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V-Berth Extender

We  campaigned PRESTO when we had time, but with work and now back to school time has been a limiting factor. I placed school over sailing which has resulted in missing enough of the races to not be a contender for placing. We still go out and terrorize the fleet to keep them on their toes. We wanted to be able to Over-Night in more comfort which led to designing a V-Berth Extender. It was just a little cramped and the pillow would "walk the plank" and disappear in the middle of the night.
    I bought some upholstery material at a "Going out of business sale" and hoped that I could use it someday. This project was it. I replaced the covers on the other cushions and had enough left over for the extension. The foam in the cushions can degrade over the years and even get a little mildew.  I chose to replace the foam with a medium firm compression grade. 

    First use a yardstick and tape measure to develop a plan. I scribbled a crude plan down and then traced it onto drafting paper. Spray adhesive can be used to glue it to a sheet of tag board procurred from the local Ingles. Regular sissors can be used to cut it out. Leave a little extra for fine trimming the edges during the next step.  

    I cut a few tag board stringers and glued them to the back to give the proto-type a little rigidity.  Down to the boat for a dry fit.  It did not fit the first time, it was off, so it was trimmed and modified while still in paper. The finished template was used for both the foam and the wood support board. The shape of the foam is different from the plywood support board due to the plywood extending under the existing cushions. The new foam block will have to fit tight . The closest upholstery store for us is Knoxville and they have a relatively good selection of densities and thickness' of foam rubber. I chose "medium- firm" for the extender and to replace the other cushions. The foam store will use the template to trace the shape onto the foam and use a large electric knife to cut out the pattern.

    To cover the foam, I used the foam as the template to trace a pattern onto the "BACK SIDE" of the fabric. Cut the sections out with an extra width for sewing and strength. I selected 1 1/2" extra for this. The sides panels are cut to the width of the foam with extra for the seams but I marked the width narrower to provide tension on the fabric when the foam is installed. I did not do this the first time and it was full of wrinkles. Use a good grade YKK nylon zipper that is long enough to allow you to get the foam stuffed inside. I sewed the zipper to the edging to make the zipper section first, and added solid edging to each end of the zipper section. I did not get the edging all to the same width , so it was trimmed even prior to sewing to the top and bottom panels. Remember to use a heavy thread . You wouldn't want the seams to come undone  after all this work. I even double sewed the seams after I  did a fitting.

    Sewing the sections together is a challenge. I started at a corner and when I got to the most complicated section, at the mast support post, it was way out of line. I ripped it out and started at the mast post area and it worked out better. I'd never make a living doing this.
The pieces are sewed outside in and then open the zipper and turn inside out. In the higher stress areas, the seams were double sewn. Trim all of the lose ends and just stuff the foam into the cover, it will take a while to get the foam and cover even.


    The support board is Oak Veneer 1/2" Plywood. Use the same template used for the foam to trace to the wood Allow a little extra if you are planning to overlap it onto the existing bunks for support. A jig saw works great to cut to shape, check the quality of the cut to determine which blade is best. Too fine and it burns the edge, too course and it tears the top layer with splinters.. Sand the edges well and do a dry fit. It took a couple fittings to fit as tight as I liked. I tried to design a couple different leg supports for fun and I liked the integral one the best. ( right jpg) The hinges and support bracing was from the local Lowe's store. A coats of stain and 3 coats of CETOL, it was done.

    It can be collapsed down for storage when not in use. Or more importantly, when you need to get into the pota-potty. If you have any interior repairs or modifications, Just document it with jpgs & and sent it to share with others. Remeber, this site is for the 525 owners and future owners.

Eric Roline    Copyright  1-19-02 All Rights Reserved