Lee Cloths

Fastened to bunk board by aluminum strip in the hem, 6 ft long. Top not yet fastened.

Crew underway need to wake up where they laid down, sounds reasonable right? Too often berths on boats are wide, or on the high side, or as is a recent trend are large beds with half open sides. Twenty-two inch wide bunks with a board of wood along the side just aren’t popular.

Even a double bed in the boat needs to be divided. It might appear cozy to share however on a sloping bed gravity will soon have one person being crushed. Ideally the mattress will be split in two and cloth divider can be erected to divide the space.

A handy tip it so have pockets sewn into the lee cloth, then a favourite magazine or book can be nearby. This Sailrite video shows a good example, wrt their example, I like to see the securing points much stronger. I’ve slept in conditions where the boat was occasionally pinned over while hove to, and that is not the time for a cloth to break on you.

When making your own, the two weak points are attaching the bottom and top. I’ve lots count how many lee cloths on boats I delivered were inadequate for real passages, enough so that I often slept on the sole to avoid breaking the lee cloth. My preferred way for attaching the bottom, is to slide in a 3/4 piece of aluminum into the hem and fasten through that several pan head screws with washers, or even bolt it through the wood if acceptable.

To save fabric people often make the lee cloth 4 or so feet long, I feel they should be full length of the bunk, or at least full length from the head to the shins of an adult, it really is very annoying to have your pillow fall down half way through sleeping.

Categories: Safety, Sewing

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