Storing the Cans

Maddie and I have chosen to use rice, beans, and canned meat as our emergency provisions. We will carry fresh foods that have a short shelf life on board. If we find ourselves at sea without land and running low on perishables, we will not need to worry as we have plenty of canned foods to keep us going.

We currently have 97 cans of beans, 24 cans of Vienna Sausages, and 16 cans of lentil soup stowed in this one locker. As you can see, there is still space for more cans, and we will continue to collect canned food through the winter. 

A less obvious but equally important choice when organizing the cans is to orient them vertically or horizontally. We chose horizontal for this locker because it is a more stable orientation that allows easier recovery of the desired can. If the cans were oriented vertically, the labels would be harder to read and removing the wanted can would be an complicated task. 

In a vertical orientation, the can needs to be lifted clear of all other cans, making it difficult to locate and retrieve a lower level can if they are stacked. With one can missing, the other cans will begin to tip and shift as they try to fill the void. This can cause the cans to bang into each other and dent, as well as make small holes which can lead to botulism poisoning.

In a horizontal orientation, the cans can be easily removed from any where in the locker because they are laying flat and won't need to be lifted as far. I can also stack the cans closer to the top of the locker as less space is needed in the removal. As cans are removed, other cans will roll into the space and settle, but they will be stable and organized once there. Best of all, the labels are easier to read in this orientation, making it easy to find the right can.

Right now, we are not moving much, so it is safe to stack the cans in tall columns next to empty sections. While cruising, we will not organize the cans in such a method. The cans will be re-organized to keep them all level with one another and minimize any risk of damaging our precious food stores.

This is only one of many lockers on board Wisdom that we plan to fill to the top with canned goods, allowing us to worry less about food and focus more on our destinations while cruising.

On another note, the choice of lockers for these massive can stores is based on the boats list. Our yacht tends to list a bit to starboard, so we are loading all the cans into the port lockers in an attempt to help level the vessel and correct this trim discrepancy.  The cans are being located as far to the port side as possible and their weight will help balance things out.

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