Where Does Everything Go?

This page was last updated on July 7, 2002.

Related Pages:  Storage SolutionsBoat Tools & Spare Parts | Books and Entertainment

So, where in the world do you put everything needed for an extended cruise (replete with a self-sufficient theme) on a 28' sailboat with narrow beam and slack bilges?

It isn't easy to find places to put everything.  I have spent huge amounts of time reorganizing the existing lockers, looking for new places to create lockers (which I did over the winter), and moving things around when I find better places for one thing or another.  I find it a sort of challenge, though, and enjoy searching for the most efficient and accessible means of storage for any given item.  

During the spring, when the boat was still hauled out, I began a basic storage plan in a notebook, marking down each locker and writing down what I put in there.  This is very much a work in process as I continue the loading process, but when "complete" (if there is such a thing) it will be a handy reference.  With the bulk of the gear and food on board, I "finalized" the plan by creating some neater versions on my computer.  Further changes will be noted on these sheets and eventually transferred to the electronic file.  I'm not an artist so I didn't try to draw pretty little stowage plans...instead, I used an Excel spreadsheet and "drew" the various storage lockers by creating patterns and borders in the cells as appropriate.  Then I listed the contents of each labeled locker, with additional space for new stuff.

Some of the main storage issues that have come/are coming to light as I continue to prepare for the cruise are as follows:

  • Lockers under the vee berth are accessible only with difficulty, so I try to store things that aren't needed much up there--with the exception of a sort of "tool bench" locker located beneath the center vee inserts, above the new holding tank and water tank, where I store many maintenance-type items like hose clamps, masking tape, caulk, etc.

  • The openings in the lockers above the settees against the hull are too small for many items, but with patience and trial and error, I am finding these are good for foodstuffs and staples.

  • The 4 fenders take up way too much space for the amount they get used.  I don't think I can waste a whole cockpit locker on these silly air-filled things...so I'm working on some other storage areas for these--somewhere where they don't look too terrible and are out of the way.  I ended up so far with two stored on the coachroof, one per side.  The other two...well, I haven't found a good place yet.

  • Keeping weight evenly distributed is hard, but important.  I hate listing boats more than almost anything, so I work hard to avoid even a degree or two.  (We have a slight starboard list now, and it is driving me absolutely crazy!  So far nothing I have done has really corrected it.  I think it's caused by the heavy books on the shelves in the salon.)

  • Lots of stuff will end up stored on deck...there's a reason why long-term cruisers do this.  You can spot a liveaboard a mile away, since his decks will be the ones cluttered with all manner of paraphernalia.  I am coming to terms with this and store more and more on deck.  It's a necessary evil; I prefer everything to be in its place and hidden away, but on a small boat it is simply impossible.

  • I've loaded the bulk of the nonperishable food and other supplies--stuff like pasta, sauces, olive oil, condiments, spices, baking supplies, canned goods, dried sausages, non-refrigerated pub cheese, nuts, crackers...so on and so forth.  What remains is the last remaining items on our seemingly ever-growing list, plus a final perishable food shop (which will, of course, mostly end up in the icebox). 

  • Water stowage...since we don't drink the water in the tank, we must bring bottled water aboard.  Where to stow it?  I want a lot on board because I don't wish to chase down a few small bottles at a small general store every several days.  I ended up cramming 12 gallons of spring water in to the bilge beneath the salon and a few gallons up under the vee berth.  There's actually room for quite a bit more if I chose, but I think I want to avoid any more weight for the moment.  I also stowed a few cases of soda and beer, plus a couple cases of Fruit2O, a flavored spring water product that I enjoy.  I also have several plastic jerry jugs (2.5 gal. each) that I hope to carry on deck, not only to supplement our main supply but also for use to lug water to the boat from shore.  For the past week or two I've been running an informal experiment with one of the jugs; I filled it with water and left it on deck to see if anything grew inside, or if other problems would crop up.  So far, so good.

  • I've tried to keep the most-used items in the more accessible places.  I'm not fond of digging.  Less-used stuff like baking supplies and bulk items went in a large, but more difficult to access, locker beneath the galley countertop.  Common stuff ended up in the lockers behind, beneath, or above the settees, for the most part.  Clothing is stored on each side of the vee berth, on the smallish shelves there, and also we each get one of the large lockers in the settee backs.  Charts are rolled and stored on one side of the vee berth, strapped to the side of the hull and the overhead.

Please also see some of the other sections from the Provisioning Menu for more information and some of the specific storage arrangements.


Glissando, Pearson  Triton #381

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