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Old 08-05-2011, 15:42   #1
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Installing Lee Cloths

I am re-installing lee cloths that the PO had had, in the salon.

The PO had had the lee cloth attached to the inner vertical surface of the lip of wood that keeps the cushion on the berth. What I do not like about that is that when the cloth is not in use, then folding it down to stow under the cushion will leave two thicknesses of cloth between the cushion's edge, and the lip. (The two thicknesses being: 1) the part that is attached to the lip, and 2) the part that is folded down against that, so that the rest can then lie under the cushion.)

I would rather that the lee cloth be attached down on to the bunk plywood, not the lip. It would be held on by short but wide screws, thru big washers, thru the grommets in these West Marine ready-made lee cloths. Lets call the first 1.5" of width of the lee cloth the "grommet-row." When not in use, the bulk of the cloth will fold outward over the grommet row, and stow under the cushion. When in use, the upward pull of the cloth (other than the grommet row) is at a right angle to the grommet row and the bunk.

This does put upward pull on the screws, whereby the PO's method put lateral pull on them. My guess is that lateral is stronger, but isn't my method strong enough?

And another question. The bunk is 6.5 feet long. The lee cloth is 5 feet long. Should I put the bulk of the non-clothed-part at the foot of the berth? It would seem to me that you want good lateral support for the sleeper's head/pillow, no? Except for a little peep/air space? Maybe leave 6" un-clothed at the head, and a 12" at the foot.

As you can probably tell, I have yet to sleep in a lee-clothed bunk "in anger." We have just used our starboard side pseudo-double berth underway, which, in the double mode, abuts the folded down salon table leaf, which makes for a serious lee restraint.


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Old 08-05-2011, 16:00   #2
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Re: Installing Lee Cloths

See William (Bill) Seifert's "Offshore Sailing: 200 Essential Passagemaking Tips" for a good lee cloth design. NOTE: I have yet to use his design, but I offered this reference in good conscience because he is an industry recognized expert. Also, I have heard that tight netting can be cooler in the tropics than canvas-like cloth.

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Old 08-05-2011, 16:01   #3
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Re: Installing Lee Cloths

My lee cloths are fixed in same manner as you intend (to the bunk plywood - not the lip)....except rather than screws and washers through the lee cloth I fixed the edge down with a length of wood (and screwed through that to the bunk - making a lee cloth sandwich).

Probably a bit overkill - but I didn't fancy ever repairing a torn lee cloth fixing.
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Old 08-05-2011, 16:03   #4
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Re: Installing Lee Cloths

I'm thinking we a need a picture here. Netting can hold as well as cloth if the size of the net is large enough. You don't need too many points of attachment to support a large person.
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Old 08-05-2011, 21:41   #5
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Re: Installing Lee Cloths

I've run a bungie cord through the top and bottom of my netting and only attach them at each of the 4 corners. To get in/out of the berth I can detach one upper corner, or I can just stretch down the top to put stuff in/out of the berth.
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Old 09-05-2011, 04:50   #6
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I've yet to see a good strong installation I'm a big guy and the key issue is strength. The next is the ability to get out fast.

Ideally the cloth should be fixed to the rear of the bunk, ie passes under the whole cushion. So that your weight helps to secure it. The fitting to the ceiling or whatever needs to very strong and rigid ( no bungies) Toy lee cloths defeats the whole purpose. Make sure they are of adequate height so that you can never fall out ( even in a knock down)

The outer trim of a typical bunk is no where near strong enough in my experience. Even the plywood base is suspicious especially if it is removable.

I like to leave as much of my legs free so that I can slide out. In fact my ideal cloth would leave a gap from my waist down to my feet as this allows me to stick my knees out which I like to do, yet my ankles are held in by the cloth.

On a rolly downwinder the key thing is to prevent body movement as I find that's the key thing for me. So stuff the berth with cushions so you're wedged between them and the Lee cloths. In one delivery I just used 2" webbing to "strap" me to the berth. It rendered me immobile. ( however the dreams got very very wierd!!!).

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Old 16-05-2011, 01:21   #7
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Re: Installing Lee Cloths

There are some very good pointers here:

I suggest you also follow the link to her blog, as there are some very good photos as well. Not just for babies!
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Old 16-05-2011, 05:20   #8
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Re: Installing Lee Cloths

I had some made for The Belle of Virginia. The lower attachment points were nylon webbing under the settee cushions using grommets and large washers and screwed into the plywood structure. Very sturdy. They also had a snap-on mesh bag to stow watch gear.

You might be able to rig up straps like that for yours.

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