With Christmas round the corner some of you might be wondering what boat treats you can buy your sailing obsessed loved ones without shelling out a ridiculous sum of money. The answer is a rubber bucket. Ruth bought ours several Christmases ago before we had even launched the boat. There was quite a bit of suspense as to what that big parcel for me might be, she assured me she hadn't spent much money but that I would like it. Ever since, it has been an indispensable boat item.
They can be a little tricky to track down. I bought my first in a builders store in Spain. Ruth found Impetuous' bucket in an equestrian and farm store. The beauty of both against anything you might find in a chandlers is the price tag.
The main attraction of them is that they are pretty much indestructible. With their heavy build and malleability they wont crack when squashed in to the locker or crushed by the tiller when you tack. They don't degrade like plastic does when left out in the sun, they can be lost over the side however. My first was swept away the day that my cooking hero Keith Floyd died, a sad day indeed. So make sure you have a leash and get in the habit of tying this precious gift to the boat.
We keep ours out as its pretty much in constant use. There is currently a pile of clothes having a soak in some rain water caught by the bucket. Ruth loads it up with her varnishing paraphernalia when she goes aloft to varnish the mast; as it is soft it doesn't dent the mast as it swings around. Though we recently finally got round to connecting our saltwater washdown pump; intended for rinsing a muddy anchor down; we did so to aid the washing of nappies, for which it excels at. For rinsing the deck down once the anchor is up, the bucket is still our tool of choice.
Recently we found yet another use for it. One that brought smiles to all our faces.