During my latest trip to the Beneteau Sea Trial Base in Port Ginesta I came across one rather funny detail of sailing. So, this article is more like a winkingly acknowledgement of a circumstance we are all familiar with on our own boats: Cockpit cushions. We do need them, we all appreciate them but we all kind of hate them at the same time. A necessity to make luxury happen – the bigger the boat, the bigger the hustle.
Before my clients would arrive I helped the skippers from Beneteau to ready the ship: Of course, not just because the Oceanis Yacht 60 is our flagship but because of the fact that the Sea Trial Base near Barcelona is a powerful sales tool for us dealers, the boat has already been in a well kept condition. Nevertheless, there was quite some work to do to make her ready to impress a excite our customers. Some hours later when sailing smoothly the deep blue waters off Barcelona, the yacht did a marvelous job of course.
Rewind, a few moments earlier …
But let´s start at the beginning. One of the jobs of preparing the yacht was, of course, to install the cockpit cushions. I went down below decks, a fruity scent of the just opened air-refresher filled my nostrils, and opened one of the aft cabins. And I was … just … wow …
I mean, this is our flagship. This yacht has volume without end, even the guest cabins in the stern are huge compared to our “normal” sized cruising yachts. But the very cabin containing the cockpit cushions was … full. A stack of cushions had been stored here from the top of the matrasses up until nearly underneath the cabin ceiling. I know, of course, that dealing with those things often involves a lot of running up and down, but this – being the first time for me to do this job – was definitely another level. I smiled. And started.
So it took me about ten minutes to move the cushions from the cabin to the cockpit floor. Taking the bigger matrasses one by one, I moved the smaller pieces by the three or four parts. I stacked those on the cockpit table and looked at my work. One of the Beneteau guys smiled and said: “Quite a nice puzzle, isn´t it?” I smiled nodded and waved it off, being cool. At least, I tried.
Trial and error
Well, it could have been a tremendous help if someone, maybe the yard, would have marked each piece where it belonged. But they didn´t. I found on two matrasses a rough indication stating “portside” or “starboard” but still I had to guess where each piece would go.
I think I am a clever guy. And maybe latest after my two kids had been born, I played a lot of peg board games with them. This now definitely paid off: It was partially a no-brainer, partially a matter of trial and error and for some other pieces a kind guidance from the skipper. Some 30 minutes later we finished fitting the 25 to 30 individual cushion parts. Sure, you will get better at this as an owner and of course a clever owner will mark the parts, but still, what a job!
Finally: “Make yourselves comfortable!”
After completing the task I admit the cockpit looked and felt awesome: The cushions had transformed this area to a vast lounging space, offering a cozy seat, reclining space and even VIP-sunbathing underneath the sprayhood. As these yachts are mostly used for recreational sailing, perfect vacations on the water by families and friends, the cushions are an important aspect of modern boating.
The price you pay is the stowage needed to put them down below when you leave your boat. One cabin nearly filled. Also, much worse, when the cushions happen to be moist after a morning rain or bad weather, stowing them down below as cramped as seen in the picture above is a guarantee for mildew, so the owner needs to distribute them all around in the saloon, leaving each enough space to dry out. These are details often forgotten and seldom mentioned when there is talk about luxury in sailing. For my own boat I will also have cockpit cushions – but I will try to minimize their number and size, that´s a learning.
To end this article with a nice little twist: My client did not sit on the cushions while we were out sailing a single time. When moving about and sitting down, he chose the coach roof, the coamings or just stood behind the steering wheel to get a feeling for the boat´s handling. Anyway, I guess the boat looked awesome on the pictures he sent home the least.
You may as well like to read:
Avoiding sheet mumble when sailing
Small boat comforts – ho much boat does one need?
A boost in onboard comforts: Sunshades!