Sailing with Charlie: September Supplies

Graphics by Anouk Sylvestre
Graphics by Anouk Sylvestre

So you’ve decided to quit the rat race. You’ve found the perfect boat, good rig, sails, engine, instruments and ground tackle. You’re almost ready to depart for that first exciting voyage but you have no idea how to provision the boat. Neither does your partner, who is a ‘take-out’ fanatic.

Charlie has a few words of helpful advice. If you have a fridge, don’t rely on it. In the tropical latitudes some of the most nutritious foods are root vegetables – and they last for weeks. Yams, sweet potatoes, cassava, yuca (no not yucky, but delicious if cooked properly) and tannia. There are others too. Squash with a hard skin, like pumpkin and butternut squash will last for ages. Some roots like cassava can be waxed to prolong their shelf life.

Eggs are great protein and provide much needed cholesterol – these can be varnished to prevent air getting in and will last for many weeks. Fish and meats can be sliced thin, soaked in vinegar and spices and hung up in the rigging on a sunny day to dry out, rather like biltong, which you can buy ready-made 

Onions, carrots and garlic will last for weeks too if you pick the right ones, hang them in a hammock and make sure they can’t bang into anything when swinging. Rotate them once in a while too, of course. 

Citrus fruit lasts a long time especially that vitamin C essential, limes… right limeys? Bananas and plantains keep well if picked green. Vitamin C, the cure for scurvy, was found to be abundant in cabbage by world famous navigator/explorer Captain James Cook. Buy jars of it at the grocery store or if you have time make it yourself – it’s easy. Dried fruit, nuts and granola bars should be stored aplenty. 

Cans and jars are always necessary. Beans of all kinds are a great source of protein as well as canned tuna, sardines, and salmon. A couple of gallons of olive oil, vinegar and other spices and condiments. Charlie always stocks up with a couple of cases of wine- ahem- mostly for cooking of course – I think it was a French gastronome who said, ‘A meal without wine is like a day without sunshine.’ Don’t forget a few gallons of water for emergencies.

Now all you have to do is prepare a menu for a week and rotate it if your voyage is likely to take a month. It’s amazing how many charter boat visitors don’t have a clue on provisioning – even for a week. If they allow for three dinners out and a continental type breakfast daily – it should be a cake walk (pun not to be taken seriously!).

BTW, fishing equipment should be carefully considered. A 15lb tuna will really add to your larder; cook it immediately and it will keep for several days and is good hot or cold.  

When all is said and done, more is said than done!

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