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fgrennie
fgrennie
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Tips on provisioning a boat without a Freezer for a long passage

The following in based on my own experience of crossing the Atlantic in a 31’ yacht with no freezer and a very small fridge.

Before you even start to provision your boat sit down and make out a set of menu’s to include Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. I made one out for 4 weeks, we had expected to make the journey in 3 weeks but because of very light winds it took us a full 4 weeks to complete the journey, so always bear this in mind when planning.

After I had made up the menus I then went through every meal and listed the items required on an excel spreadsheet. Once completed just click on the sort button to list all the items alphabetically. When you have done this you will see exactly the amounts that you will require for a month or the length of your trip.

Most importantly the first week’s menu contained fresh meat. Fresh Meat will keep in the fridge for 3 days and once cooked it will keep for another 3 days. For example when you buy minced/ground beef if you make hamburgers the first day cook the rest of the meat at the same time and store in plastic containers in the fridge, this can then make a cottage pie and from the other container you can make chilli. It is well worth the effort to take your time over planning meals. You do not have to stick to the menu but at least you will know you have enough provisions on board for all the meals.

Another worthwhile job before you start your voyage is to think about plastic containers for the fridge. Stackable containers were the best easy to store when not in use and take up less space. I played about with different sizes and shapes to find out how many I could get in the fridge.

When provisioning don’t forget the little things that make a long trip enjoyable such as snacks, like biscuits, packets of cup a soup (which comes in really handy if you have a rough patch of weather and unable to cook), sweets & crisps. Take into consideration the person on night watch, mine was 3am to 7am and I was always hungry round about 5am so would re-heat anything that was leftover from dinner or have a mug of soup.

Liquids - Milk, UHT is best but once opened I found that it would only last a day before going off, so it is best to always take some powdered milk with you.

Wine buy cartons, easy to store and will not make a noise like bottles rattling. As long as it is palatable you can always buy a good wine when you reach landfall.

Cartons of fruit juice are better on a boat than bottles, again less noise and the cartons squash flat when finished.

Spirits, for a long trip if you are taking spirits I would decant them into plastic bottles, you can always recycle the bottles once you reach your destination.
fgrennie
fgrennie
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Eggs   Plastic egg boxes, with a hole in each egg space to reduce condensation, make ideal egg keepers and the eggs will keep for 6 weeks if you remember to turn the boxes every week and have not refrigerated the eggs beforehand.

Margarine   Keeps well in a cool place, ones made with olive oil will keep even longer and as a treat get some tins of butter if you can find them. I found some in the supermarket in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria.

Bacon   Store in a flat plastic container. Put a layer of salt on the bottom, then a layer the bacon and so on until the box is full. Store in a cool place and it will keep for weeks. Rinse bacon before using.

Cheese   Store in a container with a little sugar in the bottom to keep mould at bay, however, cheese mould can be scrapped off and the cheese still eaten.

Salami and other hard sausages will last for ages without refrigeration if left in their skin casings. Just peel back, remove some and fold skin over again.

Bay Leaves added to containers of flour and grain and other rice and cereals keeps the bugs at bay.
fgrennie
fgrennie
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Recycling
Plastic
Water bottles - This is a personal view and others may disagree but why the need to buy bottle water. With a lot of people this may be a matter of taste or on a boat you may think it is a healthy option rather than drinking from a local source.
Studies have shown that reusing the same plastic bottle is dangerous as after a while chemicals start to leach out of the plastic.
So with this in mind I thought about what is the alternative. Nowadays you can purchase a personal water bottle with a built in water filter. If you are still worried about germs, do what I do boil the water first then fill your water bottle. It is also a good idea to fit a good water filter system between your tank and tap.

Other Plastics – It is better to rinse out the container then cut it into pieces. It makes it easier to store while you are at sea. When you reach land you can then dispose of it providing that country has the means of doing this responsibly.

Plastic Carrier Bags - Most countries now charge you for plastic carrier bags or have banned them. Canvas or string bags are a better alternative and I have found that a canvas bag is good for storing vegetables on board. If you have to use plastic bags then reuse them or better still use them for storing other used plastic containers, then when you reach land you can dispose of them all together.
fgrennie
fgrennie
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Recycling
Cans and Bottles
Invest in a small handheld can crusher. It is worth its weight in gold for reducing the size of waste for disposal. Always wash the cans out first either in sea water or after you have finished washing your dishes.

The same goes for bottles and jars always rinse them after use as this helps to eliminate odours. While coastal sailing I always wait until we reach land before disposing them but while out at deep sea I tend to toss them overboard, after I have filled them with sea water to help them sink, which I know is not the right thing to do but on a long voyage the noise of rattling bottles really gets to you and you have to do something.
fgrennie
fgrennie
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Cardboard and Paper
I had heard so many horror stories about bugs emerging from cardboard that I tend to discard all cardboard packaging before leaving port. Food contents such as cereals are always in a plastic bag inside a cardboard container if not decant the contents into a reusable plastic container. The only solution that I have not found yet is cases of beer. On my first long trip I got rid of the cardboard container and put the cans in a locker beneath a bunk in the fore cabin. A word of warning the constant motion of the boat wore the cans and the beer seeped out and down into the bilge along with the spare water we kept in large water bottles.

Any paper and cardboard waste should be cut up and kept until you reach shore.
fgrennie
fgrennie
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Recycling

Food Waste
When offshore I tend to toss any food waste overboard, it becomes food for birds and fishes. If you are within 12 NM of land you have to keep it and dispose of it ashore. I bought a roll of biodegradable plastic bags for this purpose.
Simon Currin
Simon Currin
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Powdered milk never tastes great in coffee and as you say opened UHT does 't last. We solved the problem by buying a catering pack of those milks and creams that come with your coffee when you order an Americano in a cafe. They taste great and last for ages. More used plastic to store though!
fgrennie
fgrennie
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Tips on provisioning with a Freezer

The general rule is meat, fish, bacon on the bottom with frozen vegetables on top and followed by frozen bread, pitta and pizzas on top.

A freezer works best if almost completely full, lots of empty space is inefficient bit you don’t want to pack it completely solid.
It is better to remove all outer packaging and store in square plastic containers or Ziploc bags.

Use recyclable carrier bags and load them with similar items. When you want to hunt for something in the freezer you can quickly pull out the bags – locate what you want and put them back in – in seconds. They will not stick to each other and when you reach land you can always use the carrier bags to do more grocery shopping.
fgrennie
fgrennie
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Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Storage

Bananas - Buy when still green and keep in a cool dark plac and only bring out what you need to ripen.

Apples, Oranges, Grapefruit, Tangerines, Pomegranates - you can either wrap them individually in paper towel and store loosely or better still use old tights, pop one item in the leg and then knot then add the next and knot and so on.

Carrots - buy long thin ones with the soil still on them and store in a cool dark place. Check daily and use suspect ones first.

Cabbage - Hard dense ones keep well. Peel leaves off stalk as you need them and will keep for 2-3 weeks.

Lemons and Limes - Buy them firm then thread strong twine through the nipples and hang them up as if on a washing line.

Onions, Potatoes, Tomatoes - Again if wrapped lightly so they don 't touch and kept in a cool dark place will keep for quite a while. Once again old tights make good containers but keep them separated by tying a knot between each item.

Peppers - Store in a plastic bag in the fridge. Green peppers usually stay fresher longer than orange or red. Or before you leave freeze them by slicing or chopping them and freeze on a flat tray then transfer them to an airtight container or heavy duty freezer bag.

Keeping fruit & veg in tights - Depending on the number of crew aboard I tend to put them in small groups so that I can hang some in the galley where they are easily accessible, not a very pretty sight but when you are on a long voyage who else is going to see them.
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