Keeping your crew well fed and watered on a sailing trip needn’t be a nightmare. With some forward planning, you’ll be sorted with a healthy breakfast buffet, and whipping up light lunches and tasty dinners in no time. We have written a helpful guide to make sure you have all bases covered and thrown in a cheat sheet to make it even easier. Follow these tips and you’ll be lounging around the sundeck, reefing in the sails and swimming in secluded coves without stressing about supplies.
Keep it Simple
The boat galley “kitchen” is much smaller (so is the fridge!) and not as well equipped as the one at home, so the key is definitely to keep things simple but tasty. Think cold platters, salads, pasta salads, sandwiches and snacks. If you are cruising around the Greek islands check out our onboard recipes for some excellent ideas.
Think about your crew and where you will be sailing. How remote will it be? Are there kids or hungry teens on board? Will there be places to top up along the way? Most harbours and marinas have supermarkets and grocery stores where you can pick up extras and fresh produce as you go.
Another important factor is how many meals you’ll have on board and how many out? Usually, a good plan is to eat breakfast and lunch on board and eat out in the evening in the port or marina. Sampling the local food in the seaside restaurants is one of the best parts of a sailing holiday. However, you may have planned an overnight stay in a more remote area, which means dinner will need to be cooked, so you should have provisions for at least 3 dinners on board.
Also find out if anyone has special dietary requirement and if there are any vegetarian or vegan friends on board.
One way to do it is to let your charter company do it for you. Most charter companies have a provisioning service that you can use. Check with your yacht charter company when you book your charter boat and find out what kind of provisioning they do. It’s usually “full” or “partial” and you will get a list of what was provided. Check if it includes drinks too.
Make a List
Sounds obvious, but its key to remembering everything – or just print out our – we have done all the work for you!
Shop a little at a time, and often, instead of trying to get a whole weeks’ worth of shopping done before you leave port, especially for the fresh produce. Your provisions will fit better in the small refrigerators and your food will stay fresh. Anyway, shopping in local bakeries, markets, and shops is fun – and you’ll get to try out the local cheese, cold cuts, bread and pastries, and other delights.
Kids and those who like to snack
Fruit is always an easy and healthy snack between meals. In the summer, nothing beats a watermelon which can go far. If there is no fridge space, you can leave it in the water in a netted bag off the boat until it’s time to dig in. A really good idea is to have a “snack box” with the day’s snacks in it. The crew can help themselves for the day until the snacks have run out. It’s an excellent way to make sure you don’t run out of snacks on day 1 of your trip! Stock up on biscuits, crisps and chocolate, dried fruit, and rice cakes for the box. Don’t forget the snacks for sundowners! Assorted crackers and cheeses, olive paste and pesto, grapes, dates and figs are great accompaniments for drinks on the deck.
Quick guide to meal planning
Here is a quick guide. Our cheat sheet goes into more detail.
Breakfasts– buffet style breakfasts are the easiest. Cereals, yoghurt, fruit, bread, jams and marmalades, coffee and tea can all be laid out for the crew to help themselves. Pancakes for a special treat and left over bread can be used to make French toast.
Lunches – sandwiches, salads, wraps, and finger food are easy to prepare while traveling, or moored in a small bay which may not be as sheltered as the harbors and marinas.
Dinners – best option is to eat out and enjoy the local tastes, wine, and specialties. Have some back up meals planned, just in case you are miles from the nearest shop and your crew is getting peckish. If there is a BBQ on board, you can grill up some fish, steak or kebabs and vegetables. Serve with salads and bread. Alternatively a tasty pasta, couscous or risottos are all quick and easy.
Drinks – remember things like coffee and tea; Make a list of sodas, juices, water, beer, wine and spirits that your crew prefers. Plan at least 2 litres of water per person per day. Locally produced beers and wine are great to try and will be more affordable. Both Greece and Croatia have an excellent variety of wine and beer.
Ice – ice can usually be found on route at harbours and ports. Keep those drinks chilled for the sunset!
Condiments – remember to get salt and pepper, oil and vinegar, butter, herbs, and spices.
Extras – cleaning and paper products should be stocked up on too.
With your boat well-stocked, you’ll be ready for your sailing adventures and won’t run out of supplies.
By Merryn Wainwright