This section will provide some helpful storage tips
for provisions and general information on how we deal with a variety of
problems regarding food and storage. It is
not intended to cover all elements of Provisioning as that subject has been
sufficiently covered by many other sources. Please
check the Recommended
Sources category below for those we recommend on the
broad subject of Provisioning.
Layout on Long Passages
As you can see from the picture at right, Long Passages has a
typical U-shaped galley with the icebox on the right in the picture and the
sinks on the left. Behind the stove and icebox are several lockers for
storage of dishes, glassware and provisions. The counter surface is a Corian-like
material installed in Singapore. To read about this project, see Galley
on the Boat Changes page.
Dry Storage -
Our lockers have sliding doors with one shelf on which to place
provisions. One problem, of course, is when a door is slid open, items
tend to shift and/or fall out, especially if we are on a starboard tack. Here
are some ideas that we used to organize and increase our storage of
- Ouch! That fell on my toe! -
such as cans, jars
and packets in high, clear plastic containers that fit snugly into
the locker or on the shelf. These containers hold the items in place
and allow you to see what's there. To get something out, just slide
out the container, take out the item and then slide it back in place.
We do lose some storage space, but it is worth the small loss
to avoid unidentified flying objects in the galley.
- Rubic's Cube - Also
use round plastic containers to store things as well. It's sort of
like a puzzle, you will have to experiment with several types of containers
to get the best fit for your storage area.
That sound is driving me crazy!! -
stop "clinking" of items in the lockers and protect real
glass items such as wine glasses, teacups and coffee mugs is to place
them in soft, rubber insulated containers ("coolie"
cups). If the handle won't fit, cut a small slit on one side for
it. This also solves the problem of where to store the
Where's the coffee? - The galley
lockers are used to store those items that I use frequently, such as coffee,
tea, spices, peanut butter, sugar, rice, pasta, popcorn and cans of
tuna. Before we start a passage, I move the things that we will
require on the passage from the long-term storage areas (under and behind
the settees) to the galley lockers, thereby, making them a lot easier to get
Like many cruisers, Long Passages has a small icebox to chill drinks,
vegetables, meats, condiments, etc. It is just an open box with an opening
in the counter top. An Adler Barber Cold Machine unit with a small
"freezer" compartment is used to chill the rest of the box.
- Avalanche effect - When someone pulled out a soda or
carton of milk, the rest of the items in the box collapsed, filling up the
space and making it difficult to return items to the box
- Bottom fishing - Whatever I wanted was always on the
bottom and that meant I had to move or take out several things to get to the
one thing that I wanted. A nuisance when stationary, but is a real
"pain" when you're underway.
- Frozen goods - Finally, whatever we placed next to
the freezer box, including sodas, milk, vegetables and the like froze solid.
- Segregate freezer - We created an insulator of 1
inch thick styrofoam sheet. This was cut to size, covered
with plastic and placed alongside of the freezer box to enable us to place
things next to the freezer without them freezing.
- Containerize - Again, I used a variety of plastic
containers which fit together in the box to hold the contents.
Now, I can select one item out of the icebox without everything else moving
into the empty spot. Also, the containers are placed one on top of the
other, so if I have to get to something on the bottom, I just lift the upper
container up or take it out completely to get to that item.
- Partition icebox - Lastly, we used a sheet of
stiff plastic grating, cut to size, fitted into slots built onto the 2
walls, to partition off the icebox. This allowed us to separate the
interior of the box from the part next to the hull. I can then stack
cans of sodas, and many other things that I know do not need to be ice cold
in that section and know that these things will not fall into the middle of
- I have found that the following organization in the icebox
works best for us in the tropics.
- Ice and meat in freezer unit - Since we do not have
a separate freezer on LP, we use the small freezer unit in the icebox to
freeze meats. Sadly, it is not cold enough to store ice cream. A
small plastic basket is placed on top of the freezer unit. This helps
to keep the cold air in when the lid is opened and I usually place a few
cans of beer there to get them really cold.
- Veggie crisper - We place fresh vegetables such as
lettuce, broccoli, green peppers, tomatoes in a plastic container at the
bottom of the middle section of the box. I find that they keep much
longer there. Also containers of milk, juice and maybe a bottle of
wine are placed along side that box
- Container to hold small items - Next, in a container
that sort of rests on the one below it (or on top the items inside the
bottom container), I place small items such as condiments, cheese, small
cartons of milk,
- Cool items along the hull - On the hull side of the
grating, we have 2 containers of film, sodas, beer and other things that do
not have to be ice-cold. These things can be stacked up as high as the
grating without fear that they will spill over into the rest of the icebox.
Since we have used this system of partitioning and layering,
we have doubled the useable space in our icebox and made it much easier to get
In our continuing quest to make the boat safer at sea, we modified the icebox
lid and side-wall and installed a turning-lock lift handle - the kind that is
usually used to lock cabin sole boards in place. When the lid is closed
and the handle of the lock is down, the lid cannot come open, even if we
"turn-turtle." To open the lid, simply raise the handle, turn it
to the side and lift.
Weevils in Food
- There are several ways of preventing weevils in pasta,
rice and flour products. Some people swear by placing bay leaves in
the food item, others microwave them, if possible. My method is easy and
has not failed me in 10 years of cruising. I freeze the item (for
24 hours, if possible). If there are any weevil eggs in the item, the freezing
will kill them, so they will not hatch. Since my freezer is small I use a
variety of techniques to do this.
- If the item is small, say a bag of rice, I just put it in
our freezer unit overnight.
- If we are in a marina with a restaurant, I ask the
restaurant manager if I can place my grocery items in their large freezer
overnight. I have never been refused.
- Once when we were moored off of Club Nautico in Cartegena,
Columbia, I placed my pasta, rice and flour items in a plastic bag in their
Ice Cream vending machine (with Norm's permission, of course).
Remove the items from the freezer, let them "thaw"
for 24 hours and then decant into an air-tight plastic container or Zip Loc bag.
- The section below lists some miscellaneous tips that we
have found useful for food storage and preparation.
- Wrap citrus fruit in aluminum foil to prolong
- Do NOT store apples and bananas together as the
gases in apples will hasten the ripening of the bananas
- Do NOT store potatoes and onions together as the
onions will cause the potatoes to rot.
- This next tip, I have found invaluable. Since I am
not really keen to bake bread, especially in the tropics, I keep several
packages of unrefrigerated Tortillas on board. When we are out of
bread, I use them just as I would bread for sandwiches (I just warm them in
a frying pan, first). If you have eggs, you can make Huevos
Rancheros for breakfast and serve on the tortillas. I also make yummy cheese
and jalepeno quesadillas for lunch. The tortillas can usually be found
in most supermarkets, especially in New Zealand, Australia and even
Singapore. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for Thailand. I usually use
the El Paso brand, when I can find them. Please be sure to check the
expiration dates and try to pick those that have the longest shelf life.
Sources for More Information
- The Voyager's Handbook -The Essential Guide to Blue
Water Cruising - by Beth Leonard
- Managing Your Bluewater Cruise - by Rory Burke and
- Care and Feeding of the Offshore Crew - by Lin