"Inventory system or 'Whereizzit'"
One of the most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) that we have answered involves our inventory system. It might seem strange, even impossible to lose things in a 15 metre boat, but it still happens. Here is how we solve the problem
On the left is the main item, complete with coffee stain. This is a diagram of all the storage on the boat. The numbering system is complicated only at first. Here is how it works. From Stem to Stern the boat is divided by compartment. All numbers in the forepeak are in the 100 series, the forward cabin 200, the saloon 300 etc. In addition, even numbers indicate port side and odd numbers stbd side. Within each compartment, the numbering is from front to back. High numbers in the series indicate high storage, like in the headliner or high lockers, and low ones indicate bilge storage. The actual lockers are physically numbered with a label.
The second tool is our spreadsheet called "wherizzit" You may download it by clicking on the name. It is in Micro$oft Works format to allow upward compatibility with other spreadsheet programs.
Now we get to the naming conventions. This is important. we use the military way of naming things. A blue working shirt would be called "Shirt-Working-Blue" another example is "Fruit-Canned-Mixed" this makes searching for the items quicker and avoids duplicity and ambiguity.
We implement the system as follows. When we are stocking up for a voyage, we sort the spreadsheet by locker number, and we pack each locker in turn, paying attention to ballasting. We update the items on the spreadsheet in this numerical order.
After the spreadsheet is updated, we re sort it in alphabetical order, and then print it. This booklet is our ready reference, and is updated by pencil when we use stock. We also calculate our weekly usage over the years, and we are now able to purchase exact supplies of staples including T-Paper etc according to the time of the next voyage. We just multiply our average weekly consumption by the amount of weeks we will be away from a resupply (like in Cuba). We can stock up for 9 months excluding water and fresh fruit and vegetables.
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