PART IV THE PROBLEMS OF LIVING ON BOARD
With no watertight lockers, no cabin and no galley, living on board at first thought presents the idea of pitching a tent in the middle of a stream.
In fact it was really far less uncomfortable than this: in brief:
(a) Food: we concentrated on taking food which didn’t need much cooking and could be eaten at sea. In other words, most of the instantly edible variety such as flapjacks, cake and biscuits; all of which were excellently made and securely packed in Tupperware boxes by Felicity. In addition, butter, jam, crunchy oats, and about five full evening meals in tins, to be cooked on a primus if we didn’t find or couldn’t afford a restaurant.
(b) Drink: in the form of sherry and beer, was a further vital ingredient; water, in a two gallon can, was stored under the cockpit sole, and orange juice kept on ready use in case we tired of alcohol. We also had coffee and to make, on the primus, but found, in the event, that we tended to have our hot drinks ashore.
(c) Sleeping Arrangements: the cockpit sole of an Ajax becomes a little hard and cold after a few hours of darkness and is not as uninterruptedly flat as one might think – when we made our previous cruise ten years ago we just had sleeping bags on groundsheets and tended to find that cleats and the halyard winch became noticeably more felt as the night wore on. For this cruise, therefore, we procured two cheap lilos, and had a nightly blowing exercise to inflate them. David soon punctured his pillow and I soon found that I had a slow deflation of the main portion but we spent a much comfortable week than we should otherwise have done. One either side of the mast, with our heads forward, we could fit without too much of our legs projecting out into the ‘open’ part of the cockpit.
We used the mainsail as an awning, first hauling the spinnaker sheets taut fore and aft in their blocks on the port and starboard decks, then leading the mainsail from the boom under the sheets one side and back across the boom to the other, keeping it as tight as possible, and finally placing a full sail bag on the ‘hump’ aft of the mast, to cut the draught through the resulting ‘tent’. Under this, we kept remarkably warm and dry, the worst of any wetness in fact running down the mast, which we never managed to prevent. In case of emergency and in the mornings, it was relatively easy to squeeze under the sail and out of the after end of the cockpit, as on one side it only stretches about three-quarters of the way aft. On one occasion, with great care, we even managed to cook an evening meal ‘down below’ and a very delicious one it proved to be too.