I’ve been taking a course every Saturday since January and it seriously put a crimp in our weekend sailing opportunities. Hubby used the time to fix the head (toilet). It’s wonderful not to be confronted by a certain  ‘bouquet’  upon descending the companionway stairs any more.

He also took the opportunity to do an oil change and engine maintenance with our friend the mechanic guiding him through the process, now he is a lot more familiar with the mysterious inner workings of the engine. He tells me that next year, I am going to do the oil change and he is going to be my teacher. That sounds interesting.

Since completing my final exam I took a boat project of my own on. For numerous reasons we have decided to switch from our ‘sultan-sized’ bunk in the aft cabin to the smaller v-birth in the bow.  We debated for ages on appropriate extraction technique of the v-birth’s 5 year old resident gremlin.  We settled with ‘Wow! Now you are old enough to move to the aft cabin. Gosh darn it, look at you – so big and what a responsibility!”….he took the bait hook line and sinker. Man, I love 5 year olds.

We have a king sized memory foam topper that has never been cut to exactly the right shape for the aft-cabin bunk. Moving the thing is like grappling with a boneless, drunk person.The operation requires the two of us, a bunch of ‘sailor-ly’ language and at least one new bruise. It was totally un-wieldy and the thought of moving the thing and the mattresses underneath in a hurry to get at any of the key things underneath (batteries, prop-shaft, fuel tank.) gives me the willies. With us moving to the v-birth it would come with us, and be huge in the smaller cabin so it was time to take on the beast.

Memory foam topper.
The beast – a king sized memory foam topper.

This is one of those projects that you either do right off the bat….or live with it not being done for years. It will drive me nuts so I’m going with the former. I’m sharing it here because it’s a common cruiser issue and this is not only a relatively easy and cheap fix, but it is a great fix. I sleep better on the boat than I do at home. I will say right here – I am not an expert at sewing. I happen to have my mothers old sewing machine and I know how to do basic stuff on it but the rest I just figure out because I’m too cheap to pay to have someone do it properly. Don’t look to closely at the handiwork!

The two v-birth mattresses.
The two v-birth mattresses.

First I cut the foam – I just used a craft knife and a pair of scissors. It was hard to do it neatly, but I hoped that the covers would hide the ugliness. The idea of the covers is that they stop the foam flopping off the mattresses. At the end of each trip we strip the beds and prop the mattresses up on their sides to air. With the foam inside the covers I can just forget about the foam as it all becomes one piece.

Foam cut and just starting to make the material cover.
Foam cut and just starting to make the material cover.

Next I measured and cut the fabric to fit. Last time I tried to make sheets I made a pattern first – that didn’t work so well for me. This time I just made it right on the cushion and it worked much better. As you can see in the picture above I just laid the fabric out and folded the corners down. I pinned the corners and marked the fabric where I wanted to cut it with one of my son’s crayola markers (they wash off super easily.)  I sewed the corners and serged all the edges with zig zag stitch to stop any fraying. (Last time I did french seams but I spent a lot of time unpicking seams that were on the wrong side of the fabric.) I used cotton curtain material because it comes in 60″ widths which was just wide enough and it’s also a heavier cotton which will help keep the thing together as it’s thrown about on the boat.

Lastly I inserted an elastic drawstring underneath and it was complete.

One cover finished and one to go.
One cover finished and one to go.

I made one for each cushion.

The covered cushions in the cabin.
The covered cushions in the cabin.

Then I made a new fitted sheet for a bed sheet. I’d made one before for A. But we aren’t so into waterproof sheets.

The fitted sheet I made.
The fitted sheet I made.

Finally I sat back on my laurels and felt happy that this onerous job wasn’t hanging over me any more. I’m not an expert sewer so I’m pretty happy to put the sewing machine away. The whole thing took me 1.5 days and I now hope to spend hours lounging in the v-birth being fed grapes, fanned and pampered by my boys….

Here are some pictures of the finished cabins.

Our finished cabin , all made up and ready for a trip away.
Our finished cabin , all made up and ready for a trip away.
A's cozy new 'big boy' cabin :)
A’s cozy new ‘big boy’ cabin 🙂

There was one more important thing to relocate to A’s new cabin….

Re installed 'monster protector' in A's new cabin.
Re installed ‘monster protector’ in A’s new cabin.

Let’s hope it’s effectiveness continues in it’s new position.

There’s an obvious post script to this post….”How was it?”.

Well, we already knew that the foam made the bed super comfy so it was more a case of whether we were going to be able to fit into the v-birth. But the results were good. Making the old bed was easily the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do on any boat, ship, or dingy I’ve sailed on. Making the v-birth is a breeze and making a single bed in the aft cabin is much easier. At the end of our trip away the v-birth packed down in minutes and the covers held the memory foam just fine allowing them to be stood up to breathe.

Hubby and I had debated for ages on what the best options were for making our boat bed comfy. He was more into buying a custom mattress. In the end we decided to try the cheap fix with the topper from Costco first. We’ve never looked back. The comfort is great and the mattresses are still light and easy to move around.

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Secrets To A Successful Slumber – My Cheap Boat Bed Fix.