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Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Fine Art of Storage in a Small Boat in Readiness for a Big Voyage!

With that title I feel like we are hobbits... actually living on a boat is reminiscent of life as a hobbit, I'm sure!...we will be living in a small roundish abode and go on lots of adventures... Yup, I guess we are hobbits at heart!  Speaking of which, did you hear that they are going to start filming The Hobbit Part One in New Zealand, February 2011?  By the time we arrive we should be able to visit the new set!!  What fun!

Anyway back to our hobbit- hole, I mean... boat!  Lately we've been focussing on what we can take on our voyage and where we will put it all!  A seemingly daunting feat, but seems amazingly do-able after re-reading (we have mentioned them before in our list of greatest books but they deserve an encore):

Lin Pardey's The Care and Feeding of Sailing Crew  

                             and Beth Leonard's Voyager's Handbook

 If you are planning to "sail over the horizon" these books are a must in so many ways...  I don't know what we would do if we didn't have these two experienced authors sharing their incredible experience and insights!

Also, we found a great resource in the provisioning pages of Dave and Rhonda Mancini's website about their 2 1/2 years of cruising the tropical South Pacific in their PSC 34 SV Swan.
SV Swan anchored at Moorea
Oh yes and don't miss checking out  Beth and Evan's website chock full of incredible helpful information.

So... last week my friend Maria Mirka drove with me and our two 'puppies' (one is 10 years old and the other 15!) out to our cottage on Quadra Island, B.C. where my co-cap was already hard at work doing a locum at the Campbell River Hospital.  Once we arrived Maria and I went to work measuring all of the storage space on our boat... actually Maria did all the work as I sat at the computer struggling to get the d**n thing to cooperate (no luck on my part!)... did I mention that I HATE Microsoft???  ...actually maybe I hate computers in general (more like a love/hate relationship I guess).

Enough of that, back to the storage issue...  as I was saying before I headed off into my tirade about our computer woes... Maria measured every nook and cranny however large or small that looked at all like a place for us to use as storage.  Bill had suggested that I print out a diagram of our below decks and make our measurements on that...

After all the measurements were taken:

It turns out that with the mattress taken out of the quarter berth we can stow twelve, yes you read that right, twelve 12" sq. plastic milk cartons... amazing!  Now, don't you think that two mid-sized adults could survive on that much food over 6 months?  Considering the longest passage will be approximately 5 weeks when we will then be able to re-provision (is there such a word?).  So I'm thinking that this might not be too onerous a job as I first thought!  Also, let's not forget all the tuna, mahi-mahi, flying fish, squid etc. that we will be catching as we sail along... and believe me, we have a lot of fishing gear that we intend on using heavily (now we will just have to persuade all those little fishies that they want to swallow our hooks!). 

I bought a number of plastic food storage containers (the largest being 5 litres with handy little oblong snap-open access covers on top) - we will use the largest of our two hanging lockers, which are located in mid-ships, to stow the large containers filled with flour, rice, beans etc. and from those I will fill smaller containers for daily/weekly use which will be right in the galley.  I am also thinking that we need to put some moveable shelves in the larger hanging locker to make that space more useable and yet still able to revert back to a space to hang things. Hhmmmmm... so that's  why it's call a hanging locker!

Storage containers for the boat - gotta love that Walmart!

During our long passages our forward berth will be used as a sail locker and even the head will be used for storing our  45 pound CQR anchor and 300 feet of nylon and chain rode!  Okay for you non-boatie types the head is the toilet... and you might ask "Well, then where do you...?"  Don't even go there...

Bye for now and...
see you when we see you.

Catherine and William


  1. All the years of moving the PLC have paid off Cathy-you are an expert in how to recreate spaces and how to make the most out of spaces when you have too much stuff. Just imagine the next move of the RLC to the new Ed Centre? I am sure Erin will be looking at how many plastic carts she too can fit into small spaces but in her case, with no one noticing.
    It is great to catch up on your blog. Have fun planning in your floating Hobbit home.

  2. Hi Andrea!
    Great to hear from you! Yes, I guess much of my learning about making do with not much space comes from both CBE and living in very old, small houses! Glad you like the blog and thanks for the comment... we love to read them!

  3. OK, we all know that sailors are "jargon junkies", so let's just get on with it. This land lubber wants to know what is the "SSB" (up and running?? could be anatomical - how can we tell??). The inner head stay - I can probably imagine what that is. But "inner head stay Yankee"? - ya lost me there.

    As for "taps & dies", no jargon here. These are tools that allow a 'handy-man' a.k.a. sailor, mountaineer, astronaut - you get the picture - to cut threads into something that will serve as a bolt, as in bolting together pieces of wood, metal, etc., OR cut threads into a hole that will receive a bolt. B & C, there is a great website (this is important) - English, of course - that will give you all the detailed little points on effective tap and die work, like not breaking off the die in the hole!!
    Since bolts are what hold sailboats together, and since sailboats are in a constant state of maintenance and / or repair, then thread-making will be the difference between a duct tape repair or restoring something "as good as new". Don't lose this link!! Best always, Mike