With (very patient) help from Rob Wagstaffe I developed the idea I had above and he kindly made up a prototype. In principle there are three web straps stretched from side to side with a ‘canvas’ hammock stretched fore to aft laid across the top and tensioned between transom and tabernacle
The advantages are:
1. The hammock, which has a pole top and bottom, easily rolls up and stows beneath the side benches and the straps go in the stern bag (less space than boards I believe).
2. The crew sleep well above any potential ‘dampness’.
3. There is storage space beneath the hammock for large or wet items if required (wetties, rudder, bouyancy aids etc). This leaves the front free for admin (when the crew lie in!)
4. It is very comfortable and I do not need to untie toe straps etc.
The hammock was trialled on the recent cruise on the Orwell/Stour and performed very well with two sleeping on it. Sufficient tension can be put on to avoid having to cosy up (unless you wish to….) although I will, for evidence sake, say that neither I nor my crew are overly personally insulated.
After the test I am convinced that this is a good way forward, as was my crew. The boat was stable and the hammock was flat and level (both when dried out and when afloat at anchor) and/but at no time did I have any concern about falling over the side.
The hammock and straps can easily be put up when the tent is already up, it is very quick, and there is space down one side to move if required (i.e going to the pub).
It will definitely be going with me on future cruises for comfort reasons alone. That said, with electric tape on the transom flaps (very easily opened if required) and the balers well shut she did not leak much, if at all – but then again it did not rain.
I have attached some photos for anyone interested.