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Sunday, November 27, 2016

Shoes, Shoes, SHOES!

Northern Star living area, stateroom beyond

I like shoes.  I really don’t have occasion to wear all the various styles of shoes that I wore while living on land, but I still like to have a few pair with me onboard. Some people might tell you that I have too many shoes onboard, but that is a discussion for another time, maybe. (Or maybe not.)   
Keens--my most comfortable shoes

It is entirely justifiable, in my opinion, to have shoes onboard for the following purposes:  sturdy hiking shoes for cooler days on land or water (Keens--check); 

Chacos--great arch support and perfect for hiking or water.
walking sandals with great arch support that can be worn in the water (Chacos--check); slip-on loafer boat shoes when neither of the above pair is appropriate (Sperry--check);
Note my foot wearing a slip-on loafer boat shoe
sneakers for exercising (Balance, check); comfy all-vinyl shoes to wear to the shower or when washing down the boat or Jax (Crocs--check); and little black sandals to wear with a sundress (also Crocs--check).  And, I have a pair that I would wear if I were to make an unplanned trip to see family in the winter—the shoes that could be worn on the plane with wool socks, and be appropriate in Minnesota in January (Bass--check.)  

Rain boots are necessary, not fun
Of course, we each have a pair of rain boots which are required sailboat gear so they don’t "count" as shoes.  We also each have a pair of fins, which are really beyond the scope of this discussion about shoes. (Okay, and I’ll admit that I do have another couple of pair onboard which I really can’t justify, but I didn’t know that I couldn’t justify them at the time I brought them onboard, so they have to be tucked away, too.)

We both have Crocs
The problem boils down to space.  Boats have a finite amount of space.  And shoes tend to be bulky.  I have scoured out the easily usable spaces where shoes can be tucked away.  The “winter shoes” lie on the floor of our hanging locker.  The rain boots live in our shower when we are not using it, which is frankly 99% of the time. All the other shoes need their own places to belong.  On a sailboat, every item needs its’ own home.  When the boat heels (no pun intended) things tend to move around, sometimes quite abruptly, so it’s important to be able to put things in their place.

Available walking space in stateroom
Shoes tend to end up everywhere--under the table, under the nav (navigation) station, scattered in the cockpit, kicked off beside the bed; you get the picture.   The ones that get kicked off before climbing into bed tend to cover the available walking space on the floor.  Between the shoes and Jax lying beside the bed, walking can be precarious.  Shoes need to be contained. 
Shoes got shoved against the hull

About a year into this adventure, I had an "ah HA" moment.  I found an underutilized space in our stateroom.  Underutilized because it’s sort of part floor and part wall—a space underneath a cabinet at a 45 degree angle due to the shape of the hull.  Since we can’t walk on a 45 degree angle, it’s kind of useless space.  For a long time, I’ve shoved our shoes up against that 45 degree angle which works as long as the boat is level.  Then, it dawned on me.  That would become a permanent shoe storage place, at least for several pairs of them if only I could make them stay put.  
Between the bed and cabinets there are shoes and Jax

When I measured the area (16" from floor to bottom of the cabinet) it was tall enough for my husband’s larger shoes to fit lengthwise up and down.  And wide enough (28") for five to six pair of shoes stacked alongside one another.  Great!  I just needed to make a large "pocket" that would be attached to the wall.  I would cut the fabric front and back larger than what I wanted the finished product to be.  When the pocket is filled with shoes it will of course, expand outward which will then shorten the overall length of the pocket. This may be quite obvious to everyone else, but I had to think this through to make the most use of my available space. 
Shoes stay put in this "pocket", attached to the hull below the cabinet.
I didn't want the fabric of the shoe pocket to rest on the floor where it would just collect dust and dog hair, so I left the bottom edge open enough to allow for the heels of the shoes to slide in and rest on the floor rather than the pocket itself. 

Bungee is threaded through a sleeve on the back, against the hull. 
I am a big fan of Pfifertex.  Pfifertex is a manmade fabric available through SailRite.  It is designed for outdoor uses.  I used it to make the shade panels around our cockpit. The denser weave is called 90% coverage, and the looser weave is 70%.  I had the 70% weave on hand.  This seemed like a good choice for the fabric because Pfifertex can be washed down, scrubbed, sprayed with bleach water to kill and prevent mildew and it’s really durable. 

Cockpit shade panels

The design I came up with is quite simple. Essentially, it’s a pocket with 6 grommets spaced across the front and a sleeve across the back where one continuous bungee cord threads through.  
Diagram of the "pattern"

The front and back are sewn together on the short ends, and are connected on the bottom by 4 or 5 (4") Pfifertex strips sewn to each bottom. These open up the bottom enough for the heels of the shoes to poke through to rest against the floor. Additionally, this allows for more air circulation which is helpful in high humidity. 
One continuous bungee threads all the way around

On each end of the hanging pocket, I mounted a pad eye to the boat. The bungee cord hooks to one pad eye, slides through the sleeve across the back of the pocket, through the other pad eye and then back across the front through the grommets and hooks back onto the first pad eye.  Having one continuous bungee cord makes it easy to pull it out toward myself so I can see the shoes in there, and to make it easy to shove other shoes in there. Voila’.
Six large grommets are spaced across the front of the shoe pocket.  

A woman’s gotta have her shoes.

I’ve made some other little space-conserving projects too, which I’ll write about soon.   

1 comment:

Gaviidae Sailing said...

You win - you have more shoes than I do aboard, but you have a bigger boat! Love your "shoe bag"! Has given me lots of ideas - especially since we bought a role of phifertex from Rose/Tom without knowing exactly what we would use it for. Now I have options - thank you!