Sunday, December 12, 2010

Ship Shape

If you err on the side of OCD when it comes to tidiness, then you've got one thing going for you if you ever want to live on a boat.  If you are of the messy persuasion, however, and didn't learn from your mother to pick up after yourself, well then, you might have some adjusting to do.

We've all heard and probably used the phrase "ship shape" to describe anything that is in meticulous order.  A quick Google search yields the fact  that when ships were sent out to sea "jury rigged" (meaning, incomplete and with work to be done) the crew would work hard and fast to complete the rigging whence the boat would be deemed "ship shape". (Didn't know you'd be getting a little trivia lesson, did you?)

Order on a boat is not a comfort, but a necessity.  Because space is such a premium, you need to be very creative, thorough and consistent in how you stow your boat.  If not, you will have a very hard time finding that snatch block, shackle, cleaner, tool or whatever it is you might "need" at a moments notice.  Trust us, we know - Scott and I bought a new LED masthead light six weeks ago and had to buy another one because we both completely forgot where the heck we put it and doing everything save turning the boat upside down did not produce it.  Boats are small, but my oh my how they can swallow gear!  We are constantly amazed by how much this boat can take and are always finding new 'nooks' and more efficient ways to stow our belongings.

Prior to leaving, Scott and I did a TON of reading about how to organize your boat (I cannot recommend Beth Leonard's "The Voyaging Handbook" enough!) and so we were pretty prepared.  We have about 40 bins in various sizes (LOVE the Container Store) that we pre-measured to make sure they fit.  Then we labeled every single bin so we know what's inside ("chargers", "batteries", "printer gear", "spares: electric"...etc).  Nearly everything we have aboard is in either a water-tight bin or a zip-lock baggie to protect from water, salt, and damp air.  In addition, all of our clothes in the v-berth sealed in the large sip-lock bags with a dryer sheet.  This keeps them fresh and dry no matter what.

As for food - we have a bunch of airtight containers which house tea, sugar, pasta, crackers...etc. and everything else is stowed in zip-locks.  We remove all the cardboard packaging to save space, and put everything else in zip-locks (are you seeing a pattern here?).  As for cans, I write on the top of each can what the contents are with a sharpie so that I know what's inside should the label peel off (not uncommon in the humidity).  We keep fruits and veggies in a hanging net hammock in our main cabin and most liquids are in our ice box.

I could go on, but the bottom line is this - every boat is different and how you store your items is completely up to you.  There is an adage in sailing and it is this, "a place for everything, and everything in it's place".  You have to get into the habit of putting everything away (from pens, to books, to utensils, to tools) or else they can get launched, lost, spilled or broken and that is just no fun.  On a boat, there is reason to cry over spilt milk.

A delivery captain once came on our boat and said something to the tune of, "I can tell you run a good ship because it's tidy, neat and in order - it says a lot about you both. I'd never go to sea in a boat that wasn't immaculate."  He's right.  We work hard to maintain that order, it's our home and we take a lot of pride in it.  As the political satirist P.J. O'Rourke once said, "Cleanliness becomes important when godliness is unlikely" - and on a sailboat at sea, nothing could be closer to the truth!


Brittany & Scott


Lisa said...

You know what my biggest organizational problem is? Books. At home and on the boat. And guess what I just did, thanks to you. Yep, bought another book. I sure hope it will help me figure out how to organize the books on the boat, along with everything else.

Darwin Grenwich said...

"My cleanliness is in a pile in the corner next to my godliness."

Good advice though. We could all stand to improve order aboard!

Windtraveler said...

@ LISA!! I hear you. It's a problem on our boat. My only solution for you would be to invest in an e-reader and a really good waterproof case for it! I have a "nook" and really like it - they are super affordable now and can hold something ridiculous like 1500 books or something...I don't think our boat would even FIT that many "actual" books. But then agian, nothing beats an 'actual' book... Good luck!
@ it.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...