Planning a yacht delivery

I thought I’d share the food part of a yacht delivery in some more detail than I have before, unless I forget.

I keep notes that are now about eighty pages of different numbers of people for different projected lengths of time. This trip will be Annapolis MD to St Thomas USVI. These are working documents and are not glamorous. Here are two pages of the notes for this trip.

Still work in progress. I have a crew confirmed and the call has gone out for allergies, likes, dislikes, etc. Waiting for those to come in.

In the document the organization is dinner entrees, other things for lunches, and a breakfast plan. There are way too many meals on there and that will be trimmed down as feedback comes in from crew. I don’t necessarily have all the ingredients for the meals and I don’t necessarily have a meal for all the ingredients. The planning document will never be perfect because I will be buying stuff for some of the cook ahead entrees. Some of the cook ahead (lasagna, pasta sauce) are already done so the ingredients won’t ever make it to the shopping list.

What I plan to do in this thread is update the link periodically and share the thinking process. Input is really truly welcome.

The ground rules are based on physics and reality. When we leave the dock on 1 Nov we have no chance to shop again until we reach USVI. I have four small burners and a small oven. Not great cookware. Some more is coming but I haven’t seen it yet. I’m bringing my stick blender and a good knife. I have a ton of disposable casseroles in stock at home and will bring 8x8s and 9x13s.

I hope this process provides some entertainment to the HO community. If someone has ideas I’m certainly open to them. I’ve been doing this for twenty years but there is always more to learn. I’m certainly a better cook than I used to be. Life is a learning experience and when we stop learning we are dead.

As we have done before I’ll share my satellite tracker address so y’all can follow along. I’m inviting you in to see more of the detail of feeding people at sea. As you may have come to expect from me there will be stories to personalize the experience. The teaser here is the Grandma Linahan story.


This is really interesting - I look forward to following along on your adventure! My first thought after looking at your list was “how much storage space and fridge space is there, and how good is he at Tetris?” :wink:


Looking forward to following you!! How do you get home??

Very good questions. There is a freezer about the size of a bar/dorm fridge and two fridge drawers about the size in total of two bar/dorm fridges. It’s actually a fair amount of space for a boat. Two small cabinets for pantry. I frequently have “deep pantry” in my bunk.

The meal plan gets sequenced and from that the ingredients. Freezer, fridge, and pantry get layered so we don’t have to root around, although sometimes the sequencing changes due to weather and inclination.

I also have a snack bag, literally a big canvas tote, accessible to crew. People eat from boredom as much as hunger. The snack bag keeps them out of the fridge. I’ll try to take pictures when I’m on the boat tomorrow.

Flying home from St Thomas. This will be my first flight since January. I’ve been moving myself and crews around in one-way car rentals. I’m a little nervous but reporting is that airlines are being very rigorous with passengers about mask requirements. I suspect they have learned from the cruise ship debacles and don’t want to risk that reputation.


Wow!! Now that’s a list. How many people will you be feeding? How many days is the trip? You have people up 24 hours a day so I imagine you’re actually planning more than 3 meals a day.

Thank you for sharing your trips. I find them so fascinating. I think they are the only way I’ll be traveling for a while.

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All good questions. People and time is in the upper left corner. Five people, twelve days. I feed people the day before we leave and the day after arrival and have enough to feed people for a few extra days in case of weather or boat failure.

Watches are 12-4, 4-8, and 8-12. Breakfast at 8, lunch at 12, and dinner at 6. Late meal, conventionally called “midnights,” is self serve. That’s mostly from the snack bag but may be leftovers as well. Could be sandwiches early in the trip before the makings start to go.

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Duh! I skipped right down to the lists and didn’t notice the head/day counts, nor the special instructions.

I used to use a menu and shopping program that let me create recipes, scale them as needed, which then fed into a consolidated shopping list. That was a long time ago and I haven’t found anything that works quite as well. Your list is amazing.

I’ve been through a lot of apps. The best app is the one between your ears.

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Cool stuff!! Personally while I will be checking in on this, I would love more details about the vessel you are delivering. Can you share any information on it, if not of the specific yacht then a similar one.

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Your organizational skills are impressive! The crew sailing with you is fortunate and I bet if they’ve sailed with others they see a big difference.
I was in charge of provisioning (over 4 decades ago) and tho there was plenty to eat (esp chocolate) to the destination it was slapdash compared with your preps! Are you the skipper and the cook?


This is the model . When you get down to layouts, this boat has the “owner’s version” in the port hull with a big master and a guest and the “charter version” in the starboard hull with two guests and a crew cabin. The crew cabin will be used for storage and pantry. I’ll be starboard aft under the steering position (“wheel” or “helm”) so I can hear better.

The current name is Mangata. The new owners are renaming her Singing Winds.

I am skipper. Three crew: Joyce, Scott (owner), and Steve. Steve’s wife Linda is coming along and I expect to press her into service as purser and inventory manager. I expect to do most of the cooking and little of the clean up. grin I remember @Elsieb telling me you cruised. Your words are kind. Provisioning is a big job. I do take pride in feeding crews well.

I’m focused on food for HO but questions about the boat and sailing are certainly welcome and I’ll answer as best I can. Certainly lots of stories to tell.

Same satellite tracking link as previous trips I’ve shared. I’ll post that again closer to departure.

Some years ago I had a crew member eat two pounds of chocolate in one four hour watch. Ever since I hide the chocolate and meter it into the snack bag slowly. grin

Not yet done but coming is to narrow down the meal plan and get the ingredients complete. One key is to avoid planning a meal that uses a unique ingredient. Budget buster. Still waiting for food input from crew. My bid budget is $16.50/person/day. I usually hit somewhere between $14 and $15/person/day.

Lasagna is already made and frozen. Pasta sauce is made and canned. A few other things will be made over the next couple of weeks, mostly vacuum sealed and frozen. Lots of things really need to be made on the fly (chicken and rice for example, or shrimp stir fry).

Thank you very much. I’m not a sailor (grew up on/around power boats) so I have very little knowledge of them and even less for catamarans. Looking at the link you sent me though it’s got a 26’ beam for a 50’ overall length. More than half the length in beam? The layout is 4 double births and 4 heads? That’s HUGE for a 50’ boat. You pretty much have 2 10 foot hulls with a 5-6 foot gap, wow that’s a great layout.

With 2 measly 75hp (upgraded) engines she is made for sailing, that’s how I assume your plan on getting there. I’ve gotta start paying more attention to Catamarans. lol

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Nice prep.

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This is so predictable and yet still hilarious. Will look forward to following this thread.

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Damn. You eat better for a delivery than we sometimes ate as liveaboards! (Full disclaimer…I lived aboard in the early 80s…the dark ages in terms of availability of both foods and tools like small fridges.)

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Well food availability depended on where you were. Things were pretty rough in much of the Caribbean. Fridges were engine-driven eutectic plates. 12V Danfoss compressors and evaporator plates were a game changer. Increased efficiency of solar panels and MPPT controllers piled on the supply side of energy management.

Limited refrigeration is why I started home canning. Now it’s just fun and helps diversify choices.

Story related to the list. Grandma Linahan’s macaroni salad is the best mac salad I’ve ever had. Dressing is sort of a mix of vinaigrette and mayo-based. I have no idea who Grandma Linahan is. I cut the recipe out of a magazine back in the 80s. Recently found the original clipping.

We didnt even have a generator, so we had an icebox…my dad had rebuilt it from the hull up, and it would keep block ice for 2 weeks at a time (even in the Out Islands down to Eleuthera), but still just an icebox.

We had a two burner alcohol stove with an oven (gimbaled of course).

I took over the galley at 16 (with no resistance from my mom) and we became pretty well known for the aroma of chocolate chip cookies wafting out of the cabin.

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Living with ice really meant “don’t open the box unless you know what you want and where it is.” grin

Sometimes (pre-CV-19) I work for brokers or boat manufacturers at boat shows. I have sold boats by baking chocolate chip cookies. Other agents made fun of me until they saw my closing rate. grin


Input from crew is in. Not stressing. Lots of specificity on coffee. Serious distaste for lima beans. I can start cleaning up the shopping list and start cooking for things that will be frozen and planning for the last minute make-aheads like pasta and potato salads. Too early for a real weather forecast. Still planning on 1 Nov departure.