How do I provision for a sailboat trip?

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Answered by: Robin, An Expert in the Living on a Sailboat Category
Provision for a Sailboat Trip

If you are reading this article, then you are planning to embark on a wonderful sailboat cruise and need some pointers on how to feed you and your family while on the boat. Basically, to provision for a sailboat trip is not that different than planning your meals at home except there are no convenient stores to run to if you forgot an ingredient. In a nutshell, plan your meals, buy and stow the provisions then cook, eat and enjoy. The term provisions will refer to items that you need available to live and sustain life on your sailboat. Provisioning for a sailboat cruise can be easy if you organize and plan.

First, make a list or spreadsheet of the foods you and your family enjoy eating including meals, snacks and beverages. Certainly, the way you plan and cook meals will change while cruising on your sailboat; however, you will enjoy the comforts of a homecooked, I mean, a sailboat-cooked meal. Think about the climate where you will be traveling to then think of foods that will be appropriate for the temperature and humidity. You may want to make your favorite recipes simpler by using less or alternative ingredients while on a boat. When you are shopping, utilize your list and mark off items as you buy them. As you stow them onto your boat, document where each item is stored. This will be invaluable! There are dried milk products that take up less room and when mixed with water are quite tasty; this includes sour cream as well. Powdered fruit drinks are an easy way to supply your family with yummy drinks. If you enjoy adult beverages, you will want to provision beer and liquor with the needed mixers. Remember other items needed such as cooking oil, cornmeal, flour and spices.

Next, look at your refrigeration and dry storage areas. Ask yourself how much room do you have for provisions. Usually on a sailboat, there is a lot of storage for dried goods or non-perishable items. Beans, pasta, and rice are great staples for cruising the open water and remember sailing can be strenuous; you will need energy foods. The refrigeration area is coveted by most sailors for foods that need to be kept cold and are deemed necessary. Butter, milk, and produce have their place in the refrigerator. Look for produce that does not need refrigeration. Potatoes, onions, and apples will last a good while if stored properly by keeping them dry and wrapped in paper. If you are lucky enough to have a freezer on board your sailboat then you will want to provision various cuts of meat. You may think that you will be eating an abundance of seafood but it is called fishing and not catching for a reason. It is safer to plan for enough meals. The meats you will want in your freezer are your personal preference; however, you will want your portions to be adequate but without waste. If you can cook enough chicken tonight for two dinners then you have saved on energy which brings up the topic of how will you cook your meals. Many sailboats are equipped with propane grills, stoves and some even have an oven. Once again, think of the climate and plan how you will cook your meals. Lastly, multiply the number of meals to the length of your travel. This should give you an accurate amount of meat, pasta and vegetables that you will need. Your neighborhood grocer may package your meats and cheeses anyway you prefer. Ask for the vacuum sealed method, if possible. Look for bargains and specials, many items can be purchased and stored ahead of departure time. Do not forget your non-edible provisions such as a first aid kit, medicine, soap, suntan lotion, detergent, water, fire starter, propane and toilet tissue. Happy sailing!

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