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Date: 8 June 2018. Clothes in the Bilges.


Before I owned Seaweed I spent an inordinate amount of time obsessing over what clothes to bring aboard her. Looking nice is important to me. I also realized that my choices had to conform to a life afloat. Specifically that meant everything had to dry quickly. A different criteria comes into play when I am in the bilges though.

The hours I spent worrying about what clothes I should bring with me to the boat is simply embarrassing. Finally I settled on two criteria:

#1) Does not wrinkle,
#2) Dries fast

Like many folks on a tight budget my wardrobe comes almost exclusively from thrift stores. For me that means long sleeved white shirts and skirts. Yes, even in the bilges I wear skirts.

When doing jobs you will find having a friend aboard to help is a true blessing. Inevitably at least one item will be forgotten. Having a fetch me/bring me gopher makes the work go faster.

For my neighbor's boat, I started out as his gopher on the battery project. Logistics however caused us to swap places. I could much more easily fit down there so I volunteered. First though I should have home and changed clothes.

It seems I am always smarter after the fact...

The battery project started small and grew. Inevitably boat projects do that.

I needed wire ties, blue tape and magic markers for identifying where the battery cables attached.
The boat's owner did the up and down the circular staircase trips for me while I sat in front of a fan and waited.

For the record I am wearing a skirt in the previous picture. I believe I took that back on the starboard side bilge area with my foot tucked up under me. There's only room for one foot in that corner.

The owner set up a large fan in the bilge for me. It was wonderful to have the air flow down there. The bilge was cool whereas above, where the owner was, the heat was nearly unbearable. In retrospect we should have immediately gotten another fan for the owner. He was really wrung out by the time I was finished.

Day two a second fan was in place pointed towards him. It's amazing how much smarter we get afterwards, eh? You would think by now I would be a genius. Hahaha.

There are wonderful spots to anchor nearby. I cannot wait to get back out there. But first Algae.
That is a project for another day. Suffice it to say Algae's got some problems that will be tackled ASAP.

While waiting for the owner to bring me stuff I planned my next trip. I need a dose of waking up at anchor...

Every job has it's ups and downs. For the battery project there were multiple trips up and down the circular staircase on that yacht. A fan for the owner's exclusive use would have been a real benefit to him. I was quite comfortable in the bilge with a fan.

Ladies, here's what you should do when picking bilge clothes: Choose something that you're tired of wearing. It needs to be "too good to throw away" but not quite up to First Pick status. Then if it happens to get ruined you can toss it out without a care.

Also, paint your fingernails. Oil or grease seems to stick into nail crevices. It is easier to clean up later if the nail polish is on initially. The thing I forgot this time was to scrape bar soap under my nails. That prevents the dirt from adhering there. Mine got icky without soap. Suffice it to say I am wearing dark polish for a a while to hide the grime!

When I came out of the bilge a long hot shower ashore was in store for me. Gosh that felt good. The skirt though was not better for the trip through the bilges.

OIL RESIDUE STAINS soaked right through the skirt onto the liner:

This is a flimsy light-weight skirt. It is wonderful for a boat in that it dries fast.

I washed it and voila: the outside looks a-okay. The stains have vanished.

I particularly like this skirt with the peacock feather pattern. Last year it fit and this year with a pin holding the waistline in, it still fits. I lost 30-35 pounds in the year since that wonderful Disney trip. I am pleased especially since so many previous weight loss attempts have failed. This skirt reminds me of how much progress I've made.

As for bilge jobs, the initial day I wore a favorite skirt. Subsequent days I swapped for a skirt I do not care for as much. That one of course had no damage whatsoever. Not a smidge!

The owner had moved some ugly decorative pillows from the settee into the bilges. The brown one was quite comfortable to sit on. When the pillows get too icky for the bilge he can toss 'em.

As usual I wore a white shirt. I have a stack of long sleeved white blouses on hand. Should one get a stain I chop it up and create a new bunch of work rags. At less than $3 each the shirts are an easy choice for me. And white goes with everything.

Formerly shirts, now disposable rags:

If diesel gets on anything fabric I throw away the item. I do not wash clothes or rags with diesel on them. The smell seems to linger and I do not want it to migrate onto my pretty things.

Doing laundry aboard Seaweed is a long standing chore. It is not a favorite however it is easier to do it aboard than drag everything to shore. That is why having items that dry quickly is important. The peacock feather skirt dries in just a few hours. I washed it at night and by morning could put it back on clean and ready to go.

For you and yours, I wish lockers full of clean clothes and happy days afloat.

Do you have special bilge clothes?
And, what do you sit on in the bilge?


2018, 2023

Categories: Comfort, Gear, In the Bilges, Unmentionables,

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