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M242 Deck Padding Contest
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M242 Deck Padding Contest Winners

The Deck Padding Contest recently concluded, and several entries were received and evaluated by the Judges, namely Ken Holland, Tom O'Conor, and Jeremy Smith. It was timely because a crew member on one of the judge’s boats politely but firmly declined to continue hiking part way through the second day of racing at Cow Bay due to the damned gunwale coaming!

The idea of solving this age-old problem was initiated by Fleet One Captain Michael Clements. He trialled a prototype solution, and having satisfied himself (and his crew!) that there was benefit, he proposed the contest to spur innovation. Michael excluded himself from the competition on the basis that he initiated it.

However, the judges have decided that they have sole discretion and have deemed that Michael’s solution remains the most complete, and has contributed the most to a repeatable long-term solution, and have chosen Michael’s prototype to be the overall winner.

Three other solutions offered partial solutions using commercial products that, together, could take Michael’s idea past the prototype phase to a nicely finished product.

Second place goes to two options for EVA foam decking options that have been trialled, and third place goes to a commercial foam wedge that, if modified and covered with the decking, could completely eliminate the problem and provide a long-lasting and good-looking solution. More details below.

As such, the judges have come to the following conclusion:

1st Michael Clements – Too Wicked

2nd Tied:

3rd Fabian Hope



First Place - Most Complete Prototype

The entry from Too Wicked (Michael Clements) was deemed to be the most complete solution and proved the ability to solve the problem; however, as a prototype, the inexpensive Home Depot padding will not stand the test of time, and isn’t the most elegant.

Michael used three layers of foam, with the bottom two layers stopping at the raised gunwale, and a top layer going right over both the first and second layer and the gunwale. It fully resolved the painful problem and made for very happy crew.




  Deck Padding on Too Wicked



Second Place - Commercial Deck Padding (Tied)

The Raptor Deck entry from Crazy I's (Chris White) was deemed to be the best looking and most robust design, but it didn't quite eliminate the deck rail bump which was a primary objective of the contest. The attached photos from Peter Grimm's boat act as a proxy for Crazy I's, as the two sets of padding are almost identical.

Jeremy & Tara Smith found and installed on Min of Mine a much less expensive version of EVA foam decking from, the "EVA Foam Decking Sheet Faux Teak Marine Flooring". This summer they have been testing it on the cockpit floor and seats, and it’s standing up very well so far, but they have been holding off on installing it on the side decks until they could find a product to create the rise up to the gunwale.

Raptor Deck installed on M&M



 EVA Foam Deck from on Min of Mine





EVA Foam Comes in Peel-and Scroll like above



Third Place - Commercial Deck Rail Wedge

Rounding out the potential longer-term solution, while he hasn’t actually tried it yet, Fabian Hope has located the “Toosh Fender” from an Oregon company that solves the missing part of the equation. It’s designed specifically for the problem of sailboat rails , but is a bit too high for the M242 gunwale. If the manufacturer is interested in producing a slightly different profile of the EVA foam wedge, without the grip on top, it could be applied first and the Raptor or decking glued over top for a really nice result.

Commercial Deck Rail Wedge 



Combined Solution

Building on Michael’s prototype, the judges believe that there is a good potential solution by using an EVA foam wedge (like Fabian’s Toosh Fender) to make the transition, then go over the whole thing with an EVA foam decking product such as Raptor Deck or a knock-off.

Here is the idea:

Combined Solution



All 3 Fleets contributed funds towards the contest prizes; however, all four recipients have declined the prizes. The Fleets will decide whether to reinvest the funds in a next phase of this effort – possibly helping to offset the costs of getting a manufacturer to produce the EVA foam wedges in the right dimensions (hint hint, nudge nudge)?





M242 Deck Padding Contest Begins


Now that everyone has had a month or two back in the saddle in 2021, we've all been reminded of the joys of sitting on the deck rail "bump" while hiking out, so it's time to officially launch the Deck Padding Contest which will run for just short of one year.

As announced in late 2020, the Pacific Northwest Regional Measurers and IMCA are allowing M242 owners to experiment with deck padding in 2021 onwards with these two goals in mind:


The contest will be judged by:

Contestants should submit their entries to one of the 3 Judges.

All 3 Fleets have contributed funds towards the contest prizes, and the top three design winners will be awarded sailing gear prizes worth about CDN$525:

The contest winners will be announced at the conclusion of the July 2/3, 2022, North American Championships in Nanaimo.

As a reminder (and to help spur better ideas), during 2020 an experiment was done on one Vancouver boat in a wide range of wind conditions across ~30 races to collect data on how one such padding setup could be constructed and used, and the results were excellent. It’s a game-changer re crew comfort: the deck rail bump is totally eliminated.

To see the results of the experiment, and the step-by-step padding construction process including multiple pictures, go to / M242 Class Docs / Measurement / M242 Deck Padding Proposal, or click here. Total materials cost was about CDN$125.00

Other owners may come up with even more innovative solutions that are simpler, possibly cheaper, and more or equally effective: let the experimentation begin.

Current Contest Entries

1. The 2020 test boat design (“Home Depot floor padding entry”) detailed above (with photo below) will not be officially entered by Michael Clements, and as such won't be eligible for consideration for any award, but it will be slotted into the design rankings. In this manner the contest can be viewed as being totally impartial.

With regard to the design itself, Michael says that “the deck rail bump is completely eliminated and the inner large hump is also eliminated. The crew are very happy with the design - it has made a huge difference in comfort and eliminated the need for bike shorts or padded hiking shorts.”

2. Chris White: Raptor Deck Entry

Chris said on August 5th, 2021 that he is very pleased with his new Raptor Decking ( for the Martin 242, which was tried out for the first time on August 4th.

He said "The deck padding was so comfortable I couldn’t believe it. It totally changed the desirability of the boat. The crew was so much happier and therefore the upgrade is a no-brainer."

He went on to say that they actually sailed with their shoes off and it was perfectly comfortable, and the deck edge bump was 90% eliminated: he didn’t even notice it while racing.

For the full-meal deal that Jim Betts got (and Chris White was very similar except the cabin interior and bow), the cost is approximately (and before any taxes and/or shipping):


If someone just wants to get the two curved upper side deck pieces (items 6 & 7 in the attached diagram below) to mostly eliminate the deck rail bump, Dan Kaseler at Raptor Deck said the cost is:


Dan said: "For now, the best way folks can order kits is to just drop us an email at Pricing depends on whether we do single color foam, or duo-color, planks, or no planks (note: they can also insert logos).”



3. Fabian Hope: Toosh Fender Entry

Fabian Hope is entering a "Toosh Fender" design in the Deck Padding contest, which many big boats with hard aluminum deck rails use. As such, our moderately-raised deck edge is not that dissimilar.

Based on the side decking of a 242 being 68 inches long from the forward base of the pushpit to the aft cabin face, plus another 12" forward of the aft cabin face (for a total of 80"), it appears that ordering 2 Large Toosh Fenders (60" long) and a Standard Fender (40", but cut in half) would suffice to provide a cushioned surface all the way along the raised deck edge.

The Fenders would be glued to the deck surface via the sticky-back underside on each Fender. Note that Fabian has not installed the Fenders on his boat at this time.

The cost would be about US$226, not including any applicable taxes or shipping.

The cost might be somewhat different for two 80" custom fenders, which the company indicates on the website that they might be willing to make.

4. Craig Strand: Kiddy Chair Entry

Craig Strand is entering a "Kiddy Chair" design in the Deck Padding contest, which some owners may find interesting and preferable to the idea of hiking out, with or without padding.

The chairs can be tested any time at Royal Van YC in the lower level Star&Dragon restaurant.

Cost would be fairly minimal, although cushions will be extra.


5. Ken Holland: Adirondack Chair Entry

And not to be outdone by kiddy chairs, Ken Holland is going with full-on comfort for his entry.

As he said to Michael Clements recently, "The adjustable wood blocking system allows for differing wind strengths and hiking ability when required. The central location allows for downwind control and comfort as well. At all times no tushies are in any discomfort!”