Saturday, August 25, 2012

Square Peg, Round Hole


Well, actually, triangular hole.  The designers of boats our size are faced with a dilemma – how to effectively use the space in the bow.  Constrained by the shape of the hull, it doesn’t have sufficient headroom to stand up in, and it comes to a point. The most common solution is to make it sleeping space, generally referred to as the v-berth because if there is one bunk on each side, their toes come together at the point of the bow, making a “V” shape on the floor plan.
The layout of our boat, from the original advertising brochure.   

Here’s what our v-berth looks like in person.  We’ve added a trapezoidal cushion to turn the two separate bunks into one triangular king-size bed.  It works great, plenty of space, and because it spans the hull, you can’t fall out of bed even in bouncy conditions.  Except.  The average American bed sheet is rectangular.
V-berth, looking forward

Inspired by some instructions found on the internet, we decided to take advantage of our time here on the hard to custom-tailor a set of sheets for our unique application.  We’re not sleeping in the v-berth anyway because the air conditioner we’re using here is not powerful enough to cool the entire boat.  It can (barely) keep up with just the main cabin, so we’ve been sleeping on the foldout settees there (pictures here).  We took the v-berth cushions out of the boat and laid them on the floor of our marina’s party pavilion, then laid a set of regular king-size sheets on top.  Even though our first attempt was on a set of old sheets that would need to be replaced soon, taking a scissors to the material was daunting!  The actual project went pretty easily, and we learned enough on the first part of it to be positively cheery about cutting and sewing the second set of sheets.
Laying out the sheets over the triangular cushions was easy, but making that first scissors cut was daunting.

I once read a story of a woman who was a very poor housekeeper.  She was given the gift of a beautiful lily.  She brought the flower home and put it in a vase.  But in contrast to the perfection of the flower, the vase appeared smeared and dirty (which it was).  She thought, “I cannot have that lovely flower’s beauty dimmed by that dingy vase,” so she cleaned the vase until it sparkled and put the flower back.  “There,” she thought, as she stood back to admire her effort.   “A vase worthy of that pretty blossom.”  Then she put the vase and flower on the table.  You guessed it – now the bright flower in the shiny vase made the dust on the table all the more visible by comparison, so she cleaned the table.  The table in turn inspired her to clean the rest of the room, and the room, the rest of the house.

Similarly, as long as we were working on the bed, we decided to clean the now-empty v-berth, and take off the cushion covers and wash them as well.  Really not for the faint of heart; when we got the covers stripped we found a cringe-worthy growth of mold on the foam.  Fortunately neither of us are allergy-prone.  Three laundry loads and half a bottle of Amazon Amazing Mildew Away later, we were ready to reassemble our bedroom.
"Uh, babe? You don't want to see this ..."

Here’s what we learned: It really is a lot easier to make the bed with custom-fitted sheets.   On the other hand, it’s crazy-challenging to try and fold the darn things to store them.  Now, I think I’ll head off and cut myself a bouquet of lilies.
Reward time!
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