Newly enforced rule: Only functional items stay on the boat. 

During my 45 years of sailing I always kept on board only items essential to sailing or living on board. Why, then, oh why on my CSY 33 did I keep a 5×2’ wooden slat designed for extending the starboard settee into a single size bed on board? I remember telling myself I didn’t need to carry this heavy piece of wood to the van. Besides, why store it in the van?  It is a part of the boat. When I sell the boat the new owner may want it. I convinced myself to stand it up against the wall in the head. It will be out of the way. 

Upright it fit a few inches below the towel rack. Two fluffy towels draped over the towel bar hid the slat from view. For more than two months, while Sassea was comfortably tied to the dock, the slat held its place. Out of sight-out of mind, until . . . our return to the dock after Sassea’s perfect day of sailing. During our sunny four hour sail, my crew and I joyously cruised along the coast of Ft. Lauderdale. We successfully retrieved a life jacket as part of our man overboard drill. We tacked and jibed several times to stay clear of boat traffic, to avoid storms, and to collect data on tacking angles. 

Needless to say, despite the less than 12 knots of wind and 1 to 2 foot waves, Sassea’s 11 foot beam did a minimum amount of rock and roll. Apparently, as we learned back at the dock, it was enough to tilt the slat on to the opposite side of the head. It didn’t just lie on top of the door knob. It seriously jammed itself such that no amount of torquing would allow the knob to turn. 

“No problem,” was my first thought. I’ll go on deck and climb in through the overhead hatch. That would have worked had I not done the right thing and dog down the hatch before we headed out the inlet. Taking the rear hinge off the hatch didn’t allow it to pop open enough to get my hand and arm inside to unscrew either of the dogs.

Cutting a hole in the stuck door was another option. As much as I feared getting locked inside the head, I dreaded putting a hole in the finely carved wood.

The chosen option was to grind off the door hinges. Thankfully, my boat friend, Mike, obliged and took to the task.

Despite my possibly getting a sliver of the metal hinges in my eye (as it swelled up the next morning), grinding off the door hinges worked. The door is off. It will be stored along with the bed slat, and half of the table that is not needed. When I return in October I hereby solemnly promise to remove any and all items off the boat that I will not be using. Never again will I ever store anything that is not needed for sailing or living on.