We have had a Familon Aeroflex mattress onboard Suwena for three years. On top of it was a memory foam topper bought from Ikea that is similar to Tempur. During the first few years we were sailing on the Baltic Sea and the summers
is short there. In addition she was spending her winters inside the storage hall. The mattress stayed in good condition and there was no moisture below the mattress during the summer at all.

Last year we started our season already in May and the early summer on the North Sea was very cold, we noticed that the mattress started to get wet from below. There is a steel rudder post under the bed that emits cold from the below. Respectively the body heat and moisture is transferred through the mattress to the bottom of the bed. Always when the cold meets the warm, the moisture is condensing on the cold surface. Think about the cold beer bottle on a hot summer day 😕 Therefore it is important that the moisture is transferred away by good air exchange or the boundary between the cold and warm needs to be insulated.

The rudder post under the bed
The rudder post under the bed

Already last summer we wanted to improve the air ventilation under the mattress because there are also lockers under the bed. We wanted to keep them dry as well. Of course we also thought about insulation but by this way the lockers would have been completely sealed. First we got rid of the Ikea topper and the situation improved a little. It seems that too many layers of foam make things worse. Next we added a thick plastic mesh between the bottom of the bed and the mattress to improve the ventilation and to direct the moist air away under the mattress. Despite of this we had still moisture under the mattress near the rudder post.

When we visited the Southampton Boat Show last fall we had a target to find a new mattress for Suwena. There were several companies presenting their products and it was important to examine their structure and test them out so we can find the mattress we like.

Eve is examining the Naturalmat's mattress
Eve is examining the Naturalmat’s mattress

At first we thought about the pocket spring mattress. However they all are very thick and also rather heavy and stiff to bend. It does not matter what is the composition of the mattress, now and then we need to move it and air it. Finally we decided that the draggable spring mattress was not our thing.

We told about the moisture problem of boat mattress to the mattress manufacturers and the most interesting solution was presented to us by Naturalmat. Mr Peter Tindall told that they use the coconut coir as one of the layers in theier mattresses and that the thick coir layer easily transfers moisture out.

Finally we ended up to the Airflow Standard mattress where the lower layer consists of 50 mm of rubberised coir. On top of it there is 75 mm of organic latex and the topmost layer consists of 20 mm of organic lambswool tufting. The mattress is covered with 100 % cotton fabric. In addition we wanted a separate topper where the main material is organic wool with cotton top layer.

The deal was made and we sent the bed template that we got from the Nauticat yard to England. We also agreed that the new mattress would be delivered to Ipswich after the Easter holidays when we are back onboard. To our delight immediately after Easter there was quite a shipment arriving to the marina.

Fitting the template to the bed of the aft cabin
Fitting the template to the bed of the aft cabin

Now that we have been sleeping on a new mattress for a few weeks there have been no moisture under the bed. We’ll also put the plastic mesh back. First however we want to see how the coconut coir is working and seems that its doing a fine job. In addition the mattress is really comfortable to sleep on. At least for now it looks that the changing of the mattress was worthwhile. We’ll see in the future how it behaves in different environmental conditions.
The boat mattress of Naturalmat
The boat mattress of Naturalmat

Boat Mattress

2 thoughts on “Boat Mattress

  • May 11, 2014 at 22:53

    Hi Eve and Andrus,
    Hi Eve and Andrus,

    Its great to see that you are underway with your sailing season. Regarding your mattress situation I hope that you will not have anymore problems with condensation. If you do have future problems I would suggest looking into some type of “slatted frame” or “lattenrost” under your mattress.

    When I moved from Sweden to Switzerland I found that most Swiss beds had a slatted bed frame instead of the traditional spring mattress base. I quickly learned to appreciate the comfort of beds with this type of base. It would definitely help you to get a layer of air between your mattress and the cover boards over the rudder post compartment.

    Here are a few links:


    Good luck and sleep well 🙂

    • May 24, 2014 at 10:57

      Thanks Gunnar for good advice
      Thanks Gunnar for good advice. We actually put our air mesh back under the mattress. Now it is better.

      We have however noticed that there is still some condensation after the night when the sea water was below twelve degrees. Then it’s time to lift up the mattress for some time getting it to be dried and to be ready for sleeping again.

      Andrus is going to isolate the locker of the rudder post later and we’ll tell what will then happen.

      I must anyhow say that what a wonderfull mattress we have now for sleeping. It is always a little surprise did you manage with your purchase. It should be a service to have a one night sleep in a shop 🙂 Actually some shops in Finland have such a service that you can have the mattress for sleeping for a week at home, but for the boat it is a little difficult because the boat’s bed is always so special shape.

      Best wishes to you Gunnar from both of us, Eve and Andrus


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