2/6/2012 – Regaining some deck space

Even if we were consummate sailors, I doubt we’d get rid of our diesel jugs. When we got them originally it was to extend our cruising-under-power range. After all, we were just about to head out on a non-stop trip from Neah Bay, Washington to Newport, Oregon and had no idea if we’d have any favorable winds for the trip and had no desire to cross the notorious bars at the entrances of Grey’s Harbor, WA and Astoria, OR for fuel. As it turned out, the winds were nearly non-existent and we had to use much of the diesel in our spare jugs.

New we keep the jugs aboard mainly because that’s how I like to refuel. I prefer hauling the jugs to and from the fuel dock in the dinghy and then filing the main tank from the jugs. That way I can take the time needed to run all the fuel through a 2 micron filter before putting it into the main tank. Some of the fuel docks we run into are set up more for commercial boats than sailboats and are very difficult to use, especially without messing up your boat on ragged concrete or barnacle-encrusted pilings. But, even at the civilized floating docks, there’s always a good chance that you’ll have to wait a long time while some big ol’ maxi-yacht fills his twin 1000 gallon tanks. Pretty much always room for a dinghy to pull up and use a different pump.

Anyway, the four yellow 5-gallon diesel jugs are here to stay. Up until very recently they have lived on the foredeck, lashed down on either side of the milk crate that holds the rode for our secondary anchor. They ride great but the do take up some deck space that we already have precious little of.


I’ve seen boats that had modifications made to their lifeline set-up so that they essentially had a basket hanging off each side of the boat to hold their jerry jugs. I didn’t really want to go whole hog, but, if I could make a modification so that the jugs could ride up on the caprail and only extend over the side a little ways, I might be interested.

I drew up some plans. As luck would have it, one of Mazatlán’s best stainless steel fabricators, Felipe, was going to be at La Isla Marina not long after we pulled in. With the translating help of Mike from s/v Tortue, Felipe and his crew managed to make my design a reality.


Felipe built a new stanchion to match the existing ones. He welded one end of the jug-holding rail to one end and fabricated a clamp so I could bolt the aft end to the existing stanchions.


Of course, I dropped one of the clamps in the filthy water right off the bat but Felipe brought me another a week or so later. I was much more careful the second time.

Here’s what the new jug carriers look like from dead ahead so you can see how far they stick out the sides.


And a shot similar to the first one showing the regained deck space. Obviously the dinghy isn’t aboard and it will still completely fill the port side deck but at least we’ve regained some foredeck space.


We had heard that you can get really good stainless steel fabrication done in Mazatlán if you knew where to look. Thanks to Mike on Tortue, we found out where to look.


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About sryoder

Steve & Lulu... retired. Had enough of the cold wet dreary fall/winter/spring in the Pacific Northwest. Bought a boat, fixed it up, sold our home and sailed to Mexico in November, 2010. Been here ever since except for occasional forays to the States (summer only, thank you) to visit the kids, parents and siblings. If you're looking for a sailing blog, this is the wrong place. This is a traveling, hunkering in, eating blog. Sailing is just how we get from place to place when we can't walk.
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11 Responses to 2/6/2012 – Regaining some deck space

  1. Anonymous says:

    Great post. Not being nautical I wonder? On the pic that is deadon from the front, it looks like a canvas seat and then a tube of sorts that look like a giant clam gun? Any info on that? Thanks , fernando

  2. Fixed Carbon says:

    Steve: Very neat. Can you tell us a bit about the brown covers for the fuel jerrys. They are an esthetic positive and protect the cans from UV. Did you sew them? Sunbrella? Do you remove them when fueling?Thanks, Don

  3. Fernando,I think what you see as a canvas seat is the sun awning over the cockpit. The "giant clam gun" is the spool on the jib's roller furler. The jib (sail) is rolled up when not in use. This is done by turning the thing it's attached to. We turn it by pulling on a line that is wrapped around the spool that you're seeing as a giant clam gun. When the sail is pulled out, the spool is full of line , when we pul on the line, the sail gets rolled up. At any rate, I 'think' that's what you're describing.Don,Lulu sewed the canvas jug covers a long time ago. We had an old jib bag that we didn't use after installing the roller furlers so she cut it up to make the jerry covers. It's probably Sunbrella, although, since the sail bags and covers came with the boat, who knows? But it only makes sense since this was for stowing the sails while still hanked on. They have kept the yellow jugs looking almost new for about 5 years so far, one of which was in the unrelenting tropical sun. Yes, I do remove them when fueling. Even if I could get to the jug's spout w/o removing the covers, I'd still remove them so I can see the fuel level and so, in case of overfilling a little, they don't get all "diesely". -Steve

  4. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the low down Steve. I was talking about the thing to the lower left of the clam shovel. Daamm there are a lot of moving parts on a sailboat!!!! Fernando

  5. Fernando,Oh, you mean that white round-edged thing to the left of the roller furler spool? That's the plastic container holding the liferaft. I've actually used it for a seat but it's a lot more comfortable with a cushion on top. It's not as soft as it looks. Matter of fact, it's hard. Or do you mean the brown thing? That's a hatch cover. Get your bearings by looking at the next photo, the top view. The liferaft is white and immediately to the right of it is the (covered) forward hatch. Then some bare deck. The "clam gun" is out of the photo but if you walked out on the platform on the right side of the photo, you'd run right into it.

  6. I love this! What a great idea that I'll have to pass on to Ken once we finally get our sailboat ready for cruising. We need all the deck space we can have on our 30 footer.Great tip!

  7. I can see that your blog is going to be informative as well as entertaining! I've been meaning to check it out for some time so glad I had time to sit for awhile today. You two are several years ahead of Mike and me in that you are living your dream and we are still dreaming ours. So we'll live vicariously through you for awhile, thanks. And you can give us hope for the future in Mexico and beyond!

  8. LCP.com,Welcome aboard. You might have to go back a year or two to find entries that help with anything besides what to eat. I've bookmarked your blog. I see you have Moonrise up for sale. What is the ideal cruising boat you're shooting for?-STeve

  9. I wish we knew. We're looking for something we might be able to live aboard for a couple of years before we leave the dock for the voyage. Our 19 year old son would need a place on the boat, so the ideal boat would have two cabins. We've looked at a very nice Cal39 that would fit the bill and would also sail well in these waters. We're attracted to the full keel cruisers such as some of the Cheoy Lee models, but if we get something too heavy, it won't be moving much until after we leave. Also don't want to get anything more than 40 feet, really, due to the expense of such a large vessel and how difficult it might be for me to handle it on my own. Suggestions are always welcome! We started looking, then discovered how frustrating it was to look when not in a position to buy until the Moonrise sells.

  10. Mike & Melissa…No, I don't have any suggestions about your dream boat. Our experience with boats with aft cabins has been limited to a couple of over-40-foot boats that we've visited. Something with an aft cabin and a v-berth would be nice as there'd be 2 staterooms. One of the things we miss having a 28' boat is the room to have guests once in awhile. We're not likely to want to have overnight guests aboard very often but Siempre Sabado's layout pretty much rules them out even if we did want them. One suggestion I might make is, if your future plans call for you sailing to Mexico, consider buying a boat down here. In Yachtworld, do a search of boats but limit your search to Mexico. You'll be amazed at the price difference between the US and MX. Lots of boats down here that are cruise-equipped and for sale for lots of various reasons. We could have bought a cruise-ready Westsail 32 down here for what we paid for our Westsail 28 and the equipment we installed on her. Bit of a hassle to check the boats out but, it might be worth it.-Steve

  11. Funny you should say that. We've been looking at boats in Mexico trying to decide if they are cheaper than where we are. We're actually planning a trip to La Paz next month to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. Looking at boats is on the agenda. If we knew exactly what make of boat we wanted, it would be easier. At this point, we're just at the 'look at everything' stage. We're drawn to the center cockpits boats because of that great aft cabin most of them have. We've got a broker up here who is helping us look, but I'm sure he wouldn't be averse to helping us buy one down in Mexico if the right boat came along.BTW, Mike spent years working for waste water treatment in Tacoma before he went to work for Boeing. He's an instrumentation guy turned programmer. Sheesh, I wonder how that happened.

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