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Stowing the Sole

By Chelsea McBroom

We finally had a sunny day anchored in New Zealand to organize the sole – not that we were looking forward to it, people were afraid of what lurked down below – but it needed to be done and the crew finally had the opportunity. The ‘sole’ is the deck or floor in the main salon. Under the sole is a vast and excellent storage area about 35 feet long and almost 24 feet wide about 3 to 4 feet deep. We keep lots of stuff here for the ship.

This whole job begins with a sunny day or two in a row, as once you start, you must carry on. It began with removing everything stowed under the sole onto and around the hatch on the main deck or to the quarterdeck. A chain of people was created from the sole beneath the salon and up the mahogany ladder, through the companionway, to the cargo hatch where everything was laid out: shackles and lizards of all sizes; spools of wire, thread, coils of manila rope, hemp and twine; sails, lots of spare sails, sometimes more than one to replace any the ship is currently using, all flaked and wrapped in rope; Picton Castle tools, t-shirts and memorabilia; previous crew members’ belongings stored in boxes or bags (the names on them giving us lovely flashbacks); totes full of soap, books and fabric; bags full of toilet paper or blankets; crutches; rolls of canvas; foul weather gear; and large pieces of wax. The list goes on!

People were broken up into teams to be responsible for sections. All was sorted, like with like, and after, the crew counted each and the Mate wrote down the inventory. Blankets were shaken out and refolded, the useless and broken were tossed, broken boxes and bags were repaired or replaced, then wiped clean. The sole is the Mary Poppins of storage spaces and we were all amazed and how much came out. A handful of crew went back down to see what few have seen – an empty sole, swept and dusted. We managed to get everything back into the sole just in time for more unpredictable weather, but with a more organized placement of things, giving us easy access to what we often need like palms, sails, rope and most importantly toilet paper (we know exactly where it is and just how much of it!). This was good to do, all can see what we have and where it is without puzzling out a list or drawing. We made some lists and drawings anyway.

all the contents of the sole up on deck

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