Life is pretty basic down below on a mini; luxuries are hard to come by, everything must be accounted for in relation to it’s weight and functionality.
Everything must be packed in totally waterproof packaging and easy to stack behind the stacking cloths on each side of the hull, fore and aft.
I keep soft items such as spare clothing in dry bags, items such as tools, repair materials and food are kept in old flare containers as they are rigid, will keep their contents safe from damage, they are totally waterproof and because they are square can be stacked really easily on top of each other at the side of the boat.
I write on the top of each container what is inside to keep confusion to a minimum when I am searching in the dark for a screw driver.
The rest of my things, navigation books, spare batteries etc are kept in plastic containers and then loaded into a stacking bag which allows me to transfer it all from one side of the boat to the other quickly.
I carry all the water for each leg in 10l jerry cans; the size is chosen specifically. 10kg of water is about the most you can comfortable transfer from one side of the boat to the other without a struggle. It is also a size which if a can was punctured or fell it would not be a disaster to lose all of that water. Water is then transferred to smaller drinking bottles using a funnel or a siphon.
The boats electronics are run by two 12v batteries which are kept under the companionway; these are charged by an EFOY comfort 80 fuel cell and a 45 watt solar panel on the back of the boat.
Electronics are to a minimum on the mini and I have tried as hard as possible to keep connections to a minimum and well out of the way of any water finding it’s way down below.
All my electronics, pilots, wind, depth and speed are Raymarine and have already taken me through a transat and qualification process. With the exception of my GPS and AIS.
The reason for this is that classe mini does not allow any form of chart plotter onboard. Most AIS systems now are integrated with chart plotters and believe me it is pretty hard to find a ships GPS that is not a chart plotter as well. These two items are stand alone to the rest of the system and sit on a bracket which swivels out so I can see it in the cockpit but will also hide behind the bulkhead in poor weather and I can close the hatch to save it further.
When I am racing I sleep most of the time on deck particularly as the weather gets better. I have a small ¾ length sleeping mat which can either be thrown on top of a stack on the windward side if I am sleeping below in bad weather or out in the cockpit if I need a bit of luxury.
I also carry a couple of squares of closed cell foam which act as fenders in port and cushions to sit on at sea which hopefully should keep sores to a minimum.
Everyday living is done with a jet boil for cooking, which I hold in my hands, and two buckets – one for a toilet and the other for washing, bailing and everything else.
All in all it is functional and home to me, I have lived very comfortably onboard my mini for many thousands of miles and it is amazing how quickly you can adapt to being in a small environment. One thing which is critical is to be organised and methodical about everything.
Imagine stacking 60 litres of water, all your food and safety kit onto one side of the boat and then realising the container with the lighter for the jet boil is underneath it all…
On my next blog I will look at the safety equipment onboard,