Provisioning for an Extended Period is Essential

Graphics by Anouk Sylvestre
Graphics by Anouk Sylvestre
Graphics by Anouk Sylvestre
Graphics by Anouk Sylvestre

If there’s one thing the Covid-19 has taught us is that provisioning for an extended period is essential – and still folks are flummoxed. Why? Because they’re not sailors. Long time cruisers have often been provisioning for a month or two and have it down pat.  It shouldn’t be difficult to prepare a three meal-a-day menu for a week, double it for two weeks, write a list of all the ingredients and go shopping. 

What to buy?

You need protein, carbs, fruit and veg and supplemental vitamins. It was Captain Cook who realized that pickled cabbage prevented scurvy; that terrible disease causing a living body to slowly decay, gums to rot, teeth to fall out; the scourge of sailors in those days. Jars of pickles and bottles of lime juice are substitute ascorbics with essential vitamin C.  Charlie stocks up with beans – lots of varieties: garbonzos, back eyed peas, white beans, black beans (and a can of air freshener). For protein stock up with a case or two of canned tuna and corned beef. Stow a couple of gallons of olive oil and vegetable oil too… the list goes on. 

Don’t waste food – be conservative.

If you’re locked down and not moving around your body doesn’t need so much. If you drop a food item on the cabin sole or deck remember the five second rule; if you pick it up within five seconds it’s safe. To help the economy Trump just extended the rule to ten seconds!

Liquids are important.

Charlie would often sail long passages with several cases of wine stored in the bilge – it’s a cool place and the motion of the ocean keeps it moving and in perfect condition. Charlie knows of the benefits of wine; it’s an antioxidant, promotes a healthy heart and is a libido enhancer. When you find a good bottle at a reasonable price buy plenty. Charlie bought ten cases of Pinotage in South Africa; they invented it and it has become one of the world’s most loved reds. It is full bodied and well rounded! Libido enhancer? Need I say more…

If you’re locked down on your boat and fresh water is limited use sea water.

Wash yourself with sea water, clothes, dishes and general cleaning, all with sea water. Joy dishwashing liquid lathers well with sea water and is a good surrogate shampoo. You can boil vegetables in sea water (don’t add more salt). Roots and tubers do well in sea water too.

Running out of water is always a concern for long-distance voyagers but take a look at famous French adventurer Alain Bombard. What an inspiration. He was a controversial figure but his claim to fame was that he voyaged across the Atlantic from Tangier to Barbados in a 15-ft inflatable dinghy with no food or water. He strained the sea for plankton and drank very small amounts of sea water continually, sometimes diluting it with fish juices. Whatever your hardships are with this Coronavirus they pale against the likes of this crazy Frenchman… And the famous quote to give us hope is ‘This too shall pass.’

Julian_Putley
Julian Putley is the author of ‘The Drinking Man’s Guide to the BVI’, ‘Sunfun Calypso’, and ‘Sunfun Gospel’.