Lightening Up the Sailing Load
Still trying to find a place to stow everything for that big summer cruise? Here are a few organizing accessories that we've found handy in the past few years:
Stowage bags: Camping compression sacks used for sleeping bags and other gear offer a great way to stow clothes, linens, or blankets that you’ll need but use infrequently. Waterproof versions used for river-rafting are ideal for taking laundry ashore in the dinghy. Practical Sailor has also tested vacuum bags and some clever zip-bags from Right Track Designs that mount on tracks—great for temporarily expanding space in quarter-berths.
Nesting cookware: A set of nesting pots and pans take up one-quarter of the space normally required. The heavy-duty set from Magma was the PS favorite.
Inflatable fenders: You can quickly gain a couple or more cubic feet in deck lockers by replacing most of your rubber fenders with inflatable versions. I like to also keep on board a couple of conventional heavy-duty fenders, since they are always ready for launch. Practical Sailor’s favorite inflatable fenders were from Easystow and Aere.
E-reader: One of the handiest devices we have on board is our Kindle (hers) and our iPad (his). While we still keep hard copies of navigation books and cruising guides, our leisure reading has migrated to the e-reader. In our reader survey, the Kindle earned a top spot. Any e-reader that is compatible with PDFs can read the electronic version of Practical Sailor. To download the PDF version click “Download this issue” on the online home page for the desired issue. You may have to use your “send-to-kindle” email address provided by Amazon, or use a third party app to convert and share the file in the most e-reader friendly format.
Bicycles: We spent several years disassembling our mountain bikes, stowing them in the V-berth, and then reassembling them in each harbor. With our rock-hopping days behind us, we’re now quite happy with the Bike Friday, the crème-de-la-crème of folding bikes. There are several other affordable versions, including a rugged folding mountain bike from Montague, based on a model designed for paratroopers, and several models from Dahon, maker of PS’s favorite folding bike in 2006.
Roll-up dinghy: Rigid inflatable dinghies make great station wagons, but they are hard to stow on deck a small boat. We compared two roll-up dinghies with high-pressure inflatable floors. Any of these will fit in big cockpit locker. Our favorite 11-footer was the Cadet 340 Fast Roller from Zodiac.
Dinghy pocket: While you’ll gain only a few extra square inches with the Stow-away Deck Plate from Beckson, this handy pocket is a convenient place to keep your keys, wallet, and other small items in your dinghy or the cockpit of a small boat.
Stern-line: Tying a stern-line ashore is a standard procedure in some tight anchorages. The Ultraline spool from Ultra Marine West (see PS December 2006) filled with braided flat Dyneema line frees up a big chunk of locker space.
Of course, Sometimes the simplest stowage solution is to ask, “Do I really need this?”