Getting Ready For Spring Sailing

I am talking about the boat silly, not me.  Besides, you may have noticed that they cancelled spring for this year, at least in Illinois.  Today is  April 15th and we are expecting snow tomorrow.  I’m being optimistic and starting to work on my spring move in plan.  I have already taken my master shopping list and stocked up.

I’ll show you pictures from Amazon,  so you can see what I am recommending.  Before you order something, check around for sales.  Menards for instance, had the Concrobium on sale for $5.99 a can.  It usually sells for $9.99.  You can  buy a set of two x-large space bags at Menards.  Amazon and Walmart sell them in sets of multiple sizes.  You will never use the small ones, why pay for them.

Fall Storage

Every fall, I take most of our stuff out of the boat and  store  it in a spare bedroom.  We remove cushions, sails, bedding, clothes, and anything that can get damp or moldy.  We wipe down the vinyl  with vinegar water and tearfully store everything away.  All the other stuff goes in Rubbermaid containers.  We put peppermint tea bags with the sails to prevent mice from getting comfortable.

Spiders and Mice

Yeah,  I am aware they need someplace to live…they can try the neighbor’s camper.   Did you know that bugs and mice do not like peppermint.  This is lucky for me because I do.  We live in a farm house in the middle of a cornfield.  Mice and spiders were constant uninvited guests.  Dave planted peppermint all around the foundation of our house.  We hardly ever get a spider or mouse in the house.  Not to mention, the yard smells wonderful.

Ways to Make Peppermint Work For You

So, you can’t plant peppermint around your boat.  What does work is  essential oils and tea bags.  After we take everything out of the boat,  I throw cheaper generic peppermint tea bags in the corners.  They are easy to clean up in the spring.  You can even put a peppermint tea bag in the Rubbermaid sail containers to keep the mice out.  It beats the smell of mothballs.

Making Peppermint Balls

At Wal-Mart,  I purchased these little round wooden balls called doll heads.

They come in bags of 6.  The reason for the hole in the middle is so the essential peppermint oil can soak in.  I buy the cheap peppermint oil in the pharmacy section of Wal-Mart.  You then put the balls in a sealable bag and add peppermint oil.   The balls will soak in the oil making them fragrant, but not greasy.  After a few days, take them out and place them around the boat.  You can use them over and over again.  I place fresh ones around the boat in the spring.   We put the balls in each berth, under the sink and in the bathroom cabinet.  Yeah, I hate insects.

Fall Bedding Storage

For the winter, the bedding is washed and then sealed in Space Bags.  My sheets and blankets  are fresh and ready to go when spring finally gets here.   I buy the extra large size for blankets, sheets, comforters, and pillows. I have found that Space Bags only work if you store them in another container, tightly packed.  If they are allowed to expand they will.  Stick to the Ziploc brand. They are the only ones that stay vacuum sealed.   I have gotten them on sale at Menards for 2.00 each.  Don’t buy the set of different sizes.  You will only use the large.

Desiccant Bags For Moisture

I throw a few small desiccant bags in each bag before sealing. This keeps them fresh and dry.

A friend a of mine also throws a scented dryer sheet in with hers.  Dave doesn’t like things that smell like perfume so I stick to the desiccant bags.

Storing Towels Fall and Spring

In the container marked towels,  I can store all the towels since they are vacuum sealed.  The towels are not in spacebags.  I have a Food Fresh sealer.   I buy the big rolls that is 11″ wide and seal up a wash cloth and towel in each bag.  Then in the spring I just open the ones we will use and leave the extras in the bags.  They get stored away incase we have guests.  This way they stay clean and fresh and take up no space at all.  I can do the same with extra sheets and blankets.   I usually leave out three sets of towels and 3 beach towels.  That leaves me with 3 sets of each in the storage area under the front berth.  Since all my boat towels are blue, my camper towels are green and my house towels are white, I know exactly where each towel goes after wash day.

Food Storage

Hint:  I also use these bags to store food.  I take the food out of the original packaging. Then just measure enough for one meal and vacuum seal.  I write the cooking directions on the bag.  They take up almost no space.


First Aid and Toiletries

All the food, first aid supplies  and toiletries are removed when we pull her out of the water in the fall.   This is when I check for any item that will expire before the end of the next sailing season.  If something will expire,  use it in the house and replace it in the spring.

Also, I want to start the sailing season off with new supplies, we use up the shampoo, body wash, and toothpaste.  Things like razors, hair brushes, and things that are not expiring go back in the Rubbermaid container till spring.

Rubbermaid,  My Best Friend

Labeling each compartment with a number makes it easy to find things and restock.  We have a corresponding  Rubbermaid container for each.  Our master list is written up by compartment numbers.   I  also mark one box galley and one bathroom.    Restocking the boat in the spring, is fast and easy.   Someone, who is of the male gender, gets really anxious to hit the water in the spring.

In the fall we just fill up the containers and store them.  As we are filling them,  I circle the things on my master list that need replacing.  This way my shopping list is done for the spring. Then,  before spring I go shopping and drop the items in the right Rubbermaid container.


All Electronic equipment is removed in the  fall.   I remove the batteries from everything from the GPS to the clock on the wall.   We have ruined too many of my favorite toys leaving the batteries in.  Give the partially used batteries to your grandkids for toys.  Start the season off with all new batteries.

I have written,  on my master storage list,  how many batteries each electronic device takes.  For instance, GPS (2 AA).  Now, when I go shopping I know what I need for fresh batteries.   Come April they all get fresh batteries and a quick start up to test.  I also have a container on the boat with an extra set of fresh batteries for each electronic device.

Boat Batteries

Remember that your main boat batteries will discharge over the winter.  Keep them charged up to extend their life and make sure you are ready for spring. About once a month Dave plugs in the boat batteries and gives them a little extra juice.

Winter Grime Has To Go

Dust and dirt somehow finds its way into a sealed sailboat.  In the spring we wash the interior with soap and water. Then we rinse with vinegar water,  about a 50/50 mixture.  The smell is gone the moment it dries.   Remember, vinegar kills and prevents mold.

Once it all dries,  we spray Concrobium Mold Preventer.  You want to spray it  in the compartments, where the cushions go, on the floor where the carpet goes, and in any dark corners.  The aerosol seems to get into every crack.

I was lucky to find this on sale for $5.99 a can this spring, you guessed it, at Menards.

Moisture and Mold Prevention

Concrobium keeps the mold from growing.  We spray it a few times a season under the cushions.  If you have been sailing awhile,  you know that this is where, no matter what you do,  moisture collects.

Another problem area is under the mattress.  This year we purchased a product called Hypervent: Condensation Preventing Matting.  It reminds me of a furnace filter.  It provides enough air flow to keep it dry under the mattress and prevent mold and mildew.   I have more info on mold prevention in the article, “Oh No  Mold”

Why This Works For Us

With this system,  it only takes me an hour to unload the boat each fall.  I am washing and sealing the items away when I can’t be out in the boat.  One shopping trip to restock the boat every spring.  Then about two hours to restock it with supplies and make up the beds.  We are out on the water quickly, making the most of the first warm days. That is if we get any??



Pots and Pans: How to Store Them All

In a sailboat you have very limited space for dishes and pans.  We solved the dish problem when we built the dish cabinet.  Now, we needed to  figure out what to do with all the cooking utensils.

Space on a sailboat is at a premium.   I wasn’t about to decide between clothing and pans.  We would have starved to death.  There had to be something  that would take up less space.   I found the Magma nesting pans.

This is 7 pieces all stored inside one pan.  One  handle fits all the pans. The Magma pan set comes in a 7 piece or 10 piece set.  I ordered the 7  piece set.  For the sailboat,  I felt the 10 piece set would be overkill.

They even sell a  carrying case to store it all in.  There is enough room to store your pan set, handle and few utensils.

Easy to Store Easy to Clean

Not only do these pans store inside each other and take up very little space, they are very well made.  They are ceramic coated for easy clean up.  This means you will not be able to use metal utensils.  On the upside,  you won’t be spending so much time scrubbing them either.

The pans are made of stainless steel.  They are heavy enough to heat up fast and keep the heat. If you also use the Wonderbag these pans will be a wonderful addition.

The Magma Nesting Pots are worth every penny.  And now I can have clothes and food.


Under Seat Storage Problems

We were in love with our boat from the moment we brought it home.  The problem came when we tried to move our stuff in.   I originally thought there was more than enough storage.  The problem was access.  When they designed the boat they put the storage out of sight,  but also under the seats and mattresses.  It didn’t seem like a bad idea until I tried to find something.  I needed to put it in the storage hole and know it stayed there.

I will give you links to where we purchased these items.  At the time we bought them this was the cheapest place.  Check out I-boat, West Marine and other places for sales before you purchase.

Hide and Seek

Originally,  you would  move the cushion and there  was your storage.  Problem, you put it in that mysterious hole and you never find it again.  The  seat compartment is an open area.  So when you put something in the hole it can end up way at the other end  in a big pile.   The storage went from one end of the boat to the other.   You also have to remove the seat cushion  to get to the storage.  This drove me crazy.  I want things exactly where I put them.   It is like living with Casper the ghost.  I put it in the far locker and then had to guess where Casper moved it to.

My Idea

Sometimes my ideas really hurt Dave’s brain.  I wanted doors on the front of the seats.  We started looking at doors and designs.  I wanted something that would allow more air flow in the lockers.  So, we started looking for louvered teak  doors.

Under the Sink

Amazon had the perfect door for the area under the sink.  The door was originally a black plastic material.  We took that out and installed this door and frame.

 Our door under the sink. This door comes complete with frame.  This is where we keep all our tools.

Door under the sink.

Garbage Mess

I have major issues with garbage.  I do not want to go into the cabin after a nice day of sailing to find the garbage everywhere.   After about a month of this, I announced  we had to do something about garbage control.  We either had to find a way to contain it or not have any.

Dave decided that it was a shame we had all this space by the control panel.  So he put in a teak door.  Behind it is a metal frame that we alligator clip the garbage bag too.  When it is full we can take out the tool box that is located behind the sink door, and remove the garbage.

We couldn’t find doors the size we needed so we got creative.  We purchased teak vents.  Then Dave used strips of teak to build a frame.  This is what we used for all the door in the front of the seats.


For knobs we used.

We also have a door in the head that goes to a garbage right next to this one.  We can access and empty both from the door under the sink.

For knobs we used these.

Under The Seat Storage

The storage under the seats was impossible to work with.  We decided to put storage doors in front.  You can see two of the three on this side of the boat.  There are also two on the other side.

Storage for  Hardware

Dave used channel iron and Altoid mint containers to store away all his pins, clips, and screws.  These are behind the first door. This space was totally unusable before we installed this door.  You couldn’t even get to it.

Above this rack is the storage area I use for food.  It was supposed to be a cooler.  It works better for dry food. We use an Orca cooler under our table for cold food.

But We Needed It Separated

We needed to be able to separate the other space under the seats.  So, behind the other doors we have glued in pull out drawers. I bought these drawer units at Wal-Mart.  We sectioned it off using one inch styrene and then covered that with the plastic sheeting you put on the wall behind a tub. This way other things we put in the top storage area wouldn’t get wedged between.  This added floatation and made a great wall.

We still wanted to be able to use the space on top these drawers.  We had a bunch of space we could use under the seat doors.  So we built that in by putting the styrene on top the drawer containers.  You can see how that looks before we installed the drawers.  This picture shows how you can put down that rubber shelf liner to keep things from slipping around.

Under the Beds

The storage space under the beds was wide open.  I put a can of butane fuel in one section and never found it again.  The styrene and plastic worked so well we decided to use it to section off the storage spaces under the beds.  This gave us quite a bit of useable space for things we don’t need very often.  You wouldn’t want to put things you use every trip under there. It is too hard to lift up the mattress.

Out of the Way Storage

I wanted a place to keep the charts and the battens for the main sail. Here is  the 1″ PVC pipe for the battens and a two inch PVS pipe on the other side holds the charts. Our rain gear is in the net.



The Stairs

My favorite storage place in the whole boat is the stairs.  The original stairs were ugly and unsafe.  They were very narrow and steep.

The cabin looking into the main berth.

Dave designed these to be safer and also provide storage.   I keep all my manuals and a few safety items in the top stair storage area.

You can see how easy it is to give your boat your personality.  That is one thing I love about the Macgregor.  Seabreeze is becoming an extension of us.

Coming soon the new companionway door and screen door.  Here is a sneak  peek.


Cooking For Food Poisoning

Review of the Wonderbag

Everyone was  talking about this slow cooker called the Wonderbag.   It was added to my cart a handful of times.   I kept backing out due to my fears of food poisoning.   I could not get past the fact that leaving food out is considered dangerous on all levels.   You leave the food cooking in this bag for up to 8 hours.

After many discussions on the sailing forums,  I decided to order one.  It is a non-electric retention cooker.  What that means is, you first heat  the food to boiling.  You then place the pan, lid and all in the bag, cover it with the top cushion and pull the draw strings tightly shut.  The recipes will tell you how long to leave the food in the bag.

Before Using, When The Bag Arrives

The bag as it arrives vacuum sealed.

When the bag arrives it is vacuum packed and the foam must be allowed to expand.  You take it out of the plastic and shake it to loosen the foam pieces.  Then you simply pull the drawstrings closed and wait for the foam to expand, about an hour.  Now, your bag is ready to use.

Okay, Ready to Try It Out!!!

Trying it in my kitchen first seemed like a good idea.  If I ruined the food at home we could go out to eat.  If I tried it out on the boat, there would be no lunch.  Also, my plan was to keep a close eye on the temperature.  This would be easier at home.  I used this thermometer to keep an eye on the food without opening up the bag.


Advantages of Non-Electric

I could see the benefit of not using all our stored solar power to run a crockpot.  A crockpot running for 8-10 hours is a real drain on the solar batteries.  Cooking while the boat is heeling is a real pain.  This way I could get it to boiling, put it in the bag and sit it safely in the sink.  In the sink it couldn’t tip over or spill.

My First Time Using the Bag

I decided to make the Beef Stew.  I put all the ingredients in a heavy ceramic dutch oven pan,  then brought it to a boil.   The cookbook that came with the Wonderbag said to let it sit for a minimum of 4 hours.  I checked the temperature throughout the cooking process.   At no time did it drop below 135 degrees, which is considered  a safe temperature for food.

After five hours we served the Beef Stew with cooked rice.  It was really good.  Everything in the pan had continued to cook while in the bag.  I was actually surprised.   I was expecting either raw food or food poisoning.   We had neither of them. Next time I will use a few more seasonings than it called for. That will not change the cooking of it but will make it more to our liking.

Now I See the Benefits

For sailboats this means cooking without gas or electric.  It also means one cooking utensil  to wash.  You will mix and cook it all in one pan.   I also love the idea that I can put it safely in the kitchen sink, knowing that when I come below, food will not be all over the walls.  When we are out on the boat I want to be on deck enjoying myself not below cooking.  Cooking this way only takes a few minutes to bring it to a boil.  I do not have to be below stirring.

This really is a great way to cook onboard.  The Wonderbag folds,  taking up no more room than a towel.

These reviews are not paid for in any way. Our opinions are not for sale. If we don’t like something we will tell you why.  We purchase the products, which means we are not in anyway compensated for our review.