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Personal Comfort

Keeping your backside comfy

Virtually all sailors gave up using cotton for sails decades ago, yet many still wear cotton underwear. Only sailors who are convinced that they will never have to spend several hours sitting on a damp deck should wear cotton next to the skin. Polypropylene underwear doesn't retain moisture the way cotton does and so moves it away from the skin. The result is that you feel both drier and warmer. And you may avoid an unpleasant nappy-rash.

Fresh Water

The prospect of unlimited fresh water while cruising, where lengthy periods of severe rationing were formerly the rule has lured many cruisers to invest in water-makers. However, as always, there is no free lunch. To have your water tanks constantly full, you must not only pay for and religiously maintain the water-maker, you must also carry the extra fuel to generate the power to run it, as well as putting up with the noise of the engine which does so.

In fact, most cruising boats can manage on relatively little fresh water even if a water-maker is installed. Pressure water pumps are the primary culprits in wasting water. These pumps also place greater strains on piping connections. We know of four boats in which the failure of piping connections has caused the pump to empty the tank into the bilge. Foot pumps allow efficient use of water without wasting it.

If you want to install a shower, also fit a small header tank - just big enough to hold water for one sensible shower. The person taking the shower hand-pumps water into the tank and then gravity does the rest. A water heater is an expensive and inefficient luxury on a boat. A kettle will supply all the hot water needed for almost anything but a bath.

On a recent 37 day passage from South Africa to Australia, the two of us managed on about 200 litres of fresh water.



Cabin Tables

Our friend Don Street is a great advocate of the gimballed table. We had one on 'Sunstone' for a few weeks when we first bought her. We gave it away. Perhaps we are a little lacking in co-ordination, but it is a real test of skill to match your own motion to that of the table in a seaway. Though the food stays on the plate, both you and the table are rolling, usually in opposite directions. If you are sitting to windward, it's a long way from the table, located just over you lap to your mouth. On the lee side things are a little better, with the table just under your chin, but you do risk a 'face in a plate job' on a particularly heavy roll. Is it worth the trouble? Sorry, Don, we think not.

Fixed tables in the middle of the cabin are nothing but a nuisance. They must be strongly enough fastened not to be torn away when you fall against them. If they are, then you will hurt yourself when you do. Eating at a table of any kind at sea is impractical. It is far better to sit nicely wedged in some where, with your dinner in a deep bowl, spoon in hand, stoking away, than trying vainly to be 'civilised' at a table.

Of course it is nice to have a table in port. We have one. It folds neatly and attractively with its leaves around the mast at sea and is held securely, in its lowered position, to the cabin deck by thumb-screws, when in port. When lowered it looks and behaves just like a fixed table.



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