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in_TO

V-berth anarchy

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Sleeping in a v-berth for the first time, and sooo many questions.  Like, how do you get in without giving your partner a face full of feet?  How do you stop your pillow from falling to the sole?

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Maybe get a 2 person backpacker style tent and practice at home in the back yard? 

Seriously though, some v-berths are better than others. Ours is pretty decent and I haven't had the pillow problem, but getting in and out can be entertaining at times.

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They vary a lot boat to boat. I do remember having those some questions on my Catalina 25.

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I figured out the secret to my v-berth was to get in backwards (feet first).  I noticed that I had a much easier time getting out of the v-berth - crawling out forwards - than I did getting in.  So I decided to just reverse those steps to get in.  It works well for me.  YMMV

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Feet first isn’t an option; the berth is 3 ft off of the sole.

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13 minutes ago, in_TO said:

Feet first isn’t an option; the berth is 3 ft off of the sole.

Put in a bar overhead that you can hang onto and sort of swing in from. It makes a big difference. 

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We almost always slept up front. At 6' 2" I was just too tall to be comfy in the saloon berths, but could diagonal it in the V-berth without infringing on her turf too much.

Quote

Put in a bar overhead that you can hang onto and sort of swing in from. It makes a big difference. 

We hung the folding galley table from the overhead, the hanging brackets made great handles for the flip.

 

It's a lot easier if you leave the wedge out, but then, no cuddling overnight.

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If it's shoved up into the eyes of the boat, it's not great. On our boats the place where the cabin top joins has had sturdy grab rails. 

We have a big foredeck locker which pushes the vee berth aft to a broader part of the boat. The berth is at least 4' wide at the foot. The head is wide enough my wife and I communicate across it with handheld VHF's. 

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Years ago when we were looking at boats I watched my wife crawl into one of those high off the floor V-berths.  A reasonable height V-berth became a requirement after that.

Our current boat has a V-berth that is 1" higher than the settees.  Easy to get in and out of, and the headroom in the berth is excellent.

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Our Tartan's v-berth is fairly wide and about 3' of the deck.  We have a small seat next to the berth that I step on to get in the berth, my wife (5'-2") uses a small step that is the top of a storage locker on her side...we are both over 70, but we sleep head to foot, my head forward.  Very east to slide out at night without having to turn around to exit the berth.  I'm up quite a bit with  pee breaks due to age and prostate cancer survivor.  Works for us.

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I thought of handlebars.

Oh, and form-fitting sheets — the heartache.

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If you are having problems sleeping in the v-berth try drinking more. Woke up with five adults in the v-berth once. That was one too many....the other dude was quite unnecessary.

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6 hours ago, in_TO said:

Sleeping in a v-berth for the first time, and sooo many questions.  Like, how do you get in without giving your partner a face full of feet?  How do you stop your pillow from falling to the sole?

I made a guard from 1/8" ABS that drops down between the cushion and the aft retaining strip. It works surprisingly well to keep my pillow in place. The Admiral's side has a bulkhead so no worries there.

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Older boats needed the vee berth up some in the hull section because of hull flare forward. If the berth was low, it would be too narrow.

Modern  plumb bowed boats don't have this issue, as the topsides are essentially vertical. The berth height is likely determined by the height of a holding tank or bow thruster under. 

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1 hour ago, Cruisin Loser said:

Older boats needed the vee berth up some in the hull section because of hull flare forward. If the berth was low, it would be too narrow.

Modern  plumb bowed boats don't have this issue, as the topsides are essentially vertical. The berth height is likely determined by the height of a holding tank or bow thruster under. 

Yup. Lot's of v-berths you're sleeping over a tank of your poop. 

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9 minutes ago, Elegua said:

Yup. Lot's of v-berths you're sleeping over a tank of your poop. 

you really have no idea of what proper problems are do you ?

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13 minutes ago, Mid said:

you really have no idea of what proper problems are do you ?

Yes. What's a proper problem? 

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6 hours ago, Elegua said:

Yup. Lot's of v-berths you're sleeping over a tank of your poop. 

 

6 hours ago, Mid said:

you really have no idea of what proper problems are do you ?

 

5 hours ago, Elegua said:

Yes. What's a proper problem? 

Guessing its an autocorrect problem: Should it not read Pooper Problem? - which by rights is a Proper Problem - so it really should read as a Proper Pooper Problem - now say that 5 times in a row post 4th July celebrations.........!

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On 7/4/2020 at 11:28 AM, Alex W said:

Put in a bar overhead that you can hang onto and sort of swing in from. It makes a big difference. 

There is also the Tarzan method, using a sturdy vine attached to the top of the mast. Stand on the stern rail, swing, feet first, through the open (and not offset) companionway, through the saloon, and into the v-berth, and Bob's your uncle. Here's some technique, and an idea of what you can expect.

 

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Yup.   PIA.  Ours is "bulkheaded", but getting in and out it is an issue  in the middle of the night (mostly me) as  I have long legs even for my over- height.   Thankfully The Better Half is a LIGHT sleeper so when she hears the initial blanket rustling, she ducks and covers as I grab the (inevitably open) forward hatch lip and do somewhat of a air spin.  Works but if I were to ever connect...

It is the only reason why I may consider another boat.  My kingdom for an island berth.  

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You guys need to try getting into the upper pipe cot in the quarter birth. Ideally the windward one, at 3 in the morning while going to upwind in 25 knots, alteratively at 3 in the morning when you get back from the bar.

Then you'll realise that the v birth is actually a piece of piss.

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Anyone decide to change a v-berth into an enlarged chain locker in the fwd part with proper stowage for sails higher up and other storage below in the aft part? Seems like for a singlehanded cruiser, especially offshore, it's often ill-used, not very helpful space. Most of the crap usually ends up there anyhow, but just in a pile and hard to access.

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Vaeredil: Some boats have a good setup for that.  I've seen ones where the V-berth bottoms fold up against the wall or come out, leaving a more easily organized space.

I try not to keep many sails in the V-berth because weight up there doesn't seem to be good for our performance.  I can see the boat sit bow down a bit just at the dock if I throw a couple of headsails up there.  It's a lot of volume over a very small area of water.

I've always prioritized buying boats with good quarterberths since they are nice for storage and for cruising.  Our Express 37 has no cockpit lockers which means it has two huge quarterberths that connect across into one queen sized quarterberth for cruising or hold a lot of our sails.  7 years ago I ruled out a C&C 30 that I was looking at because it had no quarterberths, just huge cockpit lockers.

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4 hours ago, European Bloke said:

You guys need to try getting into the upper pipe cot in the quarter birth. Ideally the windward one, at 3 in the morning while going to upwind in 25 knots, alteratively at 3 in the morning when you get back from the bar.

Then you'll realise that the v birth is actually a piece of piss.

We have those upper quarter berths. They're easier to use if you ease off the angle-adjusting tackles beforehand and snug it up after you're in, using the upward surge of the boat on a wave to really make it cozy.  Makes it so we can sleep four to windward on either tack. With the pull-out settee making a double, and the lower quarter-berths being pretty wide, there's sleepover room for eleven, all told. Just one head though.  Our v-berths have a deep enough V that you can sit and swing your feet up without kicking the other person.  A rail to hang from is a good idea too, though it could reduce headroom. 

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6 hours ago, Alex W said:

Vaeredil: Some boats have a good setup for that.  I've seen ones where the V-berth bottoms fold up against the wall or come out, leaving a more easily organized space.

I try not to keep many sails in the V-berth because weight up there doesn't seem to be good for our performance.  I can see the boat sit bow down a bit just at the dock if I throw a couple of headsails up there.  It's a lot of volume over a very small area of water.

I've always prioritized buying boats with good quarterberths since they are nice for storage and for cruising.  Our Express 37 has no cockpit lockers which means it has two huge quarterberths that connect across into one queen sized quarterberth for cruising or hold a lot of our sails.  7 years ago I ruled out a C&C 30 that I was looking at because it had no quarterberths, just huge cockpit lockers.

We had to fit our V berth into an old race boat that had a false floor and nothing else, just sail storage.

So two big storage bins with a central vertical partition, hinged tops that fold out and hold the mattresses against the hull sides.

Nothing lost with the berth, we always had  the central panel in place when we slept in previous boats.

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On 7/4/2020 at 8:24 AM, in_TO said:

Sleeping in a v-berth for the first time, and sooo many questions.  Like, how do you get in without giving your partner a face full of feet?  How do you stop your pillow from falling to the sole?

I/we roll over to face the hull while the partner climbs in and does the "v-berth dance" to get in the prone position. This avoids a face full of ass, feet or whatever.

My v-berth has bulkheads that partition off the head, so there's just a narrow entrance with bi-fold doors into the v-berth that my wife calls "the birth (berth) canal."  She jokes that she feels like she's being born when she pops through the opening into the v-berth or vice-versa. We prop our pillows up on the bulkheads so they don't fall to the cabin sole.

There are generally two tactics to sleeping on boats-  The v-berth is your "boudoir" or it's your garage. If you opt for the garage configuration, you're re-configuring the main salon area for sleeping each night. Not really a big deal, depending on your furniture and the layout.

Here's a tip- if you keep the v-berth for sleeping, invest in the Froli sleep system: https://www.defender.com/product.jsp?id=3970168

They sell kits for v-berths and sometimes have sales. A memory foam brick from Amazon on top of the Froli and you'll sleep better on the boat than you do in your bed in the house.

Fitted sheets- yeah...haven't found a good solution for that, yet.  I have found Columbia "wicking" bed sheets that are GREAT for hot, sticky, Chesapeake summer nights. Think Under Armour for bed sheets...only better. Not as slippery.  Summer nights on the Chesapeake are filled with "Don't touch me." "I'm not touching you. You're sticky."

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On 7/4/2020 at 10:25 AM, Cruisin Loser said:

If it's shoved up into the eyes of the boat, it's not great. On our boats the place where the cabin top joins has had sturdy grab rails. 

We have a big foredeck locker which pushes the vee berth aft to a broader part of the boat. The berth is at least 4' wide at the foot. The head is wide enough my wife and I communicate across it with handheld VHF's. 

"Are you sleeping, over"

"No, over"

"What are you wearing, over"

..........

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Sounds like Unzud foreplay...

'You awake?....

Rolls over to saddle up.. in the V berth..

Crash! ... Thud! .. as someone falls out of V berth and lands on head..

 

 

 

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On 7/6/2020 at 6:46 PM, Bull City said:

There is also the Tarzan method, using a sturdy vine attached to the top of the mast. Stand on the stern rail, swing, feet first, through the open (and not offset) companionway, through the saloon, and into the v-berth, and Bob's your uncle. Here's some technique, and an idea of what you can expect.

 

Wrestling a lion and hippos remind me of some of the most amazing experiences you can have in berths.

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Just now, mathystuff said:

Wrestling a lion and hippos remind me of some of the most amazing experiences you can have in berths.

The 'strayan expression 'Brace yourself, Sheila!!' comes to mind...

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We used a small two step platform sold to help people get up and on their four poster (Rice) beds.

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On 7/4/2020 at 11:28 AM, Alex W said:

Put in a bar overhead that you can hang onto and sort of swing in from. It makes a big difference. 

Thanks for that tip! Gonna need one in my Centaur. Sure, I've got two quarter berths, but the one's hidden 'hind the dinette (I've got an 'A' layout). That could use an overhead bar, too... gonna take a contortionist to get in and out, even with the bar.

Still trying to figure out whether I want to have one fitted sheet to cover all the v-berth cushions, or one for each section. The former is easier to sew, but is gonna be a trick to put on. The latter's easier to install, but I'm not sure how it's going to affect comfort, and certainly won't make it easier to design...

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1 hour ago, The Lucky One said:

Thanks for that tip! Gonna need one in my Centaur. Sure, I've got two quarter berths, but the one's hidden 'hind the dinette (I've got an 'A' layout). That could use an overhead bar, too... gonna take a contortionist to get in and out, even with the bar.

Still trying to figure out whether I want to have one fitted sheet to cover all the v-berth cushions, or one for each section. The former is easier to sew, but is gonna be a trick to put on. The latter's easier to install, but I'm not sure how it's going to affect comfort, and certainly won't make it easier to design...

Cut a piece of memory foam big enough to cover them both and put the sheet on it. 100% increase in comfort.

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Would make accessing the storage underneath awkward, though. Everything's a compromise... and if everything's compromised, it's a pain in the arse. Just a matter of balancing it out. I'll try the separate cushions for now (they're in decent shape), 'til I figured out how often I'm accessing that forward storage. If I'm rarely accessing it, I can put up with more hassle.

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I have large v berth and works just fine. I do use dry bunk or Hypervent material you can buy the roll at some marine dealers. The SO works as a retirement hobby job in linen store. The owner is a sailor too. The stuff works very well for unwanted moisture. Got the stuff years ago and never worried about it since. We have a latex topper at home but going to redo the upholstery/bedding on the boat next winter. A fitted latex topper and dry bunk is on top of the list. I don't think we need to replace the dry bunk piece and it's cheap anyway.

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Posted (edited)

My V-berth is pretty small and you definitely have to do a dance in and out. When operating as a stabbin' cabin you're pretty limited to missionary unless you go in head first with your legs hanging off the after end so your female companion can get up top and stick their torso out of the hatch :)

When that isn't an option I usually fold out the settee into the double berth and turn the V-berth into storage.

Edit: Illustration added because I'm bored at work.

image.png.682aa995de4ae7fe320f1ba02c05b923.png 

Edited by climenuts
Illustration Added
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13 minutes ago, climenuts said:

My V-berth is pretty small and you definitely have to do a dance in and out. When operating as a stabbin' cabin you're pretty limited to missionary unless you go in head first with your legs hanging off the after end so your female companion can get up top and stick their torso out of the hatch :)

Once saw a little sign on a quarter berth, like Disneyland: "You must be this short for this ride ☞"

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27 minutes ago, climenuts said:

My V-berth is pretty small and you definitely have to do a dance in and out. When operating as a stabbin' cabin you're pretty limited to missionary unless you go in head first with your legs hanging off the after end so your female companion can get up top and stick their torso out of the hatch :)

When that isn't an option I usually fold out the settee into the double berth and turn the V-berth into storage.

Edit: Illustration added because I'm bored at work.

image.png.682aa995de4ae7fe320f1ba02c05b923.png 

Someone needs to write one of those dummies books for positions in a V berth.

 

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1 hour ago, olaf hart said:

Someone needs to write one of those dummies books for positions in a V berth.

I know at least 6 that work just fine.

FKT

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On 7/7/2020 at 5:54 AM, Ajax said:

Fitted sheets

 

On 7/9/2020 at 7:11 PM, The Lucky One said:

Still trying to figure out whether I want to have one fitted sheet to cover all the v-berth cushions, or one for each section. The former is easier to sew, but is gonna be a trick to put on.

 

Lordy.

 

Queen sheets.

Tuck the extra around the edges so it's tight. Not that complicated.

 

Also, if you think your v-birth is tight, try it with a six-foot wife and a two year-old who still sleeps with mom and dad, and likes to turn sideways at about 2am and dance the polka on whatever part of your anatomy is handy.

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I opted for the separate sheets around each cushion. Easier to get to the storage ‘neath them, and I don’t mind sleeping on the separate sheets.

I believe I’m gonna need all the storage I can get to, on a 26’ boat...

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On 7/7/2020 at 7:54 AM, Ajax said:

my wife calls "the birth (berth) canal." 

Funny -- my wife calls the quarter berth on our wee Hunter 26.5 the "after birth".

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On our first boat the q.berth was the torpedo tube. When rolling over your shoulder would touch the overhead.

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For a season I was the owner of a Swan 40. The aft cabin was more like a tomb. Not good for claustrophobics.

Or the upper quarter berth on another S&S 44'er with the drive for the winches crossing over just by your marriage equipment.

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