The Best of Betts
1. A boat is a very humid environment even in the best of times. Invariably your envelopes will seal themselves shut and the stamps on the roll or in the sheet will stick to themselves. After picking up your supply of stamps and envelopes try passing the glued part over your hair before putting them away. The oil in even your clean hair will provide a protective layer over the glue, keeping the stamps and envelopes usable for a long period.
2. Speaking of humidity, everyone knows to put rice in the salt shaker. But did you know that Bounty, the quicker picker upper, is also good for absorbing excess moisture. Try putting a piece of Bounty towel in the sugar storage jar.
3. Any way you can add insulation to your refrigeration system is a help. Betts stitches foam sheet that she gets from the florist in between two sheets of non-skid and lays it on top of the ice box. This lasts a couple of years, provides insulation for the refrigerator, and provides a handy non-skid counter top.
4. If you look around you can find plastic bowls that will fit in the sink(s) in the head(s). These bowls make folks on board acutely aware of how much water they are using. It was our practice to fill the bowl about half full in the morning, add a touch of bleach, then use the water to rinse one's hands when necessary throughout the day.
5. You can also find small plastic buckets that will fit in the galley sink(s). Again, a little water and bleach makes available a pre-wash rinse for dishes and silverware that will make it through the day.
6. You thought your SunShower was only for sunny days. On cloudy and rainy days that you are running the engine for refrigeration you can add some hot water from the galley sink to the SunShower.
7. To save space Betts made pillow cases into which she puts blankets that are not in use. They can them live on the settees in the main salon without the place looking unkempt.
8. Joy, Tide and Pledge are not just shore side products. Joy will make suds in saltwater. Tide will get your clothes clean even in salt water. Use Pledge to clean the 'window' portions of your dodger. A counter opinion is offered by the makers of EndeavorCat: They suggest Plexo or Novus, as furniture polish will yellow plexiglass.
9. Old bathmats can serve double duty when used to wipe down the deck and shower pan in the head, and then folded to serve as padding under the dinghy when it is on deck.
10. Learning the navigational stars is a challenge. H.A. Rey, the author of the Curious George books, has written "The Stars: A New Way to See Them". It is really good.
11. Gate hook eyes can be used to anchor hanging baskets from ceiling to counter top. On board the Carpenter's boat and on ours we have strung a triple tier basket for fruit, onions, and the like. The circulating air keeps things form spoiling quite so fast. This also makes a great place to keep ties for plastic bags until you need them.
12. Before I arived in Maine the Carpenter's Webasto heater died. An alternative is to invert a red clay flowerpot over a lit burner on the stove. Be sure there is adequate ventilation; the burner will be consuming your oxygen and throwing off CO2 and CO. And obviously you can't use this in a rough seaway.
13. One day after cooking fish Betts took out a little bottle and put a few drops in a sea shell. The fish odor vanished. The product is called "Odors Away", 5550 West 70th Place, Chicago, IL 60638.
14. Women who are prone to urinary tract infections may find it useful to carefully clean a small dish soap bottle and keep it handy as an on board douche.
15. To make the jars in the spice rack more secure try weaving a cloth back and forth between them.
16. Betts bought plastic baskets with handles and a soda can rack from Home Depot. The baskets make it easier to retrieve things from the refrigerator and the rack keeps things organized.
17. Making morning toast is a ritual for my wife. The same is true for Bob and Betts. On our first boat we bought a "toaster" from a camping supply store. It consists of a metal disk with a bunch of small holes in it and a vertical wire rack. The disk is placed over the burner and the bread leaned against the wire. Betts had one just like it, but hers looked so much happier than ours. The secret is stove black, which you can buy at the hardware store. You can also use the stove black to give the burner grates new life.
18. Betts is a virtuoso in the galley. She kept herself and four men well fed on a two week voyage back from the islands. She kept us well fed on the Maine trip. One of her secrets was to buy a small electronic alarm clock that fit in her pocket. By using that she didn't have to be tied to the stove all the time.
19. Don't forget your sharpening stone.