Mar 29, 2013

Our Top Sixes

By the way, I'm wearing the smile you gave me.

Many boaters from captains of mega-yachts to sailors of tiny day sailboats or paddle boarders comment, as you’ve heard me say before, on our boat: its classic lines, its unusual color scheme, its woodwork and its excellent condition.  In doing so, many also ask to visit Déjàlà to check out if the inside matches the outside.  From these numerous visits, we’ve been surprised by nearly unanimous comments about the top five-six interesting things we have built or put together to help us work and live better aboard.

Small doorway for Nikki
1.       Nikki’s (the 12 pound dog) OWN doorway and stairway

Inside the cockpit, on the starboard side, a small opening was cut out to allow Nikki access to/from in/outside.  This opening can be closed so water/rain/intruders cannot get in.  While in Long Beach a raccoon and a cat came in to steal Nikki’s vittles so we are careful to monitor that door when at dock.  Once inside, a small step was built halfway from the quarter berth and the floor so she doesn’t have to jump down too far.  Her food and water are located next to her entryway.  While at sea, she is harnessed in a way that she can access her door, her food and water, or stay with us in the cockpit or sleep in the quarter berth away from sun and wind.  Her step also holds our galley’s fire extinguisher, serving more than one purposes.  Since we live in such tight quarters, we try to always have more than one purpose for things we build or buy for the boat.  Her little doorway also allows more air flow through the interior. Should this be turned back into a quarter berth, it would also add air/light to that area.

Gray step left of our steps is also for Nikki
The people's stairway - compact and efficient
2.       OUR (the two legged ones) own stairway

The stairway that came with the boat was your typical stairway i.e.: much like the ones you find in homes.  It used a lot of floor space in the galley (kitchen) area.  A friend who had been in the Peace Corps in Ecuador showed us a picture of a stairway he had seen there that might fit the bill.  Mike found a used set of stairs at a marine shop and re-fitted it to follow the pattern seen on the picture of the Ecuadorian version.  They turned out great and they save at least two squared feet of floor space, something all small boat owners look for.  Sometimes ‘thinking outside the boat’ pays off.  Thanks to the cutouts halfway on one side of the stair step then on the other side of the next step and on down the stairs left, right, left right, etc, it allows a much steeper stairway; somewhat like a ladder without the use of skinny rungs.  This design is especially brilliant for folks with big feet! 

Spice rack above back cushion - right side - for less frequently used spices
Spice rack near stove with more often used spices 
3.       Cloth Spice Racks

Above the two seats on each side of our dining room table, cloth spice racks were added holding 28 spices.  Above the seat nearest the stove are stashed the most commonly used spices.  The one on the other side of the table carry the lesser used ones.  The 4oz jars inside each pocket are labeled on the lid and alphabetized for ease of retrieving.  These jars could also be used to store any small objects for non-cooks: bolts, screws, nuts, beads, shells, pins, needles, batteries, etc. 

Outboard motor mounted at V berth - it has extra long shaft
Seen from above outside through front hatch 
4.       Outboard Motor Mount

As you already know from previous articles on this blog, we do not use the V berth while sailing since it is too roily and rocky to sleep there.  Instead the V berth is turned into storage for all the canvas covers taken down: mainsail, bimini, winches, handrails, compass and wheel covers, as well as storage of the kayaks, and outboard motor.  But our outboard does not go in the V berth where it possibly could leak oil/gas.  Mike built a special bracket at the near end of the V berth, between our ‘his and hers’ closets.  The outboard attaches to this bracket (as it would on a dinghy) once passed through the hatch situated immediately above.  We use a halyard to quickly and effortlessly bring the motor down into place just before we sail off.  It is very secure and keeps the weight low which is better all around. Although we no longer have an outboard, we still like the idea of keeping heavy things lower and inside...

Open curtain showing net full of snacks and first aid kit
Same area with closed curtains
5.       Safety Storage Curtains

The inside of Déjàlà is mostly varnished wood so it could look quite dark; but we painted just a couple sections of the paneling near the portholes above the galley, dining area, and sitting area and hung curtains the same color over the storage shelves.  They are on tracks that can be tied down when sailing so items stored on each side of the boat don’t go flying when heeling over.  These curtains really lighten up the inside of the boat while keeping things safe and stored correctly.  The track system allows for easy access when needing any of the stowed items in these areas and also allows for quick take down when washing or cleaning.  They are not as heavy and cumbersome as wood doors or drawers and to date, seem to hold things in just as efficiently.  Of course, we don’t keep anything heavy up high and that also helps. 

Curtains on tracks at top and bottom
Speaking of curtains, our window curtains are also on tracks, top and bottom, so they don’t move when rocking or light doesn’t sneak through the bottom since the windows are on a slant.  They keep the place nice and dark if docked in a brightly lit marina.

Door shoe rack for all small items
6.       Shoe Rack Storage for Small Items

A shoe rack is attached to the inside of the head’s (bathroom) door.  Each pocket is labeled and this rack houses all small items we need/look for on a regular basis.  Things like reading glasses, boat cards, small flashlights, calculator, magnifying glass, alarm clock, MP3's, electronic plug-ins, pens, pencils, markers, etc… 

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