This article started as a couple of paragraphs in the third part of the series I'm writing about offshore cruising boat cockpits. But then I realized that cockpit cushions are one of those seemingly small details that are actually very important, where getting it wrong can be a far bigger problem than most people would believe possible, so we promoted the subject to its own article.
Offshore boats need good cockpit seat cushions. Otherwise the crew will quickly become intimately familiar with a disease that back in the day when I rode the rail while ocean racing, sometimes for days at a time, we called yachty-botty (YB). Also known as fiberglass-ass because the non-skid pattern often imprinted in boat decks, and therefore on our rears, accelerates the condition.
Don't laugh. This starts off as just mild itching, but after a few days at sea it can progress to full-on open wounds on our tender parts—not even slightly funny.
And don't get me started on what all this was like when we wore blue jeans to sail offshore. "You youngsters have no idea"...Oops, old guy moment. Next thing it will be "when I was young we had to walk to school uphill both ways"...Back to the point.
Making It Worse
How can we make sure the dreaded YB does not happen? First off, we need to take those beautiful Sunbrella-covered memory-foam cushions the boat came with to the dump, or at least see if we can sell them to some sucker...err, someone who doesn't go offshore. Or maybe use them on our patio at home. Anyway, get them off the boat.
If we don't, they will absorb salt water at sea and never dry—those that think they can keep their cockpit cushions dry at sea, even with an enclosure, have not been to sea much. And not only will this accelerate the onset and severity of the dreaded YB disease, but they will also take on a smell reminiscent of dog-that-swims-in-swamp that no amount of drying in the sun will fix.