One of the most challenging part of living aboard during the winter has been getting rid of the condensation and moisture build up under the bed.
We sleep in the v-birth and directly under us we have one of the water tanks and the tube for the bow thruster. As the water got colder, it got more and more difficult to ventilate enough. The condensation building up from the warmth of the bed and the cold from the water beneath eventually got so bad that is was not possible to dry up without leaving the boat for an entire weekend, putting all the bedding in the saloon and letting the dehumidifier run on low constantly.
Our solution ended up being a combination of different DIY techniques, that helped us keep the cost to a minimum and also the ability to add more solutions until finding a combination that worked for us and our boat.
1. Putting fake grass under the mattresses (later removed)
2. Building our own slatted frame
3. Adding plastic “feet” underneath the frame
4. Adding sleeping mats for isolation
First thing we tried was to buy a section of fake grass to put under the mattresses. We had heard from other boats that this solution could work as well as the expensive stuff you can buy in marine stores. For us, it didn’t! It helped protecting the mattresses, but it was just as much condensation underneath it as before. Based on the layout of our v-birth, and all the modifications we have done to get it to work, we don’t think the expensive stuff would have worked for us either.
We figured we needed to increase the air flow between the mattresses and the wooden compartment lids below. We hoped that good ventilation could solve the problem. We went to the hardware store, bought some wood strips, and then marked the shape of our v-birth with tape on the floor. To make it easier we built it i one single piece and then cut it in two in order to get it into the boat and still be able to open the lids when in place. As we put in the slatted frame, we removed the fake grass.
This step actually helped a lot!
At first we thought that we were going to ruin the new frame. Moisture stated to build up on the surfaces that was wood on wood and it was hard to dry out. After another trip to the hardware store we bought these plastic feet as a wildcard. We didn’t really believe in it, but we had no better solutions and something had to be done. We didn’t even bother screwing them in place, we just used a hot glue gun instead. All in all it took less than 10 minutes to get them there, and it tured out to be some well invested 10 minutes.
It worked a lot better than expected and saved both the compartments lids and the slatted frame. It also helped increase the airflow even further, which removed more of the moisture build up.
As a final step we decided to glue some sleeping mats under the compartment lids. We did so to separate the hot and cold air. After this step the results are so good that we now only have to take the mattresses out once in a while to clean out some dust. We also lift the mattresses from time to time to check that everything still looks ok and to get some air in the entire birth.
The combination of a slatted frame (raised with plastic feet) and insulation to separate hot and cold air, was the final solution that seems to be working for us.