Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Tennis Ball in a Sock???

I need to start this post with a thank-you to all the people who emailed me packing lists so that I could round out mine and be sure nothing was left at home.

One of the lists we got had "Tennis ball in Sock" on it. This was the same list that differentiated between white underwear and coloured underwear, so I know this person is detail oriented. I just can't figure out why you need to pack a tennis ball in a sock. If you travel with a dog, maybe. But this person didn't have dog food on the packing list (I checked).

Maybe the dog eats people food.

What would motivate you to pack - individually - a tennis ball in a sock, and itemize it so you wouldn't forget it? Is it used as an anchor float? Do you put it in the dryer when you reach port to prevent your clothes from clumping? Do you play tennis while aboard? Do you throw it at passing vessels in a massive game of tag? Does the colour of the sock matter? What about the colour of the tennis ball? Do you need matching shorts? I cannot honestly think of a reason to pack a tennis ball in a sock for a sailing trip. I have tried to think of a reason to do it, and can't.

SWMBO and I ran through every scenario we could imagine for it, and have come up empty. I am open to suggestions of what the tennis ball in the sock does that I haven't considered yet. Right now we are assuming that it is OK to pack tennis balls and socks separately.

My most plausible use is that it gets put in the bilge, and if you see the tennis ball/sock float past you in the cockpit, you will know the boat is sinking.

Incidentally, I haven't done it yet but our "Sailing your own boat packing list for cruisers" or whatever it should be called so Google will find it needs updating because there were some Very Good suggestions that came out of my begging for help in various online venues.

We are in process with the compilation, and currently have over 300 items in the unculled list. Our evenings consist of lovingly asking questions like: "Do we already have shampoo on the list?" or "Do garbage bags fall into galley supplies or cleanup? How about Ziplocs? Should we have a separate plastic bags section?"

Some of the ideas I got in the packing lists reminded me of the "50 reasons to bring a condom on a canoe trip" discussion I was once part of. It is amazing how versatile a condom can be. You honestly do need one on a camping trip - not just to prevent babies.

Condom uses I can remember:
  • Prevent babies
  • hold approx 1 gallon of water (water pail)
  • Can be fitted directly onto water filter
  • make a pinhole in receptacle tip to irrigate wounds (with the clean water you filtered into it)
  • tourniquet
  • slingshot shooter part thinggy
  • rubber band
  • surgical glove
  • to make replacement seals for fuel bottles
  • the foil wrapper was good for something I can't remember
  • rubber makes good firestarter
  • Bungee Cord Extension
  • Waterproof Storage
  • etc.
Anyway, tennis ball and sock ideas anyone? Toss 'em in the comments section and lets see what sticks.


  1. For massaging sore muscles after a long day of hard sailing perhaps? (these were suggested in our prenatal course for lower back), and yes, the laundry too, the sock is to keep the tennis ball fluff from getting on EVERYTHING. I know, figures Id have something to say ~ Jamie.PS check out my blog, its not quite this interesting, but Im just getting started

  2. What if the sock floats by, but without the ball??? then what does that mean?

  3. Hey Sticky - I have no idea. Image searches work great, eh!

  4. A little Boat called Iris.
    Just like the Little Thomas Train?
    Amazing how the rings of transportion flew, drove and shipped it, with WHTYL.


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