is always inviting. We know lots of people who leave sheets on though, again, it's a preference thing.

Sandee said...

We have a 34 foot boat and as you know spend up to two weeks at a time on her. We clean/pick up daily and yes the bedding is stowed each morning. It makes for a much better view when you do stow the bedding. It's a pain, but having things neat and orderly is the key to successful live aboard boating. You'll figure it out as you go along. Believe me.

Have a terrific weekend. :)

Paul said...

Sunbrella is in fact expensive. The cheap tarps don't hold up but there are several places that offer several grades of tarps at reasonable prices that will hold up much longer than the cheap ones.
I have an 18" TV and tiny DVD player that can run off a dedicated combination 12V battery and inverter (there are several brands of these out there).
You can have screens made for your hatches that either snap in place or use velcro. The snaps are more permanent but you have to measure accurately to install the stud part of the snaps around the hatch so that they match the part that is in the screen.

Dan N Jaye said...

Agree with Brittany - if you don't keep everything orderly in a small boat, you'll drive yourself crazy in no time! We invested in bedding that color-coordinated with the rest of the interior, and merely straighten to covers in the morning. We even have a friend (with a larger budget than ours!) who had a custom shaped comforter made from the same fabric as the rest of her upholstery - gorgeous!

Also, double-check the power usage for that flat screen. Many of the folks we know just play movies on their laptop - you sit closer to it, so it intersects the same angle of eye as a bigger screen further away ... and saves energy and $$. Most of the time, you'l lfind you're much more entertained watching the sunset or chatting with your neighbors in the anchorage than with watching the screen anyway.

Leslie Payne said...

Such a fun challenge to make a boat your home. I have chronic pain issues from an auto accident over a decade ago. My back, neck & shoulder protested the bunk life. Don't think I slept through the night that whole first cruise. egg crate foam topper, topped with a pillow top mattress cover made us a **wonderful** bunk mattress. Great combination.

Sheets stay on every day, but I prop up the mattress each morning to air. Seldom do we get under way without the bed being made and everything looking tidy.
It just feels better that way. :0)One framed photo on our shelf gives a homey touch.

Drew Frye said...

You have asked many of the right questions, so I won't add much. You've read my blog and we're on the same page.

One thing you should notice though, is how LONG it took me to get it right. I've had 2 boats, and it seems to take 2 years, though if I was full-time it would be less. This is not unique among cruisers. So be patient and make changes slowly. For some odd reason, it seems like getting the storage plan just so takes the longest.

Latitude 43 said...

Our V-berth tends to be the drop zone for everything we bring on board. We then try to go back and put things where they belong, but slackers prevail, and after a few weeks it looks quite messy. We WILL get better at staying organized.
It's always good to have two places to sleep, as your partner may be a bit noisy some nights, after several rum drinks...or red beans and rice.

S/V Veranda said...

We have Caframo fans as well as several from Hella They make a huge difference when you need them.

We thought our matress was pretty comfortable until Christy & I were discussing how sore our shoulders and hips were getting. I thought it was just me and part of getting older. We bought a 5" memory foam at Walmart and put it on top of our original mattress and its one of the best boat improvements we've made.

We also had to add a layer of Dridecks under the matress as we found that the humidity from our bodies was gathering under the mattress. Now its nice, dry and clean.

We got some great inexpensive shade cloth from the garden section at Walmart (we've never been in the pictures). The shade cloth is designed to be strung over gardens in the south. It knocks down 70% of the suns rays while letting the breeze through. It comes in various colors on a 6 foot wide roll. Some rolls were 15 feet long while others were 30 feet. We cut the lenght we wanted, hemmed the edges and hang it from the sides of our bimini and tie the lower edge to the lifelines. It also adds a measure of privacy as people can't really see in while we can see out with no problem. Ours is up about 9 months out of the year and lasts about 3 years before the sun finally beats it to death.

Linda said...

Hi Cheryl,

Brittany on Windtraveler DOES have a very tidy boat! I really think that how you live now, in your land base life, will transfer to your life aboard, albeit, in a more compact way.

As far as making the bed goes, we make our bed "lightly" everyday. It's hot in the Caribbean and we just use a bottom sheet and top sheet. I custom made the bottom sheets to fit the mattress. I also custom designed the mattress. On our blog, you can find some of the details in pictures on the Sewing on Board tab.

I purchased 6" foam at a fabric and foam company in Daytona Beach and had it custom cut to fit the shape of our sleeping berth which we had enlarged from two berths to one large berth. On top of that I placed a 4" laytex/memory foam that I purchased at Bed, Bath & Beyond. I zipped all of this into a antimicrobial mattress cover, and covered that with a mattress pad. It might sound excessive, but I like my sleep and I want to be comfortable. It is the best "bed" we have ever slept on - even without the gentle rocking in a calm bay. I did not put drydeck or anything under the mattress, we have had no issues with mold after two years. Many people say memory foam is hot, but I have not found this to be true.

My advice is go with what you like, and don't skimp on the things you like. If you like bolster pillows or throw pillows go for it. I loved my down pillows and brought them with and have not had any issues with them. I also like my "eye" pillow. We both have them to keep the sun out of our eyes in mornings.

Any other questions, don't hesitate to ask. Looking forward to seeing you out there!

Drew Frye said...

Note on the Camramo fan you linked to: I have one of that model, and it is known to go through blades. If anything jams the blade it puts a strain on the hub, and after a while the hub spins. Spares are cheap and you might want to carry one. They replace very quickly.

I like the fan; it moves a lot of air for low $$ and rather quietly. That is the benefit of not having a blade guard.

Ken n Cheryl said...

Thanks for all the great advice! We'll definitely have to address the mattress before we leave. I bet Brittany does have a very tidy boat, and I'm gonna try to do the same. I'm not relaxed if there's clutter around me!

Brittany, I've never heard of the bed system you have so I'm going to look into it.

Thanks Drew for the info about the fans! Good to hear that you're happy with it and we'll have to order some spare blades when we order the fan.

So much to think about! Although I didn't respond to now, I greatly appreciate all of your comments ... just been having computer problems lately. We really need all the advice we can get!

Steve and Lulu said...

We also have 5" of memory foam over our original v-berth mattress. Our bed is more comfortable now than our bed at home used to be and it was REALLY comfy. Lulu made custom v-shaped sheets and comforter for the bed and makes it every day. Of course, then we pile all the stuff that we have to transfer to the settee at night (sleeping bag, backpacks, etc, back o the v-berth during the day but we manage to keep one side open in case someone feels the need for a nap.

I agree about checking the amp or watt draw on that flat screen. Once you;re a anchor, you'll be amazed at how much juice even your laptop takes to stay charged. We watch movies on our laptop. It sits on the table between us while we each stretch out on our side of the u-shaped settee. In the hot Sea of Cortez summer, we sat out n the cockpit to watch our movies.


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