Not for Navigation

It’s official, Andrew thinks I have lost the plot.  (I can’t believe it has taken him so long to realise this fact?!) As I was poking around the shop looking for just the right ‘one’ I could see him shaking his head in disbelief…

You know how I go on about how good it is to have multi-purpose items on a boat?

And how I am in major down-sizing mode, getting rid of everything that we don’t need and won’t have space for on board?

I love maps. I remember my grandmother giving me an atlas for Christmas one year and I went through and marked dots on all the places I had already travelled to. My aim was to get a dot on every single page in the atlas. Boundaries have changed since that atlas was printed. Some of those countries don’t even exist any more, but their coastlines still do. Sitting there waiting patiently for us to sail on in to the bay some day.

Yes dreams are free, and nautical charts are expensive. World map posters are big and take up too much space. An atlas book is good, but is it multi-purpose?

Well I have had an epiphany!

As I was wandering along the street of the lovely touristy town of Akaroa the other day I saw a map tea towel of New Zealand. A nice tasteful map with no extra things like pictures of paua, jandals & kiwis, no native flora, or kiwi slang words on there. Just a plain simple map of NZ. Unfortunately I didn’t have any cash on me at the time, and so I walked past. But the seed had been planted in my mind…

My lovely Mumma had previously bought me a map of the UK which conveniently listed all the coastguard stations located around the coast. That could certainly come in handy one day. I could buy this map of New Zealand tea towel and start a collection!



I hunted high and low around the shops on the West Coast over the weekend searching for that perfect tea towel and couldn’t find it. Thankfully I just made a quick phone call to Sam in Akaroa who whipped down to the shop and secured the specific one I wanted – for just the small sum of NZD$7.00. Bargain.

This tea towel can now just be used the same as regular tea towels in the galley on a day to day basis. Wiping up spills, protecting your hands when handling hot dishes, drying the plates. You know – that kind of stuff.

Then when we are cruising and someone comes along and says – “Oh wow! You guys are from New Zealand? What a coincidence! We are just about to sail there next week!” Then I would be able to whip out the tea towel and show them all the fantastic places to visit. I could use a wooden spoon as a pointer and bits of spaghetti to plot a course on the tea-towel chart.

Andrew would sit there shaking his head and rolling his eyes – and I would say “See Andrew! I told you that this was a fantastic idea…!!!” and he would have to admit that yes it was a great idea and how useful the tea towels had been, particularly around the galley, and how sorry he was for making fun of me in tourist shops looking for the ‘right’ map tea towel.

No need to clutter up the boat with expensive charts for destinations you may not visit for a while. Simply buy the tea towel and start dreaming – or remembering – depending on in which order you purchase the tea towel.

Of course I am not suggesting you use the tea towel for navigation – c’mon give me a break! Nerd alert! I will be passage planning on proper paper charts and GPS navigation systems thank you very much.

But it’s official – the collection has started, and I am already super excited about buying an Australia map tea towel on our upcoming trip. I’ll be sending my Dad & Sam to Europe with a shopping list of tea towel maps to hunt for on their forthcoming travels too.

I think Andrew is coming to terms with it now. He has however made it quite clear that he will not be impressed if I decide to start also collecting tea spoons, and I think that’s probably a fair call..?


20 thoughts on “Not for Navigation

  1. Ha ha! Love it. I raced on a boat that had a tea towel with all the flags on it. At the start of each race we would be out with the tea towel working out which course we were using! Very practical…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lovely blog, and lovely tea towel! I have been trying to collect cushion covers with maps on from each Greek island we visit, but haven’t got very far yet, but they might be useful for emergency navigation……

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I would never have thought. But my wife assures me that this kind of thing is more common than I would imagine.

    Of course, larger countries need larger formats. A tablecloth of France, a bedsheet of the United States, the world atlas on a mainsail. . .


  4. Pingback: Awesome Okarito | Astrolabe Sailing

  5. Um, about that not being for navigation… Our charts of French Polynesia looked suspiciously close to that tea towel… They were reprints of charts drawn in the 1880s… just one line of soundings… real works of art 🙂 and yes, we navigated on them just fine 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Great Gear for the Galley | Astrolabe Sailing

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