Catering Onboard and Underway

As this was my first trip across the ocean I did not know what to expect or how easy or difficult it would be to keep us all sustained for the 15-20 days at sea. And of course this was the first issue, just how many days to provision for?

The galley on Ocean Blue is compact compared to most houses but for a yacht it is a good size with a front opening fridge and a top opening freezer.

Ocean Blue’s Galley

It is good that you are able to open the fridge easily on either tack and that the contents don’t come out to greet you as you open the door. I invested in some clear plastic drawers to make storage and selection easier e.g. One contains cheese another cold meats etc so for lunch you could just grab one and some wraps or pitta bread and put it on the table for everyone to help themselves.

The ARC had a list of supermarkets and many of them delivered your shopping to the dockside. They also provide contacts and ordering forms for a butcher and fruit/vegetable shops. If I was doing the passage again I would not order the fruit and veg from the recommended supplier. We had anywhere from one and a quarter to three times the quantities (and cost) we ordered of every item and it was of poor quality compared to the supermarkets. We did negotiate a discount but they were not interested in taking the produce back. Consequently we had to throw overboard a lot of the fruit as it was already ripe before we left.

We did a reconnaissance visit to the Court Anglais to see what was on offer. This had a very good selection but I didn’t find anyone to discuss the delivery options with. The market had a a great selection of fresh fruit, veg, cheeses, eggs and meats. I took the opportunity to get some meat at this stage as I wanted to test the quality and start some preparation. It was a very good quality and I would recommend J P Rosper butchers in the market. I personally liked the Hiperdino supermarket which was very well organised for deliveries to the boat and had a good selection.

I started on food prep for the Atlantic whilst we were in the marina in Las Palmas. Definitely a good option to pre cook and freeze meals ready for the journey. All the mince dishes were pre prepared. E.g. lasagne, chilli and cottage pie.

Bags of flour and dried ingredients for bread were weighed out ready for the bread maker.

Fresh Bread from the Breadmaker

Different flavoured butters in anticipation of Derek catching fish enroute.

I was starting to feel like a domestic goddess in the kitchen, however it could go horribly wrong in a Bridget Jones sort of way! My children and friends can attest to my usual lack of skill and flair in the kitchen due mostly to a lack of time it now seems.

I planned the menus to alternate between beef, chicken, pork and pasta dishes and then calculated the quantities of the ingredients needed. The ARC information book and seminars were helpful and suggested 125g of meat per person and this was about right. We also found we ate less as the temperature increased.

When we were able to, we prepared fresh meals as this also helped to fill our time on board and provided more variety.

Pre cooking definitely meant I didn’t feel like my life was spent in the galley and everyone could get a meal ready even if they couldn’t cook.

With hindsight the richer casserole meals were great but not what we fancied in hot weather. We only caught a Wahoo, and that was cooked and eaten straight away. You can’t rely on fish as we were fishing most days and only caught the one fish. You also need to consider what you would do if the fridge and freezer decided to stop working and the contents are no longer edible. We bought a Serrano ham and stand to store it on.

Serrano Ham

This was a high initial expense but we continued to use it well after the ocean passage had finished and considered it a fantastic and fun investment. Together with pasta and tinned veg we would not have starved.

When we got to Antigua our fridge did stop working and needed re gassing. This was over the Christmas period when it was fully loaded and no one was working. We were lucky and could transfer the contents to a fridge in a villa that we had access to.

Broken fridge, but Ice saves the day

We were also able to get lots of ice and prioritise the produce that we needed to use regularly!

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