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