Cleaning the Bilge
Learning to Sail and Gybing the Boom (Jibing the Boom?)

Living Aboard a Sailboat -- Creating Dirty Clothes Hampers

When we first moved aboard, I took stock of what we had and what we lacked -- and tried very hard to evaluate whether the lack was something we really needed. I knew that we were going to be living on the dock and working regular jobs for at least 3 years, so we had real needs in terms of clothing and household items. Yes, we have a real iron and a small table top ironing board. They will be jettisoned when we sail away. We did not have any place for dirty laundry.

Coastal and vacation cruisers are familiar with this. You pick a duffel bag and that becomes the designated catchall for dirty laundry. We intended to live our lives and try to keep the boat ship shape and welcoming for guests. A duffel of dirty clothes in the forward cabin (the guests' cabin) was not in the cards.

Like many things I've learned -- the solution came in part from looking at other peoples' boats. One Cape Dory actually had a hamper designed into the head compartment. The owners had even installed a flap teak door to make it easy to toss dirty clothes into the bin. Hmmm. I spent quite some time examining our larger vessel - particularly the head compartments and could not find a suitable space. (Or a solution that EW would agree was suitable.) 

Then I began a thorough examination of our Master Stateroom. Where was there unused space that would be well away from the boat's exterior (lessening the chance of mold)?  Voila! Under our center queen bed (I LOVE that we have a center queen bed!) are four drawers, opening into the cabin. On the outside of those four drawers was empty space. Just hanging there, waiting for a good use.

Hamper support
 The space hangs over the bilge (see previous post) which may occasionally get damp or wet. So I wanted to make sure that I wasn't fishing out moldy socks periodically. The fix was easy. I made a net holder - somewhat over engineered. I had purchased a variety of netting to create shelves and other items. I made a net shelf with canvas borders and grommets for each side of the berth. I screwed EW approved cup hooks into the wood supports of the compartment and had a shelf to take the weight of the laundry and to prevent items from falling into the bilge. 

Then I took regular laundry bags and cut them down a bit, attached grommets, and hung them on cup hooks above the nets and next to the drawers. We simply lift the mattress and platform and drop laundry in the bins. These bags are light weight and not suitable for lugging laundry to shore. This year I will make two heavy weight net bags, with shoulder straps and stow the laundry in the same bag that is used to carry it to shore. Simple. We have had no moldy wet socks, and the laundry is out of sight. Perfect! Hamper 1
 

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