shows by example how easily you can eliminate stress, become more independent, raise your children in a safer environment (while spending more time with them, instilling values not based on the mighty dollar) and avoid the traps of commercialism. Because we live and sail simply, we have been wandering for 11 years with no intention of stopping. This is not a trip for us; it is our life, and I hope to share our success with stories of laughter and tears, as well as how-to tips and DIY projects for preparing, sailing and making a boat a home, so that others can join us.

Glass Onboard

March 24, 2014

When we first left to go cruising we, like many others, agonized over every item. Should we take it or leave it? One area that was particularly difficult to know what we would eventually wish we had if we left it behind was the galley. We kept our set of pots and pans that stacked into the smallest space, bought hundreds of dollars of Tupperware containers for storing bulk foods, and eliminated all glass. Even our dishes were replaced with metal camping dishware: plates, bowls and cups. Our glass drinking glasses were replaced with plastic cups. We bought only plastic containers of mayonnaise, jelly and any other food items that we could. With an 8-year-old onboard who would be sharing dishes washing duties, it seemed like the wisest move. No breakage, less space and less weight. Problem apparently solved.

For nearly ten years we were content with this situation. Then, as the boys started to grow up and move out, I began missing having "nice" things in my home. Obviously we were not going back to land dwelling any time soon, so why shouldn't I have some pretty, matching dishes? Why could I not drink my Thai tea out of a big girl glass instead of plastic? Once we analyzed our original decision to eliminate all glass onboard, the decision seemed less important. No longer did we have a young boy washing dishes on the boat. We didn't need service for eight now that there were only three of us onboard. There was no more risk of dropping a glass on the boat than there is on land. (Under way all bets are off. She's no longer a home then; she's a sailing vessel who must be treated accordingly. We revert back to plastic any time we're offshore, because then the risk is significantly higher of getting hurt when you drop a breakable.)

Glass everywhere

Once our aversion to glass was realistically reconsidered, our lives began to change quickly. We started buying food in glass jars because we realized the countless uses for them after they are empty. We use them to mix our NIDO milk powder and water. Shake the contents and they mix much more thoroughly and quickly than trying to stir it. Homemade salad dressing mixes, stores and pours easily out of a former jelly jar. And when we are storing the food in the bilge under the sole, the motion will not wear through a glass jar like it can (and has) a plastic food container.

With the publicity of BPA (and the increased awareness of other potentially harmful compounds in plastic containers) our reliance on glass increased significantly. Because BPA is released when the plastic is heated, I no longer put hot leftovers in plastic storage containers. Instead, especially soups and pastas, I store in wide mouthed Ball, or similar, jars. Even plastic containers that are BPA-free and "safe" worry me. Who knows what other harmful chemical will be exposed next week?

Yogurt works best in glass jars.

When Dave added sprouts to our menu, glass became even more important to us. Many sprouts containers are plastic and we have even sprouted in plastic jars before. But I don't believe you can get plastic as clean as you can glass. You certainly can't pour boiling water into a plastic jar like we do our glass sprouting jars. Dave's homemade yogurt is especially susceptible to contamination, which changes the taste, even if it doesn't spoil it. The jars he stores our yogurt in must be sanitized with boiling water. Not something that is feasible with plastic.

As our acceptance of glass onboard increases, so does our realization of the many uses of it. The dozens of Tupperware containers that we have stored our bulk food in for years are slowly being replaced with glass. We found half-gallon glass Ball jars for a reasonable price and bought a case of 8 to see if we would use them. They hold 3-pounds of rice beautifully. They are completely air tight and no bug will ever get in them. (Though our Tupperware is touted as air tight, it is anything but. We get a weevil infestation about once a year. Sometimes these bugs eat THROUGH the plastic Tupperware. Let's see them try that with glass!) We buy wide-mouthed jars to make filling and emptying easier. And since our biggest complaint about them is the metal lid, when our friends found plastic lids for them, we were completely convinced. We will be storing all our bulk food in glass jars before long. The lockers where we store our food are not square, so whether we use square Tupperware or round Ball jars won't make a difference in how much room they take up.

Sprouts in glass

We now have glass bread pans, a glass cake pan, a glass casserole, and a glass pie pan. I eat off matching china dishes and drink out of real glasses. We brew our coffee in a glass French press and store our coffee beans in a glass canister. My biggest criteria for living on a boat was to not feel like I was camping out. Now, I finally feel like I'm in a real home. Glass is so much easier to clean, especially burnt-on cheese from enchiladas or cherry pie filling that overflows. Our change to glass has made a major improvement in our lives afloat. Now, if I could only find a glass cookie sheet.

MONDAY we'll revisit an old favorite that a lot of people have been asking for: laundry onboard.

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