Sleep Tight - Sea Berths and Lee Cloths

Sleeping well while on passage can sometimes be a challenge. Especially when the boat is on a heel or the seas are rough, sleeping in our aft cabin can be either a scrunching or a tumultuous experience. We find ourselves very uncomfortable and sometimes getting thrown out of bed, so we opt to use the saloon settees as sea berths, cradled in lee cloths. lee cloths in action

We found that the sectional settee cushions weren't all that comfortable and complained about it to each other for several passages, always forgetting to do something about it once the passage was complete. When we recently had the settee cushions re-upholstered, we also ordered a new one-piece foam mattress made that fits both the port and starboard settees. It's quite convenient to set up and infinitely more comfortable for our alternating 3-hour off-watch naps. Depending upon our tack, we switch the mattress to one side or the other.

new settee cushion

We use the lee cloths primarily on the port side since there's nothing on that side to hold us into the berth, although we have them available on both sides. Lee cloths are easy to make and last indefinitely. They're basically rectangles strung with line and firmly attached above and below to cradle you into the berth. Start with a sturdy canvas material like Sunbrella. The finished size of our lee cloths is 60” long x 18” wide. We use grommets evenly spaced about 7” apart along the top and bottom edges. David drilled holes into the settee locker access hatch boards. Using a short piece of 1/4” line, we knot one end under the board and attach it to a corresponding grommet on the bottom edge of the lee cloth.

knot through the board

We attach another longer piece of line to the grommet in the top edge of the lee cloth and secure it to the hand hold above the berth. If a handhold isn't available, cleats can be installed for a secure attachment point.

tying lee cloth to handholds

When not in use, we stow the lee cloths under the settee cushions and detach the knots through the locker boards so we still have easy access to the lockers.

lee cloths when not in use

This is an easy project. SailRite has a great YouTube instructional video if you're interested and their catalog provides all the supplies you'll need. Caution: I always find way more in the SailRite catalog than I actually need for the project I'm working on.