No. 79 - September 1988




A number of years ago, I wrote something called "Cruising a Small Yacht" that was intended for publication.  I never published the article and it has been gathering dust in my files ever since.

A couple of days ago a member, new to the Tanzer 22, asked me about cruising generally and how we managed to store everything.  I remembered this article which I have now updated and here it is.

I read somewhere that one should allow ten feet of LOA for every person.  Although, when our children were younger, we did attempt to take one or two along on our annual cruise.  But then we were also younger and a little more pliable.  I am inclined to agree - two people on a Tanzer 22 is just about the maximum our little boats can handle with any degree of comfort.  And at that it is a squeeze!

And I don't have to tell you, regardless of the size of boat each person will need just about the same amount of gear.  Warm weather clothing, cold weather clothing, wet weather clothing, the list is endless. The trick is to bring just what you need and no more.  A trick I have yet to master.  No matter how ruth­less I am I still bring home half my clothing unworn.  But I keep trying!

Assuming you have no more success than I have, where in the world can one store everything?  One way or the other, we always seem to end up with water in those storage areas under the berths.  Especially on #1000 that we keep here.  My older boat, the one in Maine, surprisingly, is much drier.  Much as we would like to use some of that storage space, we don't dare keep any­thing below the berths that will be harmed by getting wet.

In any case, like most other Tanzer 22 owners, we use those plastic dishpans to keep things in, which helps a little to keep the water away.  Non-perishable food, tin goods, booze, cooking pots and pans and things in plastic bottles.  These are stored under the berths.  That little port seat forward of the table is reserved for booze and food.  The two things one needs to get at most often!

A couple of years ago Barbara and I bought two super nylon suitcases at a store in Camden Maine, The Admiral's Buttons, if I remember.  Zippers an three sides, weigh nothing and can be scrunched up into almost any shape.  And hold an incredible amount of clothing.  With a bit of luck we can cram everything we need for a two week cruise into these bags.  During the day they live in the forepeak.  At night piled on the starboard quarter berth.  We also have a couple of those mini net hammocks slung along each side of the V berth.  These hold clothing items we need most often, extra sweater, shorts, whatever.  If you sling them high enough, it does not encroach too much on the sleeping space.

Boat bags also live up forward during the day - back to the quarter berth at night.

If you can find a net shopping bag of the right size it makes a great carrier for block ice.  We use to use a boat bag for ice but they take forever to dry out.  A net bag dries in minutes.  Also used for carrying wet clothes from the Laundromat when the dryers don't work.

Tools and spare parts live under the cockpit sole behind the companionway step.  In those same plastic dishpans mentioned earlier.

Fire extinguisher mounted under that same step.  That step, by the way, makes a good bosons chair in an emergency.

PFD type floater coats hung on those two hooks for the hang­ing locker.  Foul weather gear, if dry, rolled up and each kept in its own boat bag.  We have the Convertible Hatch and at night when it is up and if the rain gear is wet, there is just enough room along each side to put the foul weather gear.  With the hope the next day will be sunny enough to dry everything out.  The Convertible Hood is not exactly fly and mosquito proof.  We generally store things along each side of the sliding hatch each night anyway to help seal out those pesky critters.


So much for storing personal gear.  Remember the old adage ­"bring twice as much money and half as much clothes" and you won't go wrong!

Boat gear is another problem.  One can't afford to skimp too much.  I do, however, leave my #2 Genoa at home.  It has such a narrow useful range that if it is blowing enough for the #2, the working jib will do just about as well with much less effort.  A number of years ago, I had an acrylic jenny bag made, with snaps so that it can be attached to the forestay, with the #1 Genoa inside.  And the genny lives in this bag on the forestay, even when we are using the working or storm jib.  And of course the main has its cover and never leaves the boom.  If it is a nice calm night and I am anchored in a well sheltered bay, I often tie the working jib, in its jib bag, to the forestay as well.  This frees up all kinds of space in the cockpit lockers for all the other stuff that needs stowing.  Including one of those fabric hoses that rolls up into its own container and a milk container that holds an additional 200 feet of 3/8" nylon line and 25 feet of chain plus a 22 Lb. Sea-Grip folding storm anchor.  Up front in the anchor well, I carry an 18 Lb. FOB HP anchor with another 200 feet of line and chain.  I have found this anchor to be better than the 8 Lb. Danforth which is the largest size that will fit our anchor well.  I haven't tried their new Deepset - it may be better.

I use to have a DRS or cruising spinnaker but came to the conclusion that I used it so little it wasn't worth having.  So I sold it! But if I was going to carry a DRS or regular spinnaker I would house it in a turtle, attached permanently to the bow pulpit.

The Convertible Hood that goes with the Convertible Hatch, I generally keep in its little bag that it came with.  In the trunk of my car.  I have only one hood to go with the two boats but, when cruising, the hood stays partially fastened to the deck at all times.  Under way, I fold it down, much like the convertible hood on a car.  Once the anchor is down, up goes the hatch and hood.  Eureka! Instant standing head room. And what a difference that makes to cruising a small sail boat.


When cruising in Maine, we always tow a dinghy.  When one cruises with a miniature poodle, one must have some way getting the dog ashore - day or night.  Hence the dinghy.  But it is also a super place to store garbage when under way until can find someplace ashore to properly dispose of it.  It has the added advantage of never forgetting to take the garbage when going ashore.  And it does not clutter or smell up the boat.

Speaking of dogs, a piece of green astro-turf, if your dog is really desperate, will substitute for the real thing.  Fit a cringle in one corner, tie a rope to it, and tow it overboard to clean after use.

One of the items we have found to be really useful is what we call our cocktail table.  Just a 12" wide piece of teak, or teak stained pine, with a couple of cleats screwed to the underside, just long enough to stretch from seat to seat in the cockpit.  The cleats keep it from sliding off.  Just the thing for pre-dinner drinks or canapés, lunches on the run or supper under the stars.

Late model Tanzer 22s have the gas tank located at the rear of the cockpit, covered by a folding cover.  Earlier 22s like mine have the gas tank stored in the port cockpit locker.  I have never been entirely happy with this arrangement, though to be honest, I have never heard of anybody getting into trouble because the gas tank is located in a potentially dangerous spot.  And by the same token, I have never liked the battery way up forward under the V berth.

When I was fitting out Red Baron VI as my cruising boat, I decided to re-locate the battery to the cockpit locker as my new 6HP Johnson Sailmaster outboard came with an alternator.  Out came the gas tank!  But where to locate?  In the end, as the tank supplied by Johnson was one of those half size tanks (about 2.5 gallons), I decided to put the tank on top of that stern seat right under the tiller.  OMC sell little plastic sort of clips that hold gas tanks from sliding all over the place and that is how the tank is kept in place.

And if I wish, I can store the tank in the locker when the boat is left unattended making it slightly more difficult for someone to steal my boat.  Those half size tanks have a little air vent screw.  When not being used, one simply tightens down the screw and gas can't leak out, even if the tank is turned upside down.  I carry two of these tanks, gives me the cruising range of one large one.

Doesn't look all that great, but I do feel a lot safer with the tank out in the open where air can circulate.  And I have to open up the locker to see how much gas is left.

But best of all, I can get at the battery!

There you have it.  Some of the ways we have managed to cruise in a small boat.  There is still a certain amount of shifting around needed morning and night.  And we still spend far too much time looking for things, but managed we have and after 17 years of cruising a Tanzer 22, still look forward to our Maine coast holiday each year and the times we spend on Red Baron VI which is generally ten days to two weeks at a time.

(Since writing this article several years ago, I have added a few more options that have made cruising just that much more enjoyable.  An Autopilot 800, especially useful when motoring in fog and a solar panel to keep the battery charge up.  Both have repaid their cost many times in the pleasure and convenience they provide.  Plans for the future include a stern rail, probably of the split type.  That is a stern rail made in two sections, with a gap in the middle, closed with a length of lifeline and a pelican hook.