This little soliloquy was initiated by the purchase of a carved coconut shell we saw, liked, and bought in Barbados. We didn't know where we were going to hang it, or what we'd use it for. When we got back to the boat, we hung it over the Nav Station--and it's use became obvious. Of course: for holding rubber (elastic) bands.
We've been on cruising sailboats that, believe it or not, had no rubber bands on board, on the grounds that sometimes they break, or else go icky in the heat. In our opinion, these minor vices are far outweighed by the extraordinary uses we found for them. It's fair to say, that of all boat supplies, we used rubber bands more frequently than anything else. Especially if you include bungie cords in the broad category of rubber bands.
We kept an assortment of sizes of rubber bands and bungie cords. It was a bit of a bother to keep the bungies organized by size, but well worth the trouble. We initially had one good-sized drawer dedicated to bungie cords, bound together in size groups by (you guessed it) rubber bands. Later, we rigged up a bar in the shower along which we hung them according to size. It worked great -- we could get one of exactly the size we wanted in just a second. Our most common rubber band size we kept in our coconut hanger. Smaller ones were wrapped round each other to create a rubber ball, and larger ones were stored in a zip lock bag, all in a little basket in the Nav Station. We also kept a goodly supply of bungie cord ready, and some hooks, so we could fabricate a bungie custom made for any situation.
Here's what we used rubber bands for:
And here's what we used bungie cord(s) for:
So if we have one piece of advice for new cruisers, it is to be sure to keep on board readily at hand a large supply of rubber bands and bungies (and also clothes pins, but we'll spare you an ode to those.)
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