The Offshore Voyaging Reference Site

The Perfect Seaberth

One of the most important factors in making safe seamanlike passages is getting as much rest as possible. And one of the most important factors in getting enough rest is having a proper seaberth.

Though it took several iterations over a number of years, we think we now have the perfect seaberth on Morgan’s Cloud:

  • Close to the companionway in case the person on watch requires assistance;
  • Long enough to stretch out in;
  • Wide enough for comfort in benign conditions (28”/71cm wide) with the option of narrowing it to prevent rolling in rougher conditions (22”/56cm wide);
  • A proper leecloth that allows us to climb in easily at the foot of the bunk, yet keeps us secure in heavy weather because it extends almost to the head of the bunk.

Want proof of how good our seaberth is? All you need to do is listen to the heart-felt “scratcher groans” emitted by the off-watch when climbing in and the heart-felt groans of despair emitted by the on-watch when climbing out!

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A great simple design for the leecloths. I like the opening at the feet to get in and out, might pinch that idea… Guess it also gives you somewhere to sit while waking up and getting dressed. The Lashings to the roof should prevent sleeping crew getting thrown out of the bunk in extreme conditions. Although I suppose you could still get hurt banging onto the deck!

How to you attach the leecloths at the top?

An unpleasant injury I had to deal with at sea was caused by a lee cloth on a top bunk which came suddenly undone due to a poorly tied knot. The poor lady sleeping there was violently thrown from the bunk with her head banging into an aluminum watertight door on her way to the floor…Ouch.

John Harries

Hi Ben,

Yes, the light finally went on in my head some years ago about making the lee cloth asymmetric with no gap at the head—there are few things more uncomfortable than waking with your head hanging out to leeward—and a large gap at the foot to get out of.

And yes, it’s a great place to sit and collect yourself.

The lee cloth lines are run through pad eyes screwed to the deck head and are made fast with a couple of cleats. The lee cloth gets put up at the beginning of a voyage and taken down at the end, so there is no need to make the lines quick release in any way.


All good it seems. I find it important to attach the leecloth far in under the cushions allowing one to hoist the whole seat cushion when situated to windward.

John Harries

Hi Rikki,

That’s a really good idea. I have sailed on boats set up like that and it can be very comfortable. Unfortunately, we can’t do it on our boat because of the access lids to the lockers under our sea berth.


Ahh…but you can. Actually you will have better access as the leecloth is attached on the outboard side of your bench lifting everything off your lids.
I use a different rope arrangement as well in order to facilitate easy in and out of the berth.

John Harries

Hi Rikki,

That would not work for us because of the way our sea-berth is configured, but I agree that it’s a good idea.


Hi John and Phyllis. Since it’s my first comment on your site, first of all would like to thank for your efforts of collecting and sharing all this practical information. Have recently “found” your blog and enjoying every post since.

As regards leecloth I have tried very similar system last year on my Linjett 30 with ropes passed above over handrail on the deckhead.

But the problem was that system got torn on one occasion when I was passing by and a sudden wave pushed me to sit on a leecloth… Thus now figuring out how to make it more easily “removable” so it can be stowed away when not in use even during passage.

Alain Côté

Hi John, I was looking for comments on your site about the best material for berth blankets. I am leaving the question here, since I found no more appropriate a place. WDYT about this one? Do you use down sleeping bags, or ones filled with more man-made materials, wool blankets? Which one do you view as the best choice?

John Harries

Hi Alain,

We use sleeping bags, but the kind that you can unzip all the way around, so we don’t actually climb into them, but rather use them like duvets over top of sheets.

We also have a deep dark secret: