Just made for the job
One refreshing thing about Spain is that it is still a country where people carry out many of their own repairs. Evidence of this can be seen in the number of ironmongers (ferreterias) that still exist in even relatively minor towns, Aladdin’s caves filled with every conceivable item for some old fashioned DIY from the tiniest screw to a cement mixer.
The same is true of the chandleries, catering as they do not just to the yacht and power boat fleet, but also the huge sport and commercial fishing market. An extraordinarily wide range of useful material is on display, and whilst much of it is oversized or unsuited to the leisure end of the market, every now and again there are really useful crossover items that fit our world, too. Which is just as well, because more and more we find that things sold as ‘yachting’ items are overpriced and poor quality.
See What The Working Guys Are Using
I’d seen a number of fishing boats in the local harbours with gear stowed in sturdy looking plastic trugs (as gardeners call them) of varying sizes, and thought they looked like they’d have a multitude of uses aboard Pèlerin. So I set about tracking them down, eventually finding a range of different sizes in the local fishermen’s co-op store. And they’ve proved to be perfect for a number of uses already, such as doing our laundry, storing all manner of gear, and my current favourite, stowing our kedge warp.
This is a perennial hassle aboard most boats, as the warp tends to get in a tangle the second you look at it , or as you flake it down into the dinghy for rowing out with the anchor. I’ve tried most things at times, from a large ‘loop’ with lashings, to coiling it down in an old sail bag, but nothing has proved perfect – yet. But this comes close, I think.
The trug in the picture easily holds 75 metres of 16mm nylon octoplait, spliced into 10m of 10mm chain. This is our third and lightest cable, and is really only aimed at use with our stern anchor, but it still weighs somewhere in the region of 75lbs., more than enough to make my back groan when lifting it. We try and stow all of such gear below, much of it in our forward stowage compartment, and the square section of the trug we chose is just the right size to pass through the deck hatch.
Using the power winch in the cockpit and our over-length spinnaker halyard attached to a lifting becket on the two solidly mounted handles, it’s a cinch to lift in or out of the hatch or the dinghy. With the chain stowed at the bottom (and the end tied to one of the handles) and the warp flaked down neatly, it’s ideal for attaching the kedge (usually a Fortress FX-23) and, with the rope end made fast aboard, rowing it out to be set.
Cost of the trug – less than $10. Satisfaction – complete.
Low vs. High Tech
There are, of course, higher tech ways of doing this, such as the excellent German-made Easyroll line drums that come in a variety of sizes and grades of warp – well made, but pricey. We have a custom made drum that bolts to the foredeck for our second cable (80m 20mm nylon octoplait spliced to 30m of 10mm chain), with its own handle for release and retrieval, which is excellent in use, but takes time to set up. But for most general purpose uses we reckon our new, simple, cheap system is as good as any.
Amongst other really good Spanish made items that we can thoroughly recommend are their fishermen’s buckets. These are made from a reinforced rubber compound, which is soft so that they don’t scratch or mark the boat – or us. They have really solid handles with a central eye for attaching a lanyard and are just the right size for hoisting water from over the side, even under way – not too much weight or drag to pull some poor soul over the side. And they’re cheap (at less than $8) and completely unbreakable.
More and more we find ourselves wandering off in the direction of hardware stores rather than chandleries when we’re looking for a solution to some unanswered need – maybe you’ve found some useful items, too, in this way. Let us know with a comment.