Working hardcore on our boat over the past few years has been such an eye opening experience. Not just in the methods and techniques of boatwright(ry), since any new activity is going to have a specialized set of skills you need to complete the task at hand, but more so to me, it has been performing these tasks while confined to a “box” about 9 x 14 feet. The screws take no less a screwdriver and the bolts take no less a wrench to be fastened. We still need that drill, a hammer, this jigsaw and the sander to get it done. The job does not care that our boat is a mere 32 feet long by 11 feet wide, it just is.

When we bought Sundowner there were no tools on board to speak of, only spares and tidbits carried along over 3 previous Circumnavigations. Not being used to boatwork, or “remote work” we often very frustratingly left tools and hardware at home as we tried our best to work on our boat in a town 1 hour away. “GAH!” was the usual sound below decks during those days…a many unproductive days.

We started to finally make progress 3 years ago when we moved the boat from Mandeville to New Orleans, where we both living, and inventoried and emptied the boat of the Previous Owner’s contents. It was a great feeling to have the boat empty…so we could begin filling her with our stuff.

Slowly we brought tools, spares, hardware, glue, epoxy, sandpaper, trashbags, cleaning and painting supplies, respirators and rope to the boat. Anything and everything we thought we needed ended up on the boat and got left out in the open and easy to access. What’s the point of storing everything nice and tidy when you constantly have to search and pull it out again. While it wasn’t pretty it was functional for a nonsailing boat (almost 2 years now) and made life a hell of alot easier.

Over this time during different projects I tried to save all of the old hardware, especially washers, nuts, alright looking bolts and any other important looking hardware like backing plates, d-shackels and “not sure what this is”es. I would capture them in plastic bags and try to label what they were. This led to ALOT of large plastic bags containing small pieces to a bygone project.
Dani with lots of bolts

Similar to the hardware we’ve collected bits and pieces from other projects and moused them away, to be dealt with another day.
Mess in the galley
Nav area mess

I hope our living room doesn’t look like this again for long.
Total disaster in the salon
Mess where the table with go

Since we are closing down these recent major projects and getting the boat ready to sail and race it was time to tackle the “STOWAGE”. If you haven’t lived or worked on a boat this term may seem benign, but it fills me trepidation. I remember when I used to think this would be easy. Oh yeah just put a few things away and BAM we’re ready. These easy peasy thoughts materialized instead into hours long frustration of putting things in cabinets only to remove them from the same cabinet when it didn’t make sense anymore because something better could go there. I realized that things tip over when a boat is heeling so simply “putting that epoxy in the cabinet” wasn’t going to cut it, unless you like cleaning.

I volunteered and wanted to do this task sort of on my own as I feel I am more organized overall than Tate and so after much trial, error and years of working and rearranging things in our workshop I am just starting to feel that the “STOWAGE” of our boat is not that hard.  Getting the frustration out early and learning the ins and outs of how to pack our boat now will hopefully make things easier later when we REALLY pack it.

Instead of shoving the organized mess above into cabinets and calling it good I spent about 10 hours going through most everything in the boat and getting it right. I painstakingly went through all of the hardware and put them in cute little Akro Mils storage boxes I got from Amazon. (Funny, must be hardware organizing season because Melissa from Little Cunning Plan did the same thing but in bags and with LABELS) I ended up with about 30 empty ziploc bags, no joke.
Organizing all of the hardware

I also tried to rid the boat of any cardboard like old boxes and packaging. LET me TELL you…it’s amazing how much space can be saved when you throw out the packaging. Hard to believe there were 4 trash bags full of things that, well, weren’t trash just a moment before. Everything in these bags is cardboard, plastic bags and bits of old hardware. So much trash going out

Around 1am in the freezing cold I finished and all my hard work was worth it. This is the most organized and ready to sail the boat as ever been…We could literally move aboard if we wanted and OH how I want to.

I made good use of the cabinet storage.
Stowage Cleaning the galley

Tate still has to put his tools up, but that’s easy.
Stowage Nav table clean

At last! Our Salon is back and ready for the table.
Stowage Salon clean
Port side salon cleaned

I feel a new vibe coming up.