Here's a few of our hacks that come to mind after 24 years of live-aboard
Clothes storage hack:
Store your neatly folded clothing
in vacuum bags like those found a WalMart, etc. Stuff half of a dryer sheet in each one. Your clothes will stay dry and mildew free and will smell like they just came out of the dryer when you take them out of the bag. You don't necessarily need to vacuum the bag down, just smash it down or roll it up to get as much air out as possible to reduce storage
Buy a water
bladder that will fit in the bottom of your dinghy
- ours holds 60 gallons. Rig up a 12v or 120v pump
and hose to transfer water
from the bag to the boat's deck
fill. This lets you take the dinghy
into the dock
for water rather than taking the big boat
in. Here's the bladder we use: https://www.bayteccontainers.com/waterbags.html
When not in use, it folds up into a very small, flat package. Some marinas
resent boats wanting to come in just to water up without buying fuel
, etc., but we've never had a problem pulling up in a dinghy and asking, "Do you mind if we get a few gallons of water in our bladder?"
It's rare to find a hatch
that doesn't leak when the boat
is slamming to windward for hours at a time. When offshore
, seal all hatches with 2" vinyl tape all the way around - totally stops all the drips. We learned this from the big racing
boats in Antigua
that were getting ready to take the boats to the med for the season.
Roller Furling hack:
A lot of people scoff at this racing
tactic until they try it. When you want to roll up the headsail on the furler
, turn downwind and sheet out rather than turning upwind and allowing the sail to flog. Even though the sail is full, there's not much pressure on it and it will easily roll in, staying nice and tight on the furler
. Since this is somewhat counter-intuitive, you've got to try it to become a convert.
If you have a freezer
and want to make ice, buy the ice cube trays that have a sealing lid. We have 6 of them (ours are made by Rubbermaid) that we've been using for 18 years. No spills and ice for your drinks!
Battery Water filling Hack:
To add water to your batteries
without spilling it, buy a 2 gal garden sprayer. Remove the spray tip from the wand and slip on a short piece of vinyl tubing. Fill the sprayer with distilled water, pump
up the pressure and you can use the on/off lever from the wand to add water directly to each cell without spilling any.
Deck Shower Hack:
You can dual purpose your battery
water garden sprayer with the spray wand for a deck shower
. Let it sit in the sun for a few hours and you've got a warm pressurized shower with an easy to control on/off valve.
Dinghy Patch Hack:
Inflatable dinghies invariably end up with puncture holes. Conventional wisdom says you have to deflate the dinghy, rough up the surface, apply a patch and wait 24 hours for the glue to cure. Who wants to be without a dinghy for 24 hours?? So, if you have a puncture, cut a patch about the size of a quarter. With the dinghy fully inflated, put a dab of super glue on the patch and press it over the hole. Hold it in place for a couple of minutes with thumb pressure (where a glove or you thumb might stick to the patch). Once the super glue sets, the leak will be fixed. However, super glue will crack over time and the leak will come back. So, over the top of the super glue patch, apply a larger conventional patch. I use "Goop" brand marine adhesive
rather than the expensive special dinghy adhesives, but to each his own. The patch over the super glue patch has no pressure on it since the super glue patch totally stopped the leak so the large patch can cure without the dinghy needing to be deflated. If/when the super glue fails, the top patch will still prevent the leak from reoccurring. Can't tell you how many holes I've patched in my and other's dinghies using this method and have never had a patch failure.
Lots of folks already know this one, but it's amazing how many either don't know it or don't use it. When coming alongside a dock
(especially with a single engine
boat), the first line on should be an aft leading midships spring line, i.e., from a midship cleat running aft to the dock. Once secure to a cleat or piling, you can slowly
ease forward with your wheel
slightly put over to steer away from the dock. The spring line will pull you in alongside the dock and by leaving the engine
at idle, you'll be held against the dock until you can get bow and stern lines secured. We employed this method on our sailboat and now use it with great success on our 80,000 lb steel trawler
(just make sure the cleat and line can take the strain of the boat going ahead at idle).
These are just a few that come to mind. Maybe more later as I think of 'em...