St. Maarten - Locker Clear-out and Inventory | Distant Shores Sailing Newsletters

St. Maarten - Locker Clear-out and Inventory


Simpson Bay Lagoon

For the last couple of weeks Paul and I have been aboard Distant Shores II anchored in the protected waters of Simpson Bay Lagoon on the Dutch side of the island of St. Maarten/St. Martin. This island is unique in that half the island is Dutch and the other side belongs to France!

Paul and French flag at Fort Louis, St. Martin

It is also a major yachting centre and duty free port which for sailors means it's a great place to stop to do boat projects, repairs, and annual maintenance; stock up the boat with food and goods from around the world at affordable prices; top up the fuel tank and enjoy the camaraderie of fellow sailors.

Paul checking out the latest Raymarine equipment at Budget Marine, one of the major chandleries in St. Maarten

See my newsletter from our last visit, “Leaving St. Maarten” - 05/06/13. The island is a “cruisers crossroad” and you are bound to meet up with sailors you have met elsewhere on your travels. It's also a jumping off spot for sailors heading up or down island, offshore to Bermuda or Panama or across the Atlantic to Europe.

Dinner on board SV Banyan with cruising friends, Alex and Dave.

Like most of the crews on the boats anchored around us, we're taking the opportunity to do a little spring cleaning before the next leg of our voyage. Paul and I try to empty, inventory and clean out every locker on the boat at least once a year and St. Maarten is a good place to do it since here we have access to just about everything that we might need to replace, upgrade, repair or re-stock on our Southerly 49 sailboat. Our plans for this spring include time in the out-islands of the Bahamas where self-sufficiency will be key.


Before loading your boat with provisions and spares, we find that doing a thorough locker clear-out and cleaning helps you to rid yourself of unnecessary clutter to make room for the fresh supplies coming on board. It also helps to remind you of the stores you have so you don't purchase things already on the boat. It's surprisingly easy to forget what's on board despite valiant attempts at updating your inventory lists. Things do settle to the bottom of lockers and erase themselves from your memory or fall off lists.

Checking lockers regularly means that “disasters” such as exploded soft drink cans or cracked ketchup bottles don't go undetected. It is really depressing to return to the boat exhausted from shopping and find a locker you are about to fill with groceries is in an awful mess.


But most important of all is that this is a great time to examine how well you are using the storage space available on your boat and to make changes while the boat is relatively empty. Organizing the boat in a way that is convenient for you and that achieves your goals makes it a nicer place to be. If you like cruising in remote places you'll make carrying lots of supplies a priority for your storage areas versus a crew that loves performance sailing who would keep the boat light and makes sail storage a priority. The more efficiently you use your boat's storage space, the more money you'll save, the better your boat will perform, the more comfortable you'll be and the better sense of control you will have in your cruising life. Sometimes it will seem to be the only thing in control! LOL.
A Few Tips on Efficient Organization of Lockers:
1.Store items near their point of use.

2.Analyze your storage spaces and determine their degree of accessibility. Items you use regularly should be stowed in the most accessible cupboards and lockers. To determine the best use for each locker or cupboard, think about what you're most likely to be doing when you’re standing near it or where you’re going when you walk by it.

3.Consider the importance of weight distribution. Keep heavy items like canned goods low down and lighter items like pasta in higher cupboards. Similarly store heavy items centrally and keep the ends of the boat light so she can sail well and respond to the seas. Weight in the ends causes most boats to bury their bows in the waves.

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