Provisioning, you either love it or hate it. It’s still got to be done. Some of us think it’s kind of fun, actually, it’s a lot of fun. Cuba 2001 proved to be quite a provisioning challenge as we were uncertain what or if we could buy. The assumption was that we had to be 100% totally self-reliant as to provisions. So how much pasta do 2 people need for 4 months? The answer, a whole lot.

If you’re planning a long voyage start thinking about provisioning about 3 or 4 months before. Keep a binder of stuff you use. Write down everything you use each day in your binder. After about a month, you’ll have a good idea of how long a tube of toothpaste lasts and how many meals a pound of pasta makes.

There’s several ways of provisioning. One is that you plan out every meal you’ll have on the voyage. Fine for a weekend, but way too much work if it’s a long voyage. Hey if this works for you go for it. I like something with more flexibility. So I think about roughly how many meals I’ll make and what kind of stuff we’ll want. Then I wing it.

When you’re provisioning, think about your social life and where you’re cruising. If you’re in deserted anchorages all the time, this means you’re eating all your meals onboard. If you’re in a busy area and you like getting together with others to share stories (after all, isn’t that part of the whole experience?), you should count on lots of shared meals. Lots of cruisers usually means pot-lucks.

And VERY important, take lots of stuff for cocktail snacks. When there’s a bunch of you for sundowners at night, you need dips and little snackies. Try and be a bit creative, the tuna dip wears thin after awhile. Check the Galley sections for ideas.

Forbidden Planet is challenged in that we have no refrigeration. This means no packing 20 kilos of frozen pork chops to tide us over. You get to love beans and rice.

Cheese. We love cheese and it’s a great source of protein. Look for gouda or edam that’s sealed in wax. They come in convenient packs about the size of a hockey puck which means cheese sandwiches for lunch and cheese and crackers for cocktail hour. The other cheese we pack is parmesan regianno (not the powdered stuff). In a vacuum sealed bag, this dry cheese will last for 6 months without refrigeration. It’s a very elegant cocktail snack and a little goes a long way.

Eggs. Contrary to the North American notion that they’re only good for a few days, eggs will last months without refrigeration. They last longer if you can get them straight from the farm. As they age, the shells get thinner and oxygen leaks into the egg. This will thin the white. Older eggs won’t beat up as well, so don’t plan on making any souffles later in the voyage.

Meat: Dry sausage such as mexican chorizo is great. No refrigeration and just a touch will really perk up a pasta sauce. It’s also great for cocktail snacks.

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