Stowage and Storage


Looking around the interior of a 30′ foot sailboat you wouldn’t think it could hold much stuff. However, boats this size can easily carry a ton or more of accoutrement. A lot of this is spare parts and tools that allow one to fix almost any problem anywhere. Some of it is sailing related like lines, sails, anchors, and anchor chain. If fitted out for a cruise, food, supplies, and personal items quickly add up as well. But where does all this stuff go?

The shape of a sailboat’s interior space is dictated primarily by hull shape requirements. Functional areas and living spaces on the Czardas follow the common pattern for a 30′ sailboat and include sleeping areas, a galley, head, eating and sitting areas, and a chart table. All the remaining spaces–over, under, behind, and around those functional spaces–are where things get stowed.

Larger lockers

None of these storage spaces is rectangular and they are all modest in size, the very largest being about 9 cubic feet. A line of cabinets with doors rings much of the cabin at chest height but these compartments are too small for equipment and are best used for personal items and supplies. Larger lockers are underneath the settees, quarter berth and V-berth. But the openings into these spaces are still small.

Sterilite Container

It has taken some effort but I finally have found several containers that are the right shape and size to fit through the small openings and still hold a set of items. Sterilite 6 quart shoe boxes ($1/each) have become my workhorse storage container. They fit through the locker openings and are large enough to hold a set of things like engine spares, bulbs and fuses, and plumbing parts.

Rigger's Bag from Duluth Trading Co.

The right tool containers were particularly difficult to find. Luckily I hit on two items from Duluth Trading Company: a rigger’s bag and well-made wrench roll. The rigger’s bag holds nearly all the common hand tools including screw drivers, pliers, and crimpers while allowing easy access to everything. For larger, less commonly used tools, I stumbled on a long, narrow bag by Makita for $10 that holds an 18″ pry bar, torque wrenches, hammer, and lots more.

Deciding where to put things is a challenge as is knowing where to find them later. Common wisdom says to label all containers and make a diagram that shows where everything is. I certainly intend to do both of those things. When choosing where to stow something, there’s contention between commonly used items and items that are rarely needed but must be readily at hand. Emergency flares and hull plugs fit into the latter category and occupy one of the more choice lockers, although the chances are good they will never be needed.

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