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Old 17-10-2013, 18:46   #1
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Spares - Nuts, Screws, Electrical Stuff

Hi all,

I was trying to clean out my boat today, removing some of the many spares aboard. I ended up with 5-6 containers that each hold SS screws, nuts, bolts, electrical terminals, light bulbs, etc. So how much is enough?
What do you carry onboard, and how is it sorted? I have all this stuff compartmentalized but think I should just throw like items together and take most of it home.

Thoughts?

Cheers, Bill
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Old 17-10-2013, 19:13   #2
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Re: Spares - Nuts, Screws, Electrical Stuff

That is about the same as we have - maybe we have one or two more than you. They are surprisingly heavy, aren't they?

The key word you used is "home". If we had a "home" that was easily accessible, a lot of stuff on our boat would be in it. After all, if something breaks, it is easy to go home and get the spare.

Being that our boat is our home, the spare stuff you mentioned is invaluable. I don't think a day goes by where I don't dive into the nuts/bolts/screws/washers containers. Rarely a month goes by when I don't dive into the electrical terminal containers (one for each red/blue/yellow sizes and another for odd ones). Light bulbs not so much, but we don't have that many of them as spares.

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Old 17-10-2013, 22:26   #3
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Re: Spares - Nuts, Screws, Electrical Stuff

This is a "how long is a piece of rope" question.

It is entirely dependent on
a) how hard you sail and in what weathers
b) where you sail and in proximity to what shoreside suppliers
c) how long you sail and are there spares at the far end?
d) are you a permanent liveaboard?

If d), as colemj pointed out, think how much stuff you have in your garage. Sure, you can pare it down, but at a certain point, you are going to want to have a wide range of SS bolts, silicon bronze screws, washers, O-rings of various types and sizes...or you can not carry that and have, shall we say, raw faith.

I did a delivery with a fellow CFer a few years back. The seas were rough enough to tear out (if I recall) 1/2" bolts keeping a Raymarine AP unit mounted on a plywood shelf. Skipper had some replacements in the same sort of "lucky dip" container you describe, and welcome they were.

So if you go any distance whatsoever, I'm convinced you need to carry a little bit of everything, or, in the form of alu bar stock, cotter pins and rings and a large variety of weird and possibly antique shackles, the means to get you to a place where you can restock a little bit of everything. Only you, the skipper, can make that call, but it all looks more reasonable sorted into those plastic sectional containers.
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Old 18-10-2013, 12:58   #4
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Re: Spares - Nuts, Screws, Electrical Stuff

I am a big fan of the Plano waterproof boxes. Don't forget to look at the fishing boxes too. I got my from home depot. Water and air tight. Your spares stay in good condition.

As far as what to carry, I guess this is one of those personal decisions that depend on where you will be going and what condition you boat is in. I have two of the 3700 size of various ss nuts, bolts, washers and screws, one of that size with just electrical connectors, one with various size shrink wrap, one with various size fuses and bulbs, one of the 3600 size with various size o rings, one 3600 of various size cotter pins and two of the 3700 deep with various oversized things. This is on top of all of the engine spare parts I carry.

My boat is relatively new (2001) and in good condition. Our intended cruising grounds are the US east coast, Bahamas and Caribbean. So parts won't be impossible to get and I try to keep this supply of spares as light as possible. I could probably cut this down by half and still be good.

Good luck,

Jesse
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Old 18-10-2013, 13:26   #5
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Re: Spares - Nuts, Screws, Electrical Stuff

Quote:
Originally Posted by montenido View Post
I was trying to clean out my boat today, removing some of the many spares aboard. I ended up with 5-6 containers that each hold SS screws, nuts, bolts, electrical terminals, light bulbs, etc. So how much is enough?
What do you carry onboard, and how is it sorted? I have all this stuff compartmentalized but think I should just throw like items together and take most of it home.
Hello Bill. I too have a ton (well quite a few pounds) of stainless nuts, screws and bolts. Mine are sorted into various old medicine bottles and spice containers. Sometimes I'll need a pan head and sometimes not. Sizes vary from small to 3/8th's. At first (5.5 years ago) they were much more accessible but still I find a use for one or more at least once every week or two. I like the medicine bottles because they are clear -- those that aren't have the type glued (silicone adhesive) on the cap. All my lock nuts are in one aspirin bottle, and the washers in another...

I would not be without these items nor the electrical components. Just yesterday I found the ground eye for the solar panel on the dink had broken. Because I had spares aboard Seaweed, in a short time Algae was again charging.

As far as storing, I would keep items sorted -- grab some medicine bottles or spice shakers and use those. I do have my butt connectors and terminal eyes in one container only because I don't have many left. That will change! I am not fond of those drawer containers (stuff shifts) nor the plastic Plano boxes because though neat and tidy the boxes are bulkier to stow. In an ideal world I'd have my spice jars on narrow shelves bolted to a door or locker with fiddles to hold them in place.

Good luck Bill.
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Old 18-10-2013, 13:56   #6
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Re: Spares - Nuts, Screws, Electrical Stuff

Whenever I buy fasteners, crimps, or whatever, I buy double and the extras go in the spares.

A good audit of the spares now and then does not go amiss.... my boat came with an impeller for a completely different engine... very handy!
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Old 18-10-2013, 15:26   #7
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Re: Spares - Nuts, Screws, Electrical Stuff

All of them! And all of them in stainless...

Of course, having the taps and dies that match the spares, is equally helpful, as half of the time they are needed to make use of the spares.
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Old 18-10-2013, 15:48   #8
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Re: Spares - Nuts, Screws, Electrical Stuff

The key is storing them so that you have easy access to what you need. I use a soft Plano storage system with 4 trays. It comes in 2 sizes. I use the larger size. Trays are labeled "Screws" "Bolts" "Nuts, Cotter Pins/Rings" and "Electrical." I keep a spare container in he galley where I can drop misc stuff and then sort it out once a month or so. Whenever I find that I need a screw or bolt that I'm missing, I buy what I need plus 4-6 extra, which go in the appropriate tray. By now, the whole thing probably weighs about 40 lbs. Heavy, but I generally have what I need with no hassle.
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Old 18-10-2013, 16:25   #9
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You can't have too many spares, as far as I'm concerned. When you need something at sea, you really need. Not just spares, but materials. Even scraps, old parts, broken things, can often be crucially needed.

The other thing, however, is that if you can't find it, it might as well not exist, so imposing order on your collection is essential.
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Old 18-10-2013, 18:30   #10
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Re: Spares - Nuts, Screws, Electrical Stuff

Thanks for the replies. I save most screws/parts even at home, so I have PLENTY on board. Today I pared it down a bit and gave my dock-mate about 5 lbs of SS fasteners. Rest assured I have lots of all sizes left, as well as a wide variety of electrical terminals and bulbs. I also have10-20' each of different gauges of wire, fuel filters, belts, etc., etc. I am only heading to Mexico, so I know that most boat parts can be obtained there. I just wanted to be sure that when stuff beaks, I have enough on hand to fix it without weighing the boat down with duplicates.

Now how about wardrobe items for men? What are absolutely necessary items for a 2-week cruise? I tend to pack on the light side .

Thanks and cheers, Bill
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Old 19-10-2013, 09:01   #11
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Re: Spares - Nuts, Screws, Electrical Stuff

/RIGHT]
Quote:
Originally Posted by montenido View Post
Thanks for the replies. I save most screws/parts even at home, so I have PLENTY on board. Today I pared it down a bit and gave my dock-mate about 5 lbs of SS fasteners. Rest assured I have lots of all sizes left, as well as a wide variety of electrical terminals and bulbs. I also have10-20' each of different gauges of wire, fuel filters, belts, etc., etc. I am only heading to Mexico, so I know that most boat parts can be obtained there. I just wanted to be sure that when stuff beaks, I have enough on hand to fix it without weighing the boat down with duplicates.

Now how about wardrobe items for men? What are absolutely necessary items for a 2-week cruise? I tend to pack on the light side .

Thanks and cheers, Bill
Check them w/magnet, Save them and sail them to the folks on remote islands and/or atolls. It will give you an unbelievable high. Since you are in California, think about a cruise to the Marshall/Caroline Islands.
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Old 19-10-2013, 13:57   #12
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Re: Spares - Nuts, Screws, Electrical Stuff

My fave boxes are those that have a common top - I open the mother box and can see all my glorious stuff.

Do not take the shortcut and place various sizes and styles together - takes ages to find the right one then!

PS No matter how many we keep, there is always that special kind that we need but do not have!

b.
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Old 19-10-2013, 14:38   #13
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Re: Spares - Nuts, Screws, Electrical Stuff

monte, what you have is properly called a "hell box". Because if you just stick your hand in, it is going to hurt like hell. Or something like that. I got up to about three of them before I decided to use some Tupperware (ok, Chinese takeout containers are free but they're round pegs in square places) and sort things out a bit.

Self-tapping here, matched nuts & bolts there, odd hardware bits in the third. And a piece of duct tape with a label on each box.

How much is enough? Damfino. Put 'em on the dock next to a coffee can with a slit in the top and a sign "HARDWARE SALE, a quarter a piece, honor system" and see what you can get.<G>
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Old 19-10-2013, 15:25   #14
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Stainless rod and metric and imperial taps and dies are pretty handy as well. But eventually there is a limit. What that limit is, who knows?
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Old 19-10-2013, 15:42   #15
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Re: Spares - Nuts, Screws, Electrical Stuff

What you have is not enough... always. The one piece you need will not be in those 20 lbs of spares. The one machine screw embeedd in glass that you need a nut for will be some sort of metric fine thread ... and you wont have one in your 10 lbs of screws. It's a rule. One of Murphy's corallarys I think.
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