Frankenmattress part 1

A new mattress... We bought a new mattress today. We've had our current foam mattress since we bought the boat nearly 13 years ago, but I imagine what we've been sleeping on is the original one – 26 years old. It's lumpy and thin with permanent indentations from our bodies. The mattress industry calls this sag and fatigue and they're right on. After waking up most mornings with backaches and lame, sore body parts, we decided to take the plunge. It was time to invest in some sleeptime comfort.

Do you remember Nine of Cups Rule #1? Nothing's ever easy on a boat. So... you can't just walk into a mattress store, choose one and you're sleeping comfy that night. No, no, no … it could never be that easy. The berth is basically a queen-size, but it's not rectangular in shape. The odd shape contours to the hull and best utilizes the available space, but makes it a bit more difficult when trying to replace the mattress. There are odd angles and chamfers to deal with.

First off, we can never make an investment such as this one without David spending a month to research it. I research where we're going and our itineraries; David researches pretty much everything we buy. He's an engineer. He collects and analyzes every detail, every option, every price. He does time and cost projections and then, and only then, does he make a presentation to the first mate with his analysis and conclusion. It's hard to question such logic and comprehensiveness.

He concluded that we had two options. The first was to buy a custom-made mattress. He contacted two Australian companies who do this. They would, at great cost and shipping expense, create a custom mattress for us. They could not actually guarantee it would fit and our sole recourse if it wasn't right was to “send it back and we'll make the necessary modifications.” Add to that the fact we weren't sure we could bend it enough to get it through the companionway plus the time factor involved and this was a no-go option.

The second option...locate a reputable mattress store in Hobart, visit them and find a mattress we liked, buy it and modify it to fit our berth. After significant research, David determined that either a “pocket spring” mattress or foam would be our best bet or perhaps a combination of the two. It looked as if we could modify either one ourselves with a “modicum” of effort. David and I define “modicum” differently.

I might add here that David is fearless when it comes to tackling any project. Whether it's replacing a half ton engine while at the dock in Opua, removing the teak and resurfacing the decks in South America or making pretzels from scratch ... he's the man. This is an admirable trait which I love and sometimes hate. It meshes well with our philosophies of frugality and self-reliance. It doesn't always play well with convenience nor my tendency towards laziness.

We borrowed the marina courtesy van one day and spent the entire day looking at, laying on and testing mattresses in and around greater Hobart. Not my idea of a fun day. Do we like soft, firm or extra firm? How do we know? We've been sleeping on a foam mattress with sag for the past decade. We finally settled on a Hamptons Contour from Sleepy's across the Tasman Bridge in Cambridge. Wayne and Sandra are the owners. They're knowledgeable and helpful. We ended up ordering the pocket spring mattress, extra foam and a heavy-duty mattress cover. Sleepy's mattresses are locally made in Launceston, Tasmania and it would be available in about a week.

To be continued...