Our friends on R.E.D. were not necessarily the first people to show us sailing can be more of a pleasurable lifestyle than a simple afternoon activity, but they’ve been one of the most persistent and creative.
One of the changes they turned us on to was the Froli under-cushion system:
Upon a visit to R.E.D. in 2015, their MacGregor 26M, this mod was one of many they showed off. I noted it, but it would take a season of sleeping on the stock cushion for me to move this particular experimentation up a few notches on the mod queue.
Perhaps as a result of our physical weight (we were heavier a year ago) and perhaps because of cushion quality, it quickly became apparent the stock cushion was easily compressed. This led to shoulder compression and stiffness in all the wrong places after a good night’s sleep.
The Froli kit adds a type of rubberized plastic box spring as a layer underneath the stock cushion that turns out to be fantastic for that extra “give” a body needs when sleeping on one’s side, and for one’s hips in any position.
As you can see from the opening shot, it isn’t cheap (when is anything inexpensive where boats are concerned?), but I’m here to tell ya it works very well. I just completed my second night on board for the 2016 season (yeah, I know, it’s July 4th and I’ve only slept on board twice; I’m sad about that too), and it was easily the equivalent of my box spring at home – better in fact, since the hand of a gentle God tends to avoid rocking me to sleep at home.
When I received the three boxes, I concluded they must think I have a huge V- berth. After snapping the kit together, I can say with assurance Froli provides a generous helping of their product. I quickly realized there was enough extra that I might be able to put the system in one or two other areas of the boat.
Left overs. Mmm. Delicious!
(The box was actually much more full than this, but the marina wifi yacked up a furball part of the way through the upload. I needed to take a second picture, but I was part way through the salon cushion mod. Oh, bother. It’s always something)
Now, I freely admit I took a shortcut to save on some components. For example, the little red tension clips were definitely not needed in the V- berth for the level of comfort we were seeking (your mileage may vary). However, if I use the remaining parts under one or more of the salon table seat cushions (the most likely course of action), the tension clips will likely prove invaluable for creating just the right layer of stiffness for my derriere (one of the few words of French I still remember after 3 years of classes in my teens. Madame Frederick would be so ashamed if she knew, so no one tell her, okay? She tried. She really really tried).
Another example can be seen in this base shot. As I was assembling the base (yeah, in this shot it was upside down; I figured that out eventually), I realized it wasn’t necessary to use the smaller half pieces and rectangular pieces (which you’ll see in a future picture) out to the edge. The cushions were plenty stable without that level of detail, and that left more (and probably necessary) parts for use on the salon cushions. It’s like getting a three cushion kit for the price of one!
The rest of the construction was quick. I believe from start to finish it took me less than two hours to haul the material to the boat, concoct a cunning little plan for the build, build, realize I messed up my cunning little plan and re-build, and then enjoy the fruits of my labor.
Here are some additional shots of the construction:
This is what it looks like with the spring elements installed. Note the dark blue and light blue spring elements. The dark blue are stiffer. The light blue are softer. There are fewer of them in the kit, and they are designed for the shoulder area.
Notice that with the system in place, the cushion is not raised much higher then it’s stock position. My initial fear that this system would cause the cushion to sit so high it would interfere with V- berth height proved to be completely unfounded.
I can definitely endorse the quality of the materials associated with this product, the well-written directions (that I somehow couldn’t follow the first time), the generous amount of product provided (at least where our class of boat is concerned – MacGregor 26M/Tattoo 26) and the actual function of the product – as in, does it do what it claims to do.
I give it an A+ across the board.
PS: As I Indicated, I was going to try using some of the extra on other seats in the cabin. I actually managed to use almost every remaining piece.
Below is the aft salon seat:
The forward salon seat:
Finally, the seat across from the aft salon seat, aft of the galley.
If you have any questions or comments, please let us know. Happy sailing!
Lance M. Gundersen, Sr., co-captain (odd days), SV Do We 797.124