New Lazarette

I have just constructed a lazarette on my boat. Now that sounds like Lazarus who was resurrected from the dead by Christ. Usually and in the present case, the lazarette is an aft locker just inside the transom.

In the old sailing ships, it was located in the bow of the vessel and was used for storing the bodies of people who died at sea (unless they were buried at sea), hence the name Lazarus – his tomb. The bow is the one place on a ship that cannot be upwind from the rest of the vessel, from the point of view of the stench of the decomposing bodies. Now, it is no longer used as a mortuary and it is located at the stern. The macabre name has stuck!

It is typically used for equipment that needs to be accessible more easily than the fo’c’sle (the bow compartment). I will be using it for navigation equipment and my VHF radio, safety / first aid equipment, spares for the boat, a reduced toolbox (ship’s workshop) and one or two other personal items that fit in. I put camping gear, bedding and clothes in dry bags in the fo’c’sle together with my “bosun’s locker” which is a waterproof box containing everything needed for minor repairs to the hull and sails. The galley is a plastic box kept in the port well forward of the thwart containing food, a camping gas burner and a pan. In the starboard well opposite, I have another plastic box containing personal items including books and an FM radio. My two anchors and the fenders go into these two wells for easy access.

lazarette01The top of the lazarette is in two hinged parts, the aft part being fixed. A bulkhead is fixed to the sides of the buoyancy tanks and has a hole cut in it. The purpose of this hole is access to the contents of the lazarette without lifting the top when the tiller would be in the way.

lazarette02Here, the top is closed. There is a small stainless steel plate to reduce friction of the mainsheet as it runs from the stern block to a ratchet pulley attached to the centreboard case. The top and bulkhead are made of laminated pine, and are varnished. The lazarette is not designed to be waterproof so that water can run out and be bailed from the cockpit. Therefore I only put in waterproof plastic boxes containing objects, or objects that can get wet without any problem.

lazarette03The planks on the gunwales are my bed (when placed touching each other at the centre of the boat), on which I put a self-inflating mattress and my sleeping bag. It is less uncomfortable than it looks. When the boat is under way, the two boards are separated and used as gunwale seats. I need to devise something to stop them moving when Sarum is under way. I can also sit more towards the centre of the boat in extremely calm conditions.

lazarette04This is the same thing from the other end of the boat.

The increased size of my lazarette also gives a longer bed, even though I can pack up the port well with a dry bag over the galley box, which gives more length for my feet when my head is just within the transom (the helm is lashed hard over to starboard to leave me free from the tiller when I’m in bed for the night).

Watch this space for more improvements as we sailors get ready for the new season.

The wind was rising easterly, the morning sky was blue,
The Straits before us opened wide and free;
We looked towards the Admiral, where high the Peter flew,
And all our hearts were dancing like the sea.
‘The French are gone to Martinique with four and twenty sail!
The Old Superb is old and foul and slow,
But the French are gone to Martinique, and Nelson’s on the trail.
And where he goes the Old Superb must go!’

So Westward ho! for Trinidad, and Eastward ho! for Spain,
And ‘Ship ahoy!’ a hundred times a day;
Round the world if need be, and round the world again,
With a lame duck lagging all the way.

The Old Superb was barnacled and green as grass below,
Her sticks were only fit for stirring grog;
The pride of all her midshipmen was silent long ago,
And long ago they ceased to heave the log.
Four year out from home she was, and ne’er a week in port,
And nothing save the guns aboard her bright;
But Captain Keats he knew the game, and swore to share the sport,
For he never yet came in too late to fight.

So Westward ho! for Trinidad, and Eastward ho! for Spain,
And ‘Ship ahoy!’ a hundred times a day;
Round the world if need be, and round the world again,
With a lame duck lagging all the way.

‘Now up, my lads,’ the Captain cried, ‘for sure the case were hard
If longest out were first to fall behind;
Aloft, aloft with studding sails, and lash them on the yard,
For night and day the Trades are driving blind!’
So all day long and all day long behind the fleet we crept,
And how we fretted none but Nelson guessed;
But every night the Old Superb she sailed when others slept,
Till we ran the French to earth with all the rest.

Oh, ’twas Westward ho! for Trinidad, and Eastward ho! for Spain,
And ‘Ship ahoy!’ a hundred times a day;
Round the world if need be, and round the world again,
With a lame duck lagging all the way.

The Old Superb – Poem by Sir Henry Newbolt

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