Hanging Loose

Spectator - August 2002

Spectator — August 2002

By Tom Fexas

Hanging Loose
A batty idea that will revolutionize boating.
 More of this Feature
• Part 1: VSCs
• Part 2: VSCs
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Let's face it, when it comes to boats and yachts, it's tough to come up with revolutionary ideas these days. All the good ideas have been taken, used, and abused over the years. However, I am about to introduce a startling new concept that will greatly increase useable space aboard boats and yachts.

Staterooms typically consume 35 percent of the interior space of any boat or yacht but are only used (for sleeping and other activities) six to eight hours per day. For the other 12 to 14 hours, the space lies wastefully dormant. Designers have tried unsuccessfully to rectify this conundrum by utilizing furniture such as settees or dinettes that convert to berths. But one night while I was watching a show about bats on the Discovery Channel, a scene in a big cave hit me like a ton of ballast. There on the roof of the cave were thousands of sleeping bats hanging by their feet. The space utilization was terrific!

From these humble beginnings, an idea that will revolutionize boat and yacht interiors was born. Instead of sleeping horizontally on big, flat space-consuming surfaces (i.e., berths) why not sleep vertically, hanging by a strap under the arms in a space about the size of your average hanging locker?

Although the idea might seem far-out, some strong precedents exist. Parents carry their newborn babies around vertically in harnesses. In these rigs their babies sleep like--well, babies. Since ancient times, Native Americans have carried their babies on their backs vertically, in papooses. Astronauts sleep this way (although there is no gravity in space). And commuters in crowded buses or subway cars have been sleeping vertically while hanging from straps since the inception of mass transit.

Encouragement From Austria
But, before I could revolutionize marine interior space planning, I needed some expert backup. On the Internet I found that one of the foremost authorities on sleep was Dr. Adolph Von Dormitif, director of the prestigious Sleep Institute of Austria. I contacted him and presented my ideas. He was very encouraging. I learned that sleeping vertically, supported by a strap under your arms, is far healthier than sleeping on a bed. Pressure points on the body created by mattresses and pillows are eliminated, and sleeping vertically allows the body (especially the spine) to assume a natural position while gravity gently stretches all the joints. This is great for people with bad backs.

Von Dormitif also explained that one will achieve deeper sleep in the vertical position because blood drains from the head, slowing down brain wave activity and preventing one from thinking about things that might keep you awake, like that big dent in the Ferrari or the leaky roof. Snoring is greatly reduced, and I learned that more melatonin (the sleep hormone) is produced in the vertical position than in the horizontal, which also enhances deep sleep.

Next page > VSCs, Part 2 > Page 1, 2

This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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