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Bundle up your boating equipment

What is a spar bag for your sailboat?  This is a bag that will contain the mast, boom, running rigging and possibly the sail all together in one bag.  It is usually necessary to tie this bag on deck somewhere, because most boats don’t have below-deck storage for anything of this length. Whatever tie-down system you devise, the first requirement is that it be strong.  A grommet and line attached to one layer of fabric won’t do.  In all the stories you read things being washed away at sea, the spar bags are the most common losses. Once the gear is in the bag, it constitutes a fair amount of weight, thereby creating lateral resistance to any waves that might come aboard.  Each tie-down must be reinforced and the line allowed to wrap around the outside of the entire bag to distribute the load.

Here is another fun project for you who are adventuresome. Life jackets are Coast Guard-required for all boats.  They are also items that, for obvious safety reasons, should be kept near at hand.  Because of the materials they are made of, jackets rot easily from exposure to sunlight, heavy weather and moisture.

Most of the time, people keep them stashed in a cockpit or bridge locker where they tend to get wet and dirty, or covered up with gear.  When an emergency arises, the life jacket is hard to get at and is often so tangled up in its own straps that a person struggling in the water will find it useless.  A solution to all of these problems is a life jacket bag that lives on deck and holds four to six life jackets, keeping them dry, clean, untangled, and ready for use at a moment’s notice.  We always think we are ready for an emergency, but quite frankly, we never are.

A good stowing area on most saiboats is aft on the lazarette deck or on the stern pulpit.  Before you construct the bag, determine where you will want to store it so you can decide what kind of fastening system you will require.

Interior and exterior cushions add much to the beauty and comfort of a sailboat.  Their placement, size, and fabric will directly affect their usefulness and durability.  They are well worth careful planning.

When it comes to cushions, I first need to discuss the foam.  Airex is a closed-cell foam that is softer than the first closed-cell foams and doesn’t shrink with age as much as the original unicellular foams.  Airex foam is twice as expensive as polyurethane foam, but it will lasts four times as long and is much easier to care for.  Because it will not absorb water, you won’t have to have to store soggy cushions or sit on wet ones.

Happy sailing.

About Sally Cowan (50 Articles)
After Keeping You in Stitches for over 45 years, Sally enjoys her memories of events that happened on her way to retirement. Author of 6 books, lectures, teaching, and TV host on PBS and now has time for her many cats and Snuggles, the dog. She also loves playing trumpet in the Anastasia Baptist Church orchestra.

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