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Old 05-11-2017, 17:53   #1
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Using a hammock during a sailing passage

I've used a hammock above deck while anchored but wonder how comfortable (or not) they are down below in a seaway. Do they make seasickness more or less likely and any advice/experience stringing them athwartships vs fore-and-aft?
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Old 05-11-2017, 19:51   #2
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Re: Using a hammock during a sailing passage

Due to space constraints, I suspect that few people have strung a hammock down below. However, my instinct would be to string it catacorner, so that the boat would have to pitch and roll at the same time to cause mischief.
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Old 05-11-2017, 20:44   #3
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Re: Using a hammock during a sailing passage

Ive used a hammock above deck between mast and forestay and it starts to rock with almost no roll at all. Perhaps hanging it on the diagonal would help to minimise rocking. But you definitely need a way to dampen the rocking. Im not sure about sleeping for a longer period in a hammock - doesnt the curve really mess up your back?

But the reality of hammocks as used by the old British Navy was not about care for their sailors - it was a pragmatic solution to having no fitted furniture on the gun decks. Watch Master and Commander and pay attention to the between decks scenes. Not comfortable.
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Old 06-11-2017, 04:24   #4
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Re: Using a hammock during a sailing passage

^^ A hammock can be slept flat in if one lies in it diagonally. Some people spend their whole lives sleeping in hammocks. So if the hammock is hung catacorner, and one lies diagonally in it, it might be the best solution. Though space to hang it in a cruising boat might still be an issue.
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Old 06-11-2017, 09:36   #5
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Re: Using a hammock during a sailing passage

I have only used a small hammock for fruit, but I guess it provides it's own lee cloth support.
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Old 06-11-2017, 09:46   #6
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Re: Using a hammock during a sailing passage

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Originally Posted by fxykty View Post
Ive used a hammock above deck between mast and forestay and it starts to rock with almost no roll at all. Perhaps hanging it on the diagonal would help to minimise rocking. But you definitely need a way to dampen the rocking. Im not sure about sleeping for a longer period in a hammock - doesnt the curve really mess up your back?

But the reality of hammocks as used by the old British Navy was not about care for their sailors - it was a pragmatic solution to having no fitted furniture on the gun decks. Watch Master and Commander and pay attention to the between decks scenes. Not comfortable.
For dampening you might use a bungee attached to the "bed" area of the hammock, and then down to the floor or out to a wall. I don't think it would take much to dampen the swaying, so long as the resting position maintained a slight tension on the bungee.
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Old 06-11-2017, 10:08   #7
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Re: Using a hammock during a sailing passage

I spent 60 days cruising on the US Coast Guard Eagle. All of the cadets slept in hammocks, below deck, that were hung fore and aft. All of the hammocks swung side to side in a rolling sea. Even though they were only 12" apart, the hammocks never touched one another. I slept like a baby....even in very bad weather.
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Old 06-11-2017, 11:11   #8
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Re: Using a hammock during a sailing passage

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Originally Posted by Mirror16 View Post
I've used a hammock above deck while anchored but wonder how comfortable (or not) they are down below in a seaway. Do they make seasickness more or less likely and any advice/experience stringing them athwartships vs fore-and-aft?


I slept in a hammock for over two years while aboard a tribal destroyer while in the RCN. Best sleep you can get at sea. String fore and aft and sleep with head fwd. hard on the kidneys if you are a heavy drinker (of any fluids). Get a set of good mick sticks, recommend 24" for shoulders and 14-18" for feet. Not recommended for cohabitation We would also sling them out on deck while in the tropics, duty watch would wake us in case of storms or rough sea.
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Old 06-11-2017, 13:32   #9
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Re: Using a hammock during a sailing passage

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I slept in a hammock for over two years while aboard a tribal destroyer while in the RCN. Best sleep you can get at sea. String fore and aft and sleep with head fwd. hard on the kidneys if you are a heavy drinker (of any fluids). Get a set of good mick sticks, recommend 24" for shoulders and 14-18" for feet. Not recommended for cohabitation We would also sling them out on deck while in the tropics, duty watch would wake us in case of storms or rough sea.


What are mick sticks? Do you mean spreader bars?

This thread is making me reconsider my reflexive dislike of hammocks on a boat. I assume were talking about mesh as the hammock material?
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Old 06-11-2017, 15:31   #10
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Re: Using a hammock during a sailing passage

My mick was not mesh, rough canvas, 30 wide X 60 long and 12 or 15 clues at each end, you slung them from hammock rods fixed into the hull athwarp ship. We used a mick stick under the head clues to keep it flat and inside the clues at the foot so it would form kind of a sack. We had to roll them every morning on wakie and stow them in the mick rack. When sleeping fore and aft the ship can rock and roll in heavy seas and you basically stayed level but when she is pounding into the seas you rise and fall with her. Still have a mick that my GGDs love sleeping in at a camp site
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Old 06-11-2017, 15:45   #11
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Re: Using a hammock during a sailing passage

We usually hung our hammock from the inboard end of the davits, aft of the cockpit (on a catamaran) above the platform between the hulls just aft of the cockpit. Great at anchor or underway in calm conditions (but - not without both the AIS personal rescue beacon AND one of the (Raymarine) MOB alarm fobs!).....
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Old 06-11-2017, 16:26   #12
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Re: Using a hammock during a sailing passage

Hello All. I have frequently used a hammock below decks, especially on old woodies and bigger square-riggers. I ALWAYS rig hammock fore and aft and I prefer feet fore if in a lighter vessel or bigger sea. Canvass type hammock WITHOUT spreaders is most comfortable for me as there is no "tilt". It is for solo sleeping only and is easy to get used to. But it does feel like a "cuddle" while sleeping. I sleep very well with no bouncing around or difficult edges this way. However this sleeping is not the best in the Tropics where body ventilation is essential. Do ensure you have good hand grips above and good "feet first" technique to hope in and out. Sleep very well. Cheers all. A
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Old 06-11-2017, 16:36   #13
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Re: Using a hammock during a sailing passage

PS to above. Also NO change of body position is required for alternate tacks or bearings. Sleep through the whole time, regardless of sailing and seas above. You only wake is you wish or if the conditions change radically. Sleep well all.
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Old 06-11-2017, 17:17   #14
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Re: Using a hammock during a sailing passage

For big seas you require lee cloths to hold you in place, so something similar would be required for a hammock.
Our 1st crossing we stored our fruit in a hammock in a wardrobe and it was smashed to pulp, dripping everywhere.
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Old 06-11-2017, 17:28   #15
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Re: Using a hammock during a sailing passage

A hammock is very comfortable underway. But few boats have interior big enough to hang one. Normally the one without bars is used (indian style).

They are comfortable to sleep in - if you sleep without turning and tossing. If you turn and toss, you will find a hammock constraining.

A huge plus is ventilation - a hammock is way cooler than a foam matressed bunk - the air cools you from below too. Very nice.

A racing (canvas, stretcher style) bunk can be used where a hammock cannot fit.

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