Liquids on a boat, just like liquids in a car, present a special challenge. Actually, the challenge is two-fold: 1) Keeping the liquid in the container; and 2) Keeping the bugs out of it.
Obviously, it’s all about the vessel that you chose. Vessel as in cup or bottle, not the boat itself. The options for clever cups and cup holders are plentiful and wonderfully inexpensive.
For beer: Opt for cans rather than bottles. Not only are cans safer than glass bottles, but they flatten out in the trash can later – a fact that you will appreciate during a long passage. Please note, if you are at the helm, you should not be drinking alcohol. It is not only dangerous but it is also against the law. Save the alcohol for when you are docked or anchored for the night – or appoint a designated non-drinking helmsman.
For soft drinks: Screw-top bottles are better than cans for soft drinks. Being able to put the cap back on the bottle while under way will prevent spillage and keep the bugs out when you have to put your soda down to tend to the lines or take the helm.
For everything else: I love these adult sippy cups.
They keep wine from spilling, staining my clothes and white upholstery and, more importantly, they keep gnats from taking swan dives into my Cabernet. They work just as well as for iced tea, water or lemonade.
Once you have your beverage contained in the proper vessel and it is in hand, what do you do when you need to put it down for a few minutes? Small boats generally don’t come with enough drink holders for more than two people and the ones that they do have aren’t always in the most convenient places.
Zen has just two drink holders. Two!?! We can have as many as six people aboard on a lazy weekend sail. On any given Sunday, we may need up to six drink holders while we fix lunch, eat, chat, swim or nap. We need those drink holders scattered about the boat for the convenience of the crew and the guests.
Thankfully, there are a couple of very affordable options that don’t require cutting holes in your boat. These lifeline drink holders are handy because they can be suspended anywhere on the lifeline and are easy to move around to different spots if you decide to move around.
There are no cup holders within reach of our tiller, nor are there aft lifelines that would accommodate these simple devices. I have always thought that the space just beneath the tiller would be a great place to have some sort of floor mounted model. I looked around and finally found the solution - I’m asking Santa to bring me not one but two of these little suction cup mounted beauties.
Not only would one be handy on deck but I’d also like to have one in the cabin, close to where I sleep at night.
There is one drink holder caveat that every boater should know: No matter what style of drink holders you chose for you boat, be sure to stow them out of sight when you when you leave the boat unattended for an extended period of time. The very first time we left Zen docked at a marina, we returned in one week to find that some dock rat had pried both of our drink holders from the boat.