One of the questions I am often asked is about food while we are sailing. How do we have meals while we are on trips when we are sailing several days to get to a destination without stopping? This is a good question because I can see the wheels turning in their minds. How do we cook when the boat is at an angle or rolling from side to side and things are sliding around? The answer depends on the weather. As well as a lot of trial and error over many years of sailing.
I like to use the example of a mechanical bucking bull. I am sure some of you remember them from back in the 80’s or saw films with mechanical bulls in them. The mechanical bull bucks and tries to send the rider off onto the floor. The floor is cover in padding of some sort. Let’s just say our bull has a speed control of slow, medium, fast and really, really fast (rough).
When the weather is nice, the winds are from a good direction for smooth sailing, the waves are low to medium in height, life is good. We can move around the boat keeping one hand free in case we need to hold on for any unexpected movement like a rogue wave or the wake from another boat. Basically, we can walk and move around without any difficulty. I can stand below comfortably and make a simple meal either on the stove, use the microwave or maybe just make something quick and easy. Everything is just peachy. The bull is on slow speed and life is nice. “Look Mom! No hands!”
The stove has gimbals that allow it to move with the boat while sailing. It also has metal holders to hold pots in place over the propane flame. It is not too difficult to cook if we want to make a hot meal. We have cups that have a low center of gravity so they do not spill and they have non-skid bottoms so they don’t slide around. The cups are insulated which for me is wonderful because I am a person who likes ice in my drinks. Since ice on our boat is a luxury I can have my ice cold drink and drink it too. The cups are great for soups as well.
Medium speed would be rougher seas or stronger winds so maybe just a quick, easy meal. Maybe forget the stove, maybe not depending on the conditions of the weather. We can move around the boat but now we need to be sure to hold on to something stable as we move. Life is still good.
The fast bucking bull means anytime we need to move around we need to hold onto something at all times or wedge ourselves into something so we don’t fall over. This would mean higher waves and stronger winds where the boat is heeling over almost continuously. Or maybe we are experiencing choppy seas where the movement of the boat is hard to anticipate. The bull might move left and then do a quick right and kick up at the tail but not the same move twice just to keep us on our toes or try to knock me off my toes, however you want to see it. This type weather takes planning. Generally we just graze on small, easy to make snacks or meals. I make things ahead of time that I can grab easily and quickly and get back on deck. This is also the time when I can get sea sick so I spend as little time below deck as I can. A friend of mine packs an ice chest so she does not have to go below during rough weather. Smart lady!
I will generally prep the meals and snacks ahead of time while in dock or before the weather changes if we are already out of port sailing. The meals for rougher weather are things like trail mix, a lot of choices of nuts, nutrition bars, hummus, cut up raw veggies, cut up fresh fruit, things you can stuff into pita bread and the like. Things that I’ve already prepared and take little time to grab and pass up top to Mark.
It has been many years since we’ve been in “really, really rough” weather because we have better technology to get better weather forecasts. In order not to tempt Mother Nature I will insert here that we never plan to be in that type weather….but things do happen.
For the most part we try to pick weather windows that will allow us the smoothest sailing for the largest part of our trips. There are times when there will be rougher weather at some point in the trip but we try to pick the best time to leave to avoid as much rough weather as possible. It is important to keep our energy up and wits about us while we are sailing. For this reason we try to eat, sleep and be comfortable along the way. If part of the adventure is just getting there then we would like it to be fun and comfortable. If it turns out not to be fun at least we can be prepared and be safe.
We both love to cook so after we are anchored, moored or docked in our new port we break out the “good stuff” and cook a nice meal. We open a bottle of wine and celebrate another trip completed. The ride is over. Please exit to the left. Thanks for visiting!