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by Ron Thweatt - Hermitage Tennessee - USA


Get Rid Of Stuff
You Can’t Take It With YOU

I was looking for a paint brush in my storage barn, when I came up on some ”Great Stuff.”

I live in a condo with my Queen Priscilla, now. We lived in the same house with a big storage barn for 31 years. It was there where I restored over 15 Sailboats and owned a total of 32 boats of one kind or another. You can imagine trying to “down-size your Stuff?” After owning over 32 boats and building one or two its amazing how much Stuff is left over.

My “storage barn” is now a closet off my carport, about 4 feet deep and 8 feet long. This is where owning and outfitting lots of boats is a blessing and a curse - you learn how to conserve space so you can get “mo stuff.”

I have a work bench, a great set of gym lockers, given to me by my son-in-law, where I store everything in its place? “This is some good fiction,” my wife The Queen of the Chateau would say. On the wall over the work bench is peg board with lots of good stuff there. I have a rack just to the port side of the companionway or door, as my neighbors call theirs. On the rack are bins of “Stuff.” Not just your run of the mill Stuff - I have all size of Harken blocks, stainless steel screws, bolts and LED lights left over from when my friend and I started making them and selling them for $35.00 each. Now you can buy some for $3.00 online. I am so glad I took my money and ran!

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I have a great set of gym lockers, given to me by my son-in-law, where I store everything in its place.

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For some reason I have 2 Origo Heat Pals. One of them is fitted with an oven for baking bread and cornbread under way. (I really have them because my wife threatened me bodily harm if I got rid of them!) I also have an alcohol swing stove off an Oday 28. Wish I could remember why?

Any size boat from 7 foot to 200 foot has to have at least one Origo Heat pal. I do not own any stock in this company. I think whoever came up with these things should be in the Something Hall of Fame of Boat Stuff. I have taken mine on a 600 mile river trip, 30 mile river trips, and ½ mile sailing trips. My Wife has prepared coconut cornbread on it while underway on the Great River Trip. We used it for baking apple pies and biscuits along with a long list of other goodies.

I loved being the smallest boat in the fleet and then at the sundown dinner showing up by someone elses BIG YACHT, who had a stove that had never been used. We would always make it a point to row over in Scrappy, our dinghy made from left over job site plywood. We would have a smile, a half gallon of cold milk and a fresh baked pineapple upside down cake.

The question would be asked, “How have you kept this warm all day?” Then I would drop the big answer, “It just came out of the oven.” “WHAT?” Then all the mouths would open at the same time, not to eat but to ask the same question all at the same time, “No way, you have an oven on that little thing?” Reply: “Yep, don’t you have one?” “No way you can have a stove!” “OK, I don’t. I will just take my cake back, row back to my little boat and make sure the oven I don’t have is turned off and eat this warm, just out of the oven I couldn’t have baked cake all by myself!”

“No way, you have an oven on that little thing?”

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Enough about the Heat Pal. Did I tell you I have two of them? I am One rich man. I also have a one burner Origo stove with pot hooks. Are you impressed? I told you I have some Good STUFF! There is also a Force 10 Swing stove and a Cobb Cooker along with a must have 9,500 BTU One Burner Gas Stove. No: I have no idea WHY.

I looked at all the Great stuff including a LARGE Box of Teak I had harvested from a local manufacturer. I called the owner and asked them what they did with the scraps? We burn them in the winter and pitch them in the dumpster in the summer. That almost gave me another heart attack! Then he said, “COME AND GET ALL YOU CAN TAKE.” I harvested a whole pick up truck FULL.

I have shipped Boxes of this stuff to a lady in California, one box went to a man in Alabama and another was given to my neighbor, who has no idea what he is going to do with it but “It sure is pretty!” And now it’s out of my way and now I have more room for “mo stuff.”

I also found a Sika spruce mast and boom for a dinghy. I sold my Opti rig to a very nice young man who is building a dinghy with his son. I got to thinking, I bet Stacey could use this! It would take him hours to make these and I need room for “mo stuff.” I e-mailed him and he is going to be using it for his boat. It will be great to have it put to good use.

While Stacey was here I was able to unload a bunch of junk and teak on him, also. We had lunch and he gave me a new boat he had made out of the teak. I could not wait to to tell my wife about my new boat. I had no more than spoken the words, “ NEW BOAT” when she said, “ What boat?” After she saw it she just said, “Verry nice - you can keep that one.”

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I had no more than spoken the words, “ NEW BOAT” when she said, “ What boat?”

I have another Friend who bought a Capri 16 and told me he had to go to West Marine and get some Stuff for it. I suggested he come to my barn first. He did, and left with the following:

  • A Set of So Pac Seat Cushions with SunBrella Covers
  • A Set of Harken Blocks
  • A Deep Cycle Battery, only a year old
  • An Anchor with Chain
  • A Dodger Left over from a Compac 16
  • Some LED Lights
  • Several Feet of Verry nice Stay Set line – ok, it was a couple hundred feet
  • All the Fenders he could ever need
  • Tiller Extention
  • Wind Vane
  • And a Great Mast holder to use while Trailering his boat.

He replied, “This is better than going to West Marine and you have coffee!”

A few weeks later we were pulling his boat out of the water, when the trailer popped off and the factory safety chain broke! On his way to West Marine, he called and I told him to hold off - we met up and I gave him some 10 Feet of 2 inch BBB Chain along with some strong connectors.

He also told me he had to go get some quick release shackles. I said, “Come to the Barn and get what you need.” He left with about 300 dollars worth of nice, shiny “jewelry.”

Since the barn was getting where I could get in it now, I was given a head sail for a 25 foot boat. Can’t turn something like that down. During the next visit with Stacey I bent his arm just enough to convince him to carry it home so his son can cut it down for his new 16 foot boat he is building. He smiled, thanked me and left with it.

I have been told what goes around comes around and I know first hand that it does. I needed some cypress to build a pergola and table. Had no idea where to get it and then called and I will not use his name, but a Friend that had harvested some good stuff from me, only to find he had a source. I gave him the amount I needed - several dollars worth, to put it mildly. Then, the next week he called and said, “I am going to get your wood today and will bring it to you.”

I needed some cypress to build a pergola and table.

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My first question was, “How much?” He told that me I could afford it. I did not know he was driving a round trip of over 200 miles just to pick it up, then he delivered it to me and stacked it. He then told me, “I think we are even!” I did convince him to take gas money.

Those of us who have been into this Sailing Addiction have given ourselves enough Fixes to have a bunch of Stuff left over, so why do we keep it? I think it is to remind us of all the past “affairs” we have had with the boats in our life.

Do YOURSELF a favor - clean out the barn, give some of it to a new boat owner who is struggling just to scrap enough money together to piece a boat together. Aint no way you can cram all that Stuff in your box when they put in the ground.

I don’t intend to say I have parted with things that are beyond being special to me – I still do have my share of Stuff left, but every time I run across a piece of hardware or a few feet of teak I now have a way of giving it new life.

After I gave my sailing books away, a collection of 35 years, although I did keep the Pardey books and others I still reread, I found I had more space and the young man who got them was very happy, almost as happy as when I gave him my old Scrappy.

Some one said “A Book that’s not read is nothing more than a bound bunch of paper.” I say, “A barn full of sailing stuff you will never use again is just plain Stupid.” Hey, I never said I was a poet!

Fair Wind with just enough puffs to keep you on your toes
Capt Ron.

Written off the coast of Give-It-A-Way, a small island in the Un-Cork-A-Islands.

The anchor will be hoisted next week for a trip to to see the Kid I infected with my boat affliction, my Son. I think I could find some Mo Stuff there?

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