Cruising hacks, Totem-inspired

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This post is all about a few small items that can help with space, organization, or just simple tricks that make life easier. All of these pictures were taken on board Totem, during our unbelievable 10 days aboard in Panama. If you don’t follow Behan and Jamie and their kids, who at this writing are closing in on their circumnavigation after 10 years out, you’re missing out. www.sailingtotem.com

 Random shot of sailing on Totem, off of Panama's coast.

Random shot of sailing on Totem, off of Panama's coast.

 

1.     A pair of silpat baking mats that you can roll out tortillas in between. I’d not thought about this trick, which will save flour, oil, plastic wrap – anything you might use to stop thin dough from sticking to whatever surface you’re working on. Of course, you can use the mats (one at a time, anyway) for their intended purpose and just bake cookies or pastries on them. 

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2.     A small white board pinned to the bulkhead near the galley, where you list items to be used up, items you need to purchase, and even (if you’ve got a large crew) who’s in charge of dishes for the next dish event. I particularly like the “things to use up” category, as even in a tiny boat fridge it’s easy to lose track of what you’ve got tucked in there. This list means you won’t waste food, an always-helpful aspect of life on a budget. 

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3.     Double magnet bars as a knife holder, pinned to the underside of the overhead or on a bulkhead or inside a cabinet. This trick takes advantage of otherwise unusable space. I’ve often seen a single magnet bar used in this way, which makes me nervous. The double magnet bar means the knives are attached on 2 strong points. Behan tells me the only time a knife has come loose in their travels is when someone has knocked it. The passage we did with them, a 44 mile slog in large seas that Jamie casually tossed out as easily one of the top 10 worst passages they’d seen, had those knives staying exactly where they were placed. 

 Note the TWO bars.

Note the TWO bars.

4.     Bins for organization in the fridge. Boat fridges are often top-loading, which can make organization and finding things a true pain. Add to that the constant concern about not leaving the fridge open too long (that cold is electricity which you have to generate, remember – I’d rather be keeping the beer and butter cold than pouring the cold into the air) . . . separating like items in bins makes it far easier to find them. Added bonus – you can store things under the bin, effectively creating layers that can be easily accessed. 

 Essentially small laundry baskets (way small) within the fridge!

Essentially small laundry baskets (way small) within the fridge!

5.     A refillable pump container for sunscreen that fits perfectly into a cup holder in a prominent place in the cockpit. Buying sunscreen in bulk is a good way to save money, but hauling out a humongous container every day (multiple times a day) will get old way faster than you can imagine. Keeping the sunscreen accessible and easily dispensed is a fabulous way to make it more used, and making sure the crew stays protected from the sun is important to long-term health. Sure, wearing long-sleeved shirts and staying in the shade is number one – but you’ll still need sunscreen!

 Fits neatly into the cup holder on the binnacle.

Fits neatly into the cup holder on the binnacle.

All of these save space, sanity, or some kind of resource. Sounds like the perfect cruising hack to me!

See you out there.