Things That Broke During Our May Cruise

What happens when you cruise?

You enjoy yourself, even if the weather is crummy (you’re on the boat, after all).  You relax.  You enjoy that indescribable elation of moving in concert with the wind; you experience interaction with the water; you’re exposed to all the weather, no matter what kind; you have tiring days of rough sailing, and calm days at anchor recuperating; you eat good food, drink good coffee, read books, and enjoy some of the best water views possible;  you get to see and appreciate all sorts of watercraft, from sailboats to work boats, speedboats to sailing dinghies.  And you get to break stuff.

Crumby weather, but great sailing.

Crumby weather, but great sailing.

Long mornings at anchor, reading, drinking coffee - I didn't manage to photograph Ruth with coffee in hand, but that's our usual posture this time of day at anchor.

Long mornings at anchor, reading, drinking coffee – I didn’t manage to photograph Ruth with coffee in hand, but that’s our usual posture this time of day at anchor.

Breaking stuff is part of sailing.  That’s because unpredictable stuff happens.  When a puff hits you and you heel more than you expect, wrestling with weather helm, or bracing yourself in the cockpit, stuff tumbles to the low side if you haven’t secured it.  In high wind conditions, everything happens quickly where sail handling is concerned, and the forces involved can be frightening.  So it’s easy to lose track things, like binoculars and hand-held devices, cups, cans or glasses, hats: anything that isn’t in a secure location.

So, although I was disappointed over breaking stuff on this cruise, I wasn’t totally surprised when I sat on my hand-held GPS and cracked the screen.  Nor was I undone when my binoculars slid to the cockpit sole and broke as the boat heeled under a strong puff.

It got stuck behind my folding seat's frame when I sat back down after trimming a sail.  Bummer.

It got stuck behind my folding seat’s frame when I sat back down after trimming a sail. Bummer.

But that made us think and talk about how to avoid the damage.  It boils down to having a secure place for everything while sailing.  This keeps the cockpit organized during chaotic moments, and it keeps things from falling and breaking, or ending up in unexpected places, then being sat on.  Boats with wheels have an advantage here.  They have the helm support structure on which to attach things like brackets, cup holders, and such.  With a tiller-steered boat, it’s a bit different.  The cockpit is wide open, and things left on the seats aren’t secure and safe from motion.

Accordingly, our next set of projects for the boat involve fabric pockets to contain things like GPS, binoculars, charts, glasses case, and maybe even a way to secure a cup or can containing liquid.  I’m aware of the commercial products available, but I would like to think through each piece of gear or accessory and come up with a system and location the really works without compromise.

I’m interested to hear your ideas, if you’d like to share.

Oh, good news:  Garmin will replace my unit with a reconditioned one for $110 – this includes shipping charges.  Seems like a good deal to me.

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