Quahog Bay Boat Sheets

Boat sheets. Trying to get sheets to fit the odd sizes of mattresses in a boat can seem like an impossible task.

Even if you have a “standard” size bed in the boat, such as the queen size one on our Gemini catamaran, it’s usually a much thinner mattress than the super-thick ones that most sheets are made for.  We put a 3-inch foam topper (for those curious, see it here on Amazon) on our very thin boat cushions, mainly for comfort but also so that sheets would hopefully fit better. It did a great job on the comfort, but our “mass market” sheets still never stayed tight.

High quality boat sheets that fit and don't pull off, without the expense of one-off custom sheets.

While the bottom sheet didn’t pop off, it would get so loose as I moved in my sleep that it would tangle around my feet, waking me in the middle of the night. Making the bed was fun in the morning as we (okay, Dave usually makes the bed) had to tug and pull the sheet back into position, tucking it under the mattress, to at least start the next night with a taut sheet. Tough to do as you’re kneeling on the bed!

If you have a v-berth, as we did on our previous boat, the problem is even worse. Square sheets just don’t fit on triangles. The previous owner had made their own fitted sheet to the shape of the mattress, but over time the sheet shrank . . . and the mattress didn’t. So again, the sheets didn’t really fit. In fact, they popped off every few days.

About a month ago, Beth from Sailboat Interiors sent me a “review set” of boat sheets — her Quahog Bay Boat Sheets. I have to say, they fit much, much better than the generic ones I had and are a nicer material, too. Since I’ve been using these, the bottom sheet is staying in place. I’m not waking up in the night, tangled in the sheets. And Dave isn’t using his “sailor vocabulary” as he’s making the bed in the morning.

The fabric is 300 thread count Egyptian cotton with a sateen weave. These are silkier and also sturdier (slightly heavier weight) than the standard percale weave that most sheets are made of. While I’ve only had them a month, I’m sure that they’re going to last longer than the thinner sheets I’ve had in the past. They also just plain feel nice!

I took this picture before I fully tightened the elastic:

High quality boat sheets that fit and don't pull off, without the expense of one-off custom sheets.

The big difference is that instead of just having elastic sewn into the fitted sheet, Beth uses both braid and cord elastic and runs it through a casing to cord locks, so that you can tighten up the sheet as much as you need to for your mattress. Using elastic provides a bit of give — even when pulled fairly tight — so that you won’t tear a sheet just by rolling over in your sleep.

High quality boat sheets that fit and don't pull off, without the expense of one-off custom sheets.

I put the bottom sheet on and pulled on the elastic some and slid the cord locks into place. That night, the sheets were better than the old ones but still somewhat loose. The next morning, I tightened them up some more but I was leery of how much I could pull them. The next day, I pulled probably another foot of elastic through each cord lock and finally got nice tight sheets — frankly, I was surprised at how tight I could pull them!

High quality boat sheets that fit and don't pull off, without the expense of one-off custom sheets.

In addition to the queen sheets that we have, Sailboat Interiors has similar sets for v-berths — “regular,” “extra-large” and custom sizes– and custom sizes for quarter berths and aft berths. While I haven’t used any of these, I think the fact that the v-berth sheets are made in a triangle shape with elastic to pull them tight will make them work well on most boats — the big trick seems to be pulling the elastic tight enough to keep the sheet snug. I know that I was reluctant to pull it enough!

Okay, now for the cost. No, these aren’t cheap sheets as the material used is nice, verging on luxurious. There are cheaper options such as using a less expensive set of sheets and adding your own elastic straps (here’s how I did my previous set but the straps don’t do as good a job as the elastic in the casing). Fully custom sheets are another option but are more expensive — my search turned up options ranging from $190 to $249 per set.

The Quahog Bay Boat Sheets are a happy medium between these options — very nice sheets without being a DIY project, for less than the cost of the totally custom sheets. While I was given this set to review, I think the price is fair for the quality of the sheets and I’d buy a set in the future, particularly if they last for several years.

To learn more and/or order a set from Sailboat Interiors:

The Quahog Bay Boat Sheets are also available from Sea Dog Boating Solutions — see them here.

High quality boat sheets that fit and don't pull off, without the expense of one-off custom sheets.

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  • Jorge Bermudez
    Posted at 26 January 2015 Reply

    Did you fit it under the mattress plus topper or just under the topper?

  • Jim Watson
    Posted at 27 January 2015 Reply

    We bought a set of Sheetx for our odd shaped berth. Their not cheep but I’m guessing they would fit any shape and thickness of mattress and once on, the bottom sheet stays put (Not to mention they are as comfortable as a 1600 count Egyptian cotton sheets).

  • Karen
    Posted at 28 January 2015 Reply

    At Payne’s Marine in Canada, we carry a line of textiles (bedding & towels) as well as galley products. The sheets are amazing – they are made in the most popular bunk configurations but have +/- 25% stretch with super wide elastic so they stay put! They are made from 96% cotton and 4% Elastan (which I think is proprietary) and feel almost like a high quality jersey knit. The product line is called “Marine Business” and we import the line from Spain.

  • Peggy
    Posted at 29 January 2015 Reply

    Given basic sewing skills & some elementary geometry, it’s actually quite easy to convert a standard rectangular set of bedsheets into ones that are custom fitted to your v-berth. The only downside is that they will have a flat seam running up the middle of both top & bottom sheets; but if you’re on a budget, that one seam won’t bother you a bit! Caroline, if you like I can do a how-to article for you.

    I used a set of Portuguese flannel sheets for our boat in San Francisco Bay b/c between rain & fog, there aren’t many nights when flannel isn’t welcome!

    • Chad
      Posted at 07 December 2017 Reply

      @Peggy, I heard from another sailor that flannel sheets are the way to go for boats, haven’t seen much on the internet on this topic so glad to hear flannel works so well in SF bay. Going to give this a try for our monterrey and santa cruz trips next summer.

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