By Sylvia Seaberg/The Spinnaker Shop
MOTTO: make it easy, make it healthy, make it good.
GOAL: To discuss a basic approach to provisioning for the race that can apply to a wide variety of boat and
crew capabilities. There are as many ways of coordinating provisioning and meals as there are boats and crew.
This speaker’s experience was moderately rustic with galley gear being one well-insulated cooler and a single
burner gimbaled stove. Nevertheless our boat ate well and never felt wanting. Get together in advance and
discuss what will work for your crew. Style of provisioning will be determined by boat and crew capabilities and
inclinations. A good basic philosophy when planning meals is to think in terms of spending as little time as
possible futzing around in the galley while at the same time having a menu that the crew will look forward to every
BOAT: Assess galley’s capabilities for storing and cooking.
*Refrigeration: what do you have and what do you need? A freezer is not necessary but a cooler is
recommended. A well-insulated icebox of at least 5 cubic feet can be packed with dry ice (recommend at
least 30-50 lbs), frozen water in plastic milk jugs and frozen dinners. This will keep food frozen for maybe a
week and cold to cool for several more days beyond that.
*Water storage: If boat already has on-board storage ensure the tanks/bladders will keep water potable and
are in good working order. Consider back-up water storage in the event of leakage or failure. Arrange for
water purification if warranted. Standard water ratio of Clorox bleach to water is 1 tsp. bleach to 10 gals.
*Cooking: equipment will determine how meals can be prepared, stovetop? Oven? Microwave?
*Storage: determine where food storage will be. Make a rough diagram of where food will be stored, this
will be fine tuned later on but it is a good to have a basic plan. Create more storage if necessary by
installing zippered mesh (or other style) access areas.
*Make a list of what galley needs and a timetable for getting gear purchased and installed.
CREW: Determine crew’s likes and dislikes, food allergies or other potential problem areas, write this info
down and use it when making your meal and shopping lists.
Determine crew capabilities regarding cooking. Discuss in advance the eating, cooking and cleanup
routines. For example, a practical arrangement could be a help-yourself arrangement for breakfast and
lunch with dinner being a prepared meal crew eats together…good for the stomach good for the soul good
for the team.
Consider individualizing plates, bowls, cups, etc. so the same people use the same items each time. This
can be done by labeling items or purchasing different colored items.
FOOD: Based on boat size and rating determine how many meals for number of people for number of days
you will be at sea. Increase meals by at least 50% or other factor with lightweight, rustic food if necessary.
A note about freeze dried food: these foods can be high in sulfates. Be aware that some people can
experience “reactions” when ingesting an excessive amount of sulfates including headaches, dehydration
and flatulation. Freeze dried food has come a long way, however, and is certainly a viable option for
lightweight or backup provisioning.
Consider interest and health aspects when planning meals and menus, e.g. include variety and don’t forget
veggies and fruits (especially dried fruit for good digestion).
Draft a list of breakfast and lunch foods and determine how much you will need.
Draft a list of dinner menus and determine how much you will need.
Draft a list of snack foods.
Draft a list of condiments.
Draft a list of peripherals, e.g. dry ice, soap, towels, etc.
Draft a shopping list; separate it by perishable and non-perishable.
Draft a minimum equipment list: galley strap, stove, tea kettle, hot water dispenser, pot for cooking, utensils
incl. can opener, hot pads and towels, paper towels, cleaning equipment, etc.
Safety considerations: Safety harness or galley belt, fire extinguisher in galley, box of baking soda for flareups
(good for indigestion, too)
Liquids: Race rules require 15-gals/pp. fresh water. Consider mix-your-own electrolyte drinks to add to
water to flavor it (especially if it has been sterilized with bleach) and to keep the crew’s electrolyte levels up.
BOAT: Purchase any gear galley does not already have. Make sure pans fit stove, oven, microwave, etc!!
Plan exactly where food will be. Retrofit or install storage areas if necessary. Ensure you have sufficient
fuel and that all equipment works well. If boat does not have storage for cutlery, knifes, etc. install mesh
bags for storing.
CREW: Ensure the crew knows how to operate every piece of galley equipment.
If crew is preparing some amount of frozen dinners for “leftovers” these should be done at least a week in
advance and frozen well. Amount of these dinners will largely be determined by storage space in the
cooler. If any crew claims they can’t cook introduce them to Trader Joe’s frozen food section.
FOOD: Shopping tips:
*Start shopping early for non-perishables and visit a variety of stores; some places have really cool
convenience foods that you may not normally notice.
*Use your list as a guideline but remain flexible if you become “inspired” while shopping. Think outside the
*Consider convenience, weight and disposal while shopping. For example, if purchasing prepared bottled
items, try to purchase in plastic instead of glass, squeeze top instead of spoon-out, spaghetti sauces and
milk in cans or boxes rather than bottles, etc.
*Think “Green” when purchasing cleaning products, not only good for the environment but accidental residue
on plates not so pukie.
*Purchase a wide variety of snacks, sweet snacks, salty snacks, fresh healthy snacks.
*Purchase perishables as close to departure date as possible.
*If purchasing dry ice reserve in advance and make pick-up or delivery arrangements, confirm details.
Assemble Ziploc “dinner bags” in advance including as much of the entire menu as possible, remove excess
packaging but don’t forget the instructions and possibly ingredient list if crew has food sensitivities. If the
dinner requires accessing another area such as cooler make a note and label refrigerated ingredients.
BOAT: Implement your storage plan. Store cooking utensils and condiments close to stove and oven.
Label storage areas with contents. Store snacks in highly accessible area and make sure everyone knows
where it is. Store items in the order you will use them and for easy access. Store non-perishable meals in
appropriate order of usage and label storage area. Finalize menu according to sequence and display it.
Set up hot water dispenser and secure well, the first few days involve heeling and waves, the remaining
days hold the potential for broaching. Store all liquid and bottled water in or down near bilge area whenever
possible, in case of leaking the liquid will go into the bilge and not onto dried goods, clothes or bunks. Pack
cooler/freezer with dry ice, ice and frozen food items in appropriate order.
CREW: Ensure the crew knows where food is stored. Finalize your storage diagram, number and/or label it
with corresponding labeling on the areas themselves and brief crew. Discuss the menu and finalize details
such as thawing of the frozen dinners. Displaying the menu will not only keep the crew informed but will
give them something to look forward to during the day! Ensure the crew knows location of soap and
Be prepared to abandon group meals for the first day or two; crew may not feel well enough to prepare
dinners and instant meals in a cup may have to suffice. Be flexible and play it by ear.
FOOD: Make sure frozen items are wrapped well, especially stuff like bread that can absorb liquid or odors
or stinky things that could leak.
Do include fresh fruits and veggies but choose well and store carefully. For example, cabbage stores much
easier than lettuce, fresh limes are a great condiment and do not need refrigeration, purchase fruit green to
allow for ripening, even pineapples and avocadoes can be brought along with this philosophy as long as you
store them well. Check daily and toss bad fruits/veggies, one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch.
Canned fruits and veggies are good too and some can be as healthy as fresh, e.g. corn, tomatoes, legumes.
When purchasing meats look for vacuum packed meats, dry salamis, summer sausage and canned meats
that require little or no refrigeration.
A meal plan: A number of racers report that in terms of meals the race may be divided into different phases.
Your boat may experience one or all of these phases…
1) The beat – for the first 1-3 days your point of sail may be too uncomfortable for cooking dinner. You
may choose to rely on meals consisting of adding hot water to a freeze dried “cup of something.”
Ensure the crew remains sufficiently hydrated during this phase.
2) The comfort zone and “leftovers” – if your galley has freezing accomodations each crew may choose
the option to prepare dinners in advance, freeze them, and reheat them for dinner. These are great
as long as they can remain frozen or adequately cold for the period of time during which these
dinners will be served.
3) The comfort zone and prepared meals – now it’s time to get into your prepared “dinner bags” or
alternate meals designed to feed you during your planned remaining racing days.
4) The extended holiday – for whatever reason it is taking you longer to reach your destination than you
had anticipated. Luckily you have included lightweight backup meals for this situation and it is time
to get into them.
DISPOSAL: Please don’t throw trash into the ocean. Most trash is illegal and you will incur very bad mojo
that you do not need. Rinse packaging, cans and plastics with seawater, crush them flat and put them in
your well-stored heavy-duty trash bags.
SAMPLE DRAFT SHOPPING LIST:
FIRST DRAFT SHOPPING LIST FOR RED SKY
4 CREW MEMBERS
DIETARY CONCERNS: LACTOSE INTOLERANCE (YOGURT, SOME CHEESE OK)
- coffee 1#
- tea 2 boxes misc/reg and herbal
- rice milk 4 boxes
- instant Nestea 2 containers
- Crystal light 3 containers
- instant Gatorade 2 containers
- hanging dispenser for mixed beverages 1
- Emergen-C 1 box
- boxed juices 2-3 packages
- tiny bottles of cognac/armagnac 2-3
- champagne 1 bottle
- water brian
- salt and pepper
- herbs/spices assorted small containers
- soy sauce packages
- wasabi 1 tube
- mustard and mayo squeeze bottles
- butter/margarine 1 tub
- limes 1 net bag
- honey small squeeze
- hot sauce (tabasco and habanero) small bottle each
- herdez salsa 3 cans ea red/green
- olive oil small squeeze
- salad dressings 1 asian
- 1 italian
- variety of yogurts incl. plain 20 individual
- instant oatmeal 12 individual
- dry cereal 3 boxes
- tupperware dispenser for dry cereal
- fruit (apples, oranges, other)
- tuna sandwiches cans tuna
- egg salad sandwiches eggs boiled in advance
- salami and cheese sandwiches
- PBJ’s peanut butter/jellies
- tostadas shells, chili, cheese, salsa, etc.
- salads (chef’s, pasta, etc.)
- cheese packaged shredded
- individually wrapped
- kippers/salmon/other canned fish 6 cans
- roman meal bread 1 loaf fresh/1 loaf frozen
- english muffins 1 package
- wheat rolls 1 package frozen
- crisp tortillas
- crackers (variety) lots incl pilot crackers
- carrots sticks
- celery sticks
- First three dinners: instant in-a-cup
- nile spice brand 12 ea
- noodles 12 ea
- cup-a-soup 12 ea
- knorr soup 8 ea.
- Brian’s dinner
- Tom’s Dinner
- Nathan’s dinner
- Sylvia’s dinner
- Glenn’s dinner even though he’s bailing on the race
- cous-cous dinners 1 good, 2 backup
- pasta dinners 2 good, 2 backup
- rice dinners 1 good, 2 backup
- backup meals 1 week
- Canned fruits and vegies assorted
- for salads, desserts and snacks
- trail mixes lots
- dried fruit lots
- snickers/granola bars/cliff bars
- chips (pringles)
- candied ginger 1 bag
- chocolate covered espresso beans
- small cans fruit
- jerkies and beef sticks
- OTHER STUFF:
- Baking soda 1 plastic container
- paper towels 1 roll/day
- TP lots
- baby wipes lots
- plates and bowls 1 each
- squeeze bottle and mug 1 each
- cutlery 1 set each
- serrated knife 1
- filet knife 1
- large stirring/serving spoons 1 plain/1 slotted
- tongs 1
- cutting board 1 small plastic
- plastic plates 1 pack
- plastic bowls 1 pack
- plastic cutlery some
- dish liquid and sponges
- large heavy duty trash bags 12
- small trash bags 12
- 1 gal. ziploc bags lots
- whistling tea kettle
- hot water dispenser
- 4 qt. pan with lid
- matches/lighters in waterproof box
- big plastic bowl 1
- can opener
- pot holders 2
- dish towels 2
- coffee press acrylic
- aluminum foil 1 roll
- bucket for seawater dishwashing
- small cooler for lunches and thawing dinners
- dry ice (Nathan) 30 lbs
- hand line and lures