Food & Drink


Food and some kind of beverage is near and dear to most of us. When we go out for a week of sailing instruction many people find themselves eating more than they normally do at home. This isn't necessarily bad because we also get our exercise when we're out there. Maybe not running around the deck but all the little things we do add up to a real workout. From grinding in the genoa sheet on a 51' boat to balancing ourselves whenever we move from one place to another on the boats with heel.

We most often go out for 6 days and 5 nights and don't plan to stop at grocery stores on the way. That's a lot of provisions if there are the typical 5 of us onboard. If you are interested in the list of provisions and meal planning we use, then you may download it or print it from the Downloads page.

Over the years there are several tricks we have developed to make food preparation easy and tasty over the week. The dinners are individually planned out before provisioning so we are sure to get whatever we need. For breakfast and lunch we'll pick up a variety of items and leave it up to each person to decide what they want when the time comes.


Fruit marketBreakfast may consist of any of the following: Fresh fruit, hard boiled eggs, yogurt, bagels, cold or hot cereal, tea or coffee. Coffee on the boat is usually made with a stove top percolator. When provisioning we'll pick up several different fresh fruits depending on what's available. Anything from pineapple, mangoes, and grapes to apples or oranges.




Lunches are done while we're underway. This is where we will usually do our first heave-to maneuver to stop the motion of the boat with a minimum of fuss and bother. Sandwiches are the core of lunches ranging from cold cuts and tuna to egg and chicken salad (see later for recipes). Peanut butter and jelly are always onboard. Along with the sandwiches there are usually grapes, pickles, and/or chips.


Chicken on the grill.Dinners are planned ahead of time and usually focus around the BBQ on the back rail. We make a simple vegetable and side (often rice) down below, in the galley, and cook the entrée on the grill. The main course might consist of fresh fish, hamburgers, steak, chicken or pork. Since the menu is planned ahead of time, with everyone voicing their opinion, it is easy to make substitutions and provide for different palates. We'll also do a pasta night at some point during the week. See sauce recipe later.


Appetizers are often a part of the pre-dinner scene and may consist of different hard cheeses, crackers, cut up apples, or grapes.

Snacks are important for a hard working crew. We'll most often get things like chips, salsa, cookies, nuts, granola bars, etc.

Beverages are up to the individual. Sometimes no one onboard cares for soda so we don't get any. We do, however, always stock up on plenty of water in 1 or 2.5 gallon containers. Better to have too much water than not enough. Also, pick up a dozen smaller water bottles which can easily be re-filled.

Alcohol is often consumed after the anchor is down and holding or we have tied up at a mooring. Here, each individual provides for themselves whether it's beer, wine, or liquor.

Storage is usually quite adequate on the modern cruising boat. There are nooks and crannies all over the galley and salon, especially under seating, that can be stuffed full. If you run out of space here then look under bunks or in the cockpit lockers for additional space.

Refrigeration is absolutely important and is sometimes less than what you might like. The alternative is to consider leaving some items out. On a week long cruise, fruits don't require refrigeration nor do uncooked eggs and some vegetables. For instance, tomatoes lose flavor if stored below 55° Fahrenheit. One way to determine if something needs refrigeration or not is to think about where it is kept at the supermarket; if it's not refrigerated there, then you can probably keep it out safely. Another alternative is to use a portable cooler for all soda, beer, fruit juice, and water bottles. The only problem is that you will most likely have to stop and replenish the ice at least once during the week.


How-to's & Recipes:

Three eggs.Eggs are a wonderful, tasty food that most of us enjoy. We'll get 1-2 dozen depending on the particular crowd. We'll provision late on Saturday then early on Sunday morning, before leaving the dock, we'll hard boil a dozen eggs. Here is a trick you can use to make perfectly cooked eggs that are easy to peel: Leave the eggs out at room temperature overnight which allows their shells to come off easily every time.

Set the eggs in a pot of tap water with at least 1" of water over the eggs, bring to a boil, turn off the heat, wait 10 minutes, then, under cool running water, dump them into the sink and make sure all the shells are cracked. Peel the shells then put the eggs into a bowl and that into a 1 gallon storage bag and into the refrigerator. They'll be handy for anyone wanting an egg for breakfast and if any are leftover, later in the week, egg salad sandwiches are always a crowd pleaser.

Egg Salad:

Several eggs
Celery seeds or Celery salt
Salt (plain or celery) & Pepper

Mash eggs with a potato masher. Add some mayo, a bit of prepared mustard, salt and pepper to taste. Add each ingredient gradually until you like the flavor.

Fish on the grill is wonderful for anyone who likes fish. The use of marinades only detracts from the subtle flavors inherent in the fish. If the fish comes with its skin on you can easily cut it off with a sharp, thin knife. Put the fish, skin side down, on a cutting board and slide the knife along just above the skin. Salt and pepper are then applied to both sides as well as a coating of cooking oil. You're ready to grill as long as you also oil the grate just before the fish goes on.

Chicken on the grill needs a marinade if you are using skinless, boneless breasts. Marinate chicken breasts in Italian salad dressing for 6 hours prior to grilling. The marinade tenderizes and moistens the inside of the breast and the flavor is great with grilling. Hint: grill extra breasts to make chicken salad for sandwiches the next day.

Chicken Salad:

Chicken (cooked) cut up into small pieces.
Rosemary or Thyme
Salt & Pepper

To the chicken add the mayo until it holds together then add some generous amounts of rosemary or thyme. Use dried herbs for the convenience on a boat. Salt and pepper to taste.

Pasta sauce can be made very tasty starting with a jar of good sauce from the grocery store.

Pasta Sauce:

1 26 oz. jar basic sauce
2 large white or yellow onions
Mushrooms (optional)
1 lb. Italian hot sausage (optional)
Kalamata olives (optional)

Start by cutting up onions coarsely and slowly caramelize them at low heat in a large fry pan stirring often. This will take about 30 minutes but the resulting flavor is worth it. When the onions are done put them into a pot containing the sauce from the jar then slice and fry mushrooms in a bit of butter and place them into the same sauce pot. Cut the sausage into bite size pieces and, without extra fat, fry until browned up and place into sauce pot. If you want the olives dice them and add to the sauce pot. Heat sauce and serve on your favorite pasta along with lots of grated parmesan and garlic bread if you have it.


Seabreeze drink.Drinks with alcohol are enjoyed by many of us. Single ingredient drinks like wine, beer, or liquor served neat need no further explanation. Two ingredient drinks require just a bit of planning ahead of time while drinks requiring three or more ingredients require more planning.

Enjoyable and simple two ingredient boat drinks can be rum & Coke, gin & tonic, or vodka & fruit juice, i.e. vodka and cranberry juice make a seabreeze (left). Rum also goes very well with most fruit juices. These drinks may benefit from a third ingredient; a slice of lime.


An example of a three ingredient boat drink is the margarita.

Margarita2 parts Tequila
1 1/3 parts Triple Sec
2/3 part freshly squeezed lime juice

Combine, shake, and pour into a salted wide-rimmed glass.




If you're going to the trouble of stocking Triple Sec onboard you can also make Cosmopolitans. Not really considered a boat drink perhaps but it has become popular.

Cosmopolitan drink.2 parts vodka
1 part cranberry juice
1 part Triple Sec




If you want to go to a whole lot of trouble, but have an out of this world cocktail, you can make this five ingredient drink; the Painkiller.

3 parts rum
2 parts pineapple juice
2 parts orange juice
1 part cream of coconut
fresh grated nutmeg

Combine first four ingredients; stir and grate fresh nutmeg on top. Enjoy!

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If you are ready to find out for yourself what it's like to sail a 35-50' boat, receive meaningful sailing lessons, and get a taste of the sea then check out an excellent resource: Blue Water Sailing School. All sailing lessons lead to ASA certification and are taught by experienced instructors who are licensed by the U.S. Coast Guard (Captain's license).