Outfitting Tips from Surprise

Steve and Sue Chamberlin were gracious enought to have their yacht Surprise available at the 2006 "Explore the Possibilities" Seminar held April 16, 2005 at the Strictly Sail Pacific Expo. Below is a collection of photos and tips provided by Steve and Sue on various aspects of outfitting your yacht for a long passage.

Steve's notebook is attached at the bottom of this article!

Foul Weather Gear Storage:

A simple piece of wood temporarily installed at the forward end of the main salon provides a means of hanging gear which will otherwise be strewn about the boat. Hooks or eyes keep everything from sliding to the leeward side; wire ties are used to secure the rail to the overhead handrails. Use plastic hangers.




Spinnaker net:

How could something so hard to see be so important? Voted the best piece of gear on the boat in 2004; prevents spinnaker wraps and makes douses very simple. Used with the double-pole rig you can gybe without lowering the net.

Jacklines and baboon butt:

In addition to the jacklines that run fore and aft it is nice to have one for the cockpit crew on the centerline from the companionway to the helm.

Cushions may seem like a luxury, but it is astounding how hard a fiberglass deck can become after 4-5 days. Inexpensive kneeling cushions from your local hardware store, or stadium cushions work well and can serve as markers to throw overboard in a crew overboard situation.


Double Spinnaker Pole Rig:

Using separate poles for port/starboard is an old trick that makes gybing short-handed easy for boats with dip-pole systems. The new pole is hoisted into position with the topping lift and afterguy, the boat is gybed, and the old pole is lowered to the deck/bow with its topping lift and afterguy. Add a second pole car to the mast, separated by at least 12" to minimize interference when both poles are at the bow (check this!). Split foreguys port and starboard; use a spare halyard as the second topping lift. Weren't you going to take a spare pole anyway?



Lifeline Gates:

There are many stories of crew overboard when the life line gate opens. Tape, wire-tie or otherwise secure these so there is no chance of release. Plastic wire ties are also good for securing main halyard shackles and knots on sheets or throw ropes.


Liferaft Storage:

Finding a convenient place for the life raft is often a challenge. The photos above show a lazerette lazarette locker that has been adapted by installing a "hammock" for the life raft to permit its storage at the top of the locker as required by the regulations. Make sure the locker is watertight if using a valise-style life raft.




When the call comes for "all hands on deck" in the middle of the night, you’ll want to be able to find a flashlight without a search. These are stored in pockets behind the companionway and easy to grab on the way out.


Galley Belt:

Not required, easy to overlook or forget, hard to live without. Want to eat when the going is rough? Make sure your chef is comfortable and safe. Should be positioned to permit reaching the entire galley, but not directly in front of the stove. Golf towel is a great way to keep this from getting lost.


Food and other storage:

These hardware store baskets slide in place in teak strips that have been routed out to accept the edge of the basket. They work well for keeping your stores from rotting or getting crushed. Fit easily into the overhead in a quarter berth.


Duffel bag storage/lee cloths/personal storage areas:

Lee cloths need to start at the far edge of the mattress so that they lift and incline the mattress, not just form a wall. Control lines need to be adjustable by crew in the berth; a small block, ¼" line, snap hook, and a "tent line" adjuster work well. Made these adjusters from ½" PVC pipe.

Everyone keeps their clothing in their duffel bag, but where do the duffel bags live? We store them on the leeward berth, held in place by the lee cloth.

Personal gear storage: The cubby-holes behind the berths are labeled with blue-tape with crew names to designate personal storage. Sea boots, hats, harnesses, tethers and the like live here. Anything left on the cabin sole is carefully inserted into the next spinnaker pack to be seen for the last time when the spinnaker is hoisted.


Make sure everyone in the crew is on the same page. Menu lists, daily check list, and food storage list is a great way to keep everyone focused and ???


Storage pockets:

This neat little piece lives where a seat-back cushion would normally be. Tape labels designate crew names for storage of sunglasses, sun-screen, water bottles, coffee cups, and the like.


Pipe berth:

After five Pacific crossings there is near unanimous agreement that the pipe berth is the preferred accommodation, particularly in the rough going. They look more difficult to fabricate than they are; worth the effort.

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