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Mar 5, 2010 10:45 PM

Provisioning for a long sailing trip...any suggestions please?

Hi, I'm a new member. I'll be flying to Hawaii from downunder shortly to provision a boat for a long sail. First leg from Hawaii to Samoa - about 20 days - no grocery stops along the way!

Wonder if you can assist; I will not be sailing this time, so there will be just 3 guys - non cookers - on a long, sometime rough sail. They don't really want to cook, but want to eat well. I'll be shopping at Costco as a main spot; others too.
- Organic meat
- One guy prefers vegetarian, but will eat meat (organic)
- Super small freezer
- Foods that can be heated on stove top
- Foods that keep well
- good size refrige
- gotta be easy
- easy breads

I'll be getting alot of tin food, and I'll prepare some foods and vacuum seal to prolong life of meats / veges.

Any suggestions for this trip in regards to what you've found at Costco or Sams Club that may be helpful? Hawaii has no TJ...:( Thanks so much !

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  1. asian markets are cheap and have variety. just discovered vietnamese jerkey, served on rice noodle salad or green papaya salad. not like american jerky. dried coconut milk is good for thai food. steripak tofu is handy. chinese sausage is not refrigerated in store, you might ask about that, at home I keep in freezer. virginia country hams are often available, no refrigeration required (though maybe not so in tropics). condensed milk, for thai tea or viet coffee, is cheap. for veg, cabbage carrots potatoes onions citrus apples bananas keep. otherwise dried. costco has trail mixes, nuts, dried fruit. and spam is staple around there though it might give vegetarian nightmares. will kim chee keep unrefrigerated? being away from corner grocer for weeks at a time requires careful planning. don't forget spices, condiments, oil, sugar, treats. peanut butter, no vegemite wanted. also kitchen supplies, matches, thermos, peeler, can opener... how about sprouting seeds for some green food. costco has dried mashed potatoes and hash browns, easy and ok. crackers, chips. bottled juices. cheese keeps for awhile. costco used to have bacon bits 2# or so? dehydrated refried beans are available some places, easy and good. eggs keep awhile, how hot does it get? dried salami. organic meat looks like a problem.

    1. I suggest you check out some forums for backpacking and canoeing websites if you haven't done so already. You'll find lots of ideas for healthy transportable food.

      I recommend:

      1 Reply
      1. re: lyndak

        Thanks to you both.

        Great suggestions. Divadmas: yes, the hard veges - cabbage, carrots, potatoes etc will be carried as is. Good on passage. Others will be dried. Vietnamese jerky - sounds interesting - and good!

        Lyndak: I've looked on both the sites and got a few good ideas from site.

        Thanks again :)

        1. food is never the issue on a modest (20 day?) sail trip. rather, it's stocking enough beer and wine.

          14 Replies
          1. re: steve h.

            Enbell: Thanks for the cool sites.

            Steve h.: spoken like a true yachtsman.

            1. re: kiwigal

              What's the galley like? Will you be generating electricity to drive the freezer and the coolerator? What's the square footage of the cold box? How's the insulation? How's the stove fueled? Is there an oven? Talk to me about the pot/pan situation. Washing dishes on a voyage is always a hoot. What's your plan? Soda, coffee or tea: a serious question. Any grilling on the stern? And so on.

              Ocean voyages, as you know from experience, are 24/7. It doesn't sound like you'll be standing a watch but these guys are crazy if they don't press you into service.

              Give us some more details so we can give you some better information. Life's too short for crummy food. Especially at 7 knots.

              Beer and wine should be your top priority but eating well is just one degree of proficiency away from eating poorly.


              1. re: steve h.

                Ok, that's two references to beer and wine as a priority. I say copious amounts of water is number one. I've only been say, seventy five miles offshore, but I know to prepare for the worst. A three week sail can and does turn into months at sea, with death a real possibility. It happens all the time. I was on a casual four hour fishing trip on Galveston Bay that almost turned into disaster. I'll elaborate if you want.

                1. re: James Cristinian

                  That's why boats have water tanks. Water bottles take up too much space in my opinion. Best to draw from the tanks and make it tasty by brewing tea. If you're out for a few days, freezing water bottles and placing them in the coolerator is never a bad idea. Plenty of storage space on board? Knock yourself out and buy fancy bottled water. BTW, reverse osmosis devices are pretty common on sea-going vessels these days so I wouldn't sweat the water stuff.

                  1. re: steve h.

                    Fair enough, having never been on a sail boat, I did not know this. My only experience on boats is to fish, and there was no sail. I would think some kind of emergency water stash would be in order. I think a good buzz at sea is great, just be sure there is a designated sailor. Not to be negative, we had an experienced sailor from Texas A & M Galveston Marine lose his life in relatively close waters. Be careful out there. I was wading in from fishing and hit some mud, both my calves cramped up at the same time, and I went face forward. It was a good thing I was in a foot of water, and not the five feet I wade in as well, or I wouldn't be here now. I now carry a life vest, and drink lots of gatorade before I go. BUY GATORADE, or some other fluid enhancher. Have some fun.

                    1. re: James Cristinian

                      Sailors understand that the sea and Mother Nature are finicky: hours of boredom, moments of sheer terror. We're all serious when it comes to our responsibilities. We are all proud of our skills but understand that MN always has the last word.

                      Take some sailing lessons and go charter a boat in the EC. It's all good. Provisioning/cooking on board for a lengthy sail is a left brain/right brain thing. It's fun but not easy. Gatorade? Whatever.

                      1. re: steve h.

                        Lin and Larry Pardey have been at this game a long time. I like reading their books and blogs.

                        Here's a link to some of their thoughts.


                        1. re: steve h.

                          Sailing experience is not my concern; I've done it professionally and use to run charter boats. It's what's available in US that I am after.

                          Gatorade is a good idea. Anything with sugar when the weather is rough and not much can be made in the galley. Been there before.

                      2. re: steve h.

                        Yes, water maker on board. A must have these days! Plus water filter on board to filter water coming through taps.

                        I might add that water through watermaker - although lacking completely in all minerals - is some of the best still water I've tasted.

                      3. re: James Cristinian

                        James Cristinian:

                        1. A three hour tour... A three hour tour ;)

                        2. Sailors like to drink. I don't really know why. It's just the deal. All of the older guys I sailed with with I was a kid came off the docks and hit the bar and now I tend to do the same for better or for worse.

                        3. Having a few drinks/joking about having a few drinks doesn't mean that someone's going to neglect to bring enough drinking water/plan for enough drinking water, food or other necessary supplies on a journey... I mean anyone who is undertaking a 20 day sail necessarily has more than a healthy respect for the sea. After all, it's killed more people than all other natural disasters in the history of the world combined with all of the wars, diseases, famines etc... since the dawn of time.

                        4. Kiwigal: I suggest copious amounts of rum :)

                      4. re: steve h.

                        Hi ,

                        Yes, I've done a number of ocean voyages with over 60,000 blue water miles. Crewed as chef and mate professionally on luxury yachts around the world for a number of years been sailing long distance around the world over 20 yrs.

                        My husband, a professional captain (and not a chef) is bringing our newly bought yacht back to NZ (new to us) - without me there to cook. Hence, three guys who don't want to cook.

                        Seriously, booze is not on the menu. Save that for onshore. 5000 miles is alot to ; best done sober.

                        This is not a luxury yacht; it is a regular sailing yacht of 40' . Two small (and I do mean small) freezer units - frigaboat . I'm just having a bit of brain burp since I've not done this type of provisioning in a long time (I know, spoilt) and I'm won't be on passage to improvise myself. Plus, it's been over a decade since I"ve provisioned in the U.S. and trying to get ideas on what's available.

                        Agree - live is too short for crummy food (and bad wine, too!)

                        Thanks for your help.

                        1. re: kiwigal

                          I'd have you stand a watch so I could grab some sleep. In return, I'd help with the dishes. :-)

                          40 feet can be tight quarters for four sailors. Tough conditions always make for interesting trips. Best of luck. Please give us chapter/verse after the fact. Include the excruciating details since those count the most.


                        2. re: steve h.

                          Steve h... you are wise... Mr for voyage food on long cruises, meat is not recommended at all, unless there is adequate facilities for it, just as you stated in your comment.... Grains such as rice,oats, quinoa, barley, rice, dried corn and dried pre-sprouted beans are the best that I find for long sails;. because they don't take very much energy to prepare and they go well with all other foods and are versatile... I also recommend that fruit be first spritzed with a mist of vinegar before bringing aboard. This will detract fruit flies which are a common problem in tropical sailing areas and as the vinegar dries the vinegar taste will go away...also, this will aid in killing the mold spores that can ruin food stores. apples, green plantain, key limes keep for a fair amount of time. Eat the ripest produce first (obviously) and there's nothing at all wrong with canned foods. on another note the best seafood is the seafood that you catch yourself! both cooked or not (as long as you know how to prepare sushi correctly) all salt water ocean fish (with only a few exceptions) can be eaten raw, but there are some tastier than others.

                    2. I've never attempted to do anything like this but would like to recco a book to take on the trip... one of the youngest women ever to sail around the world solo. It's SUCH a fascinating story and she had a lot to say about what she was able to eat and keeping her cat alive at the same time.


                      2 Replies
                      1. re: pasuga

                        Hi Pasuga - I recall reading this story years and years ago. It is a great story. Tania Aebi still sails today. She's divorced from her husband (Oliver that she met on her travels) and has two sons. And last I read, Tarzoon is old and still going strong.

                        1. re: pasuga

                          Someone is attempting to break this record.

                          Interesting reading on her blog (and maybe a few food ideas for the OP).