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Old 28-10-2016, 07:30   #1
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Centerline or athwartship - does it matter?

I would like some input from those who have spent a lot of time on their boats.. Up to this point I have been a staunch believer in centerline berths.. To me, there are few things more soothing than to be rocked (side to side) to sleep.. And I sleep best on my boat.. All of the boats on which I have spent any time sleeping have had centerline berths..

However I see so many very nice boats with athwart ship berths.. I don't like these for 2 reasons.. 1) most are set up so you have to crawl over your partner to get into bed.. 2) I would think the rocking motion of the boat would cause the body to rock head to toe (vs side to side), and thus be more prone to a queasy stomach.

While point 1 can be lived with, point 2 gives me pause for concern. I wish I could spend a couple nights on a boat with athwart ship berth to really see if it would be a problem or is it just some prejudice in my head..

So I must turn to the collective wisdom of the list for experiences.. While I realize this isn't cut and dry and is bad to one isn't bad to another, but please reply with tales of your own.. Thanks mucho in advance.. flk k
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Old 28-10-2016, 07:45   #2
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Re: Centerline or athwartship - does it matter?

While the opinions of others may be helpful, in the end it's your inner ear that has to make the call. Or the inner ear & sensibilities of your partner. So you might look into chartering or renting a boat which has an athwartships berth.

For me, the directionality of thing isn't much of an issue at anchor. It's underway that you need to really ponder on. As past a certain degree of heel you'll be sleeping standing up, or standing on your head. And even at surprisingly low angles of heel you'll spend half of your time asleep being 1/2 awake, attempting to hold onto the bunk so as not to slide downhill.
It's frustrating, disconcerting, & very tiring. Enough so you can wind up with a dangerously tired crew on a passage of any length.

Also, at times with such berths you'll be forced to have your head & feet swap positions on the bunk due to the angle of heel. And when doing so you'll wind up with your head in the part of the bunk which has very little vertical space overhead. Which many people find to be unpleasant to the degree that the bunk is intolerable. Even when at anchor.
You can mock up an approximation of what that feels like on any bunk, or even over your bed at home. So it's a cheap test.
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Old 28-10-2016, 07:51   #3
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Re: Centerline or athwartship - does it matter?

Personally prefer athwartships, having said that my bunk is fore and aft, and I just stick a life jacket under my mattress when the heel is trying to roll me out of bed.
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Old 28-10-2016, 07:57   #4
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Re: Centerline or athwartship - does it matter?

For bluewater passage making I would recommend centreline / inline with lee clothes. One of the worst arrangements is island queen berths with no lee clothes.

The big downside of athwartships berths is having to climb over your partner if you get the inside spot. This also applies to pullman berths.
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Old 28-10-2016, 09:28   #5
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Re: Centerline or athwartship - does it matter?

Not a fan of athwartships, mostly for your reason #1 though. It's more of a PITA than you might think.
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Old 28-10-2016, 09:31   #6
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Re: Centerline or athwartship - does it matter?

Quote:
Originally Posted by liveaboard60 View Post
1) most are set up so you have to crawl over your partner to get into bed..
This is reason enough to have athwartship bunks. Crawling over your partner is a wonderful thing. You should try it.
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Old 28-10-2016, 09:39   #7
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Re: Centerline or athwartship - does it matter?

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most are set up so you have to crawl over your partner to get into bed...
My wife and I are both of a "certain age" wherein we tend to get up multiple times during the night. As such, for us, having to crawl over one another is simply not acceptable.
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Old 28-10-2016, 09:44   #8
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Re: Centerline or athwartship - does it matter?

One of the offshore tugs I worked on a number of years ago had athwartships berths. I hated them, miserable for sleeping in. It was a brief fad back in the 70's I have not see any workboats built that way since. I much prefer berths oriented fore and aft.
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Old 28-10-2016, 10:11   #9
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Re: Centerline or athwartship - does it matter?

Oh, I had to laugh.. hamburking pointed out how nice it is to crawl over your partner is wonderful - and I do agree, it is wonderful, but then denverd0n saw the real deal.. Yes crawling over your partner is very nice then first time or two.. But 2 to 3 times a night, every night is a bit "much" <LOL>..


UNCIVILIZED You make good points.. On the 82' cutter on which I spent time, we had 2 sets of seat belt which kept us in our racks (as if anyone really thought we'd get a nice nights sleep all safe and buckled in <LOL>)..


Those days are long gone, I mostly stay awake when underway.. Maybe a catnap between overnight watches while my mate is at the stick, but I wouldn't consider rack time..

Thanks guys.. I think my initial thinking was correct.. flk k
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Old 28-10-2016, 10:29   #10
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Re: Centerline or athwartship - does it matter?

So I must turn to the collective wisdom of the list for experiences.. While I realize this isn't cut and dry and is bad to one isn't bad to another, but please reply with tales of your own.. Thanks mucho in advance.. flk k[/QUOTE]


Being Ex Navy, I vote for fore and aft and not on a bunk but in a hammock, best sleep you can get no matter what the wx or sea state!!

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Old 28-10-2016, 12:52   #11
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Re: Centerline or athwartship - does it matter?

I'm usually sleeping fore and aft in our V-berth, but if we are one at the helm and one napping below, I adjust for the movement of the boat. Our V-berth is large enough to accommodate 6'6" all around the clock. I like my head on the high side with a heel.

Our aft cabin has a large U-shaped option athwartship or fore & aft, but we usually choose the bow for better ventilation.
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Old 28-10-2016, 13:03   #12
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Re: Centerline or athwartship - does it matter?

I've got a cat, so my point of view may differ. I have both sorts of bunks.

Centerline you get rolled side to side in a beam sea. There are bolsters on both sides, so I'm not going anywhere, but it wakes me up.

Athwartship the motion is more vertical, like being pressed down in the bunk by extra gravity, very soothing. I've spent time flat on my back underway with a back injury, and only the athwartship bunk provides any peace.

Yes, you have to crawl over your partner. Since I get up to check on things and she does not, I sleep on the outside. No big deal. If it bothered me I would move to another bunk. I sometimes do that if it's hot anyway. I do kind of wish they were king size; in hot weather space is good, and on a cat you don't roll in bed, even underway.
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Old 28-10-2016, 13:21   #13
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Re: Centerline or athwartship - does it matter?

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I've got a cat, so my point of view may differ. I have both sorts of bunks.

Centerline you get rolled side to side in a beam sea................
........................... and on a cat you don't roll in bed, even underway.
I must have misunderstood something, but I'm sure you're right in pointing out that the motion would be different on the catamaran.
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Old 28-10-2016, 14:23   #14
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Re: Centerline or athwartship - does it matter?

Definitely would not consider any athwart ship berths as 'sea berths'. For passage making you must have enough proper sea berths that hold people in place, ie narrow with lea cloths or boards. A wider more 'bed like' is great in habour but is, for me, definitely a luxury addition. Having said that I have slept in the athwart berths underway and on a reach they are comfortable. On a beat or a rough weather run they are can be untenable. A lot depends on the boat and how much she heels.
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Old 28-10-2016, 14:32   #15
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Re: Centerline or athwartship - does it matter?

athwartship berths are absolutely beautiful and wonderful in every way!
(at the boat show.)
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