Provision and Prep Time 😳😫😬

Sir William Robert Patrick Knox-Johnston, born in 1939, is a British sailor. In 1969, he became the first person to perform a single-handed non-stop circumnavigation of the globe. Along with Sir Peter Blake, he won the second Jules Verne Trophy, for which they were also named the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) Yachtsman of the Year award. In 2007, at the age of 67, he set a record as the oldest yachtsman to complete a round the world solo voyage in the Velux 5 Oceans Race. Clearly, an accomplished sailor.

With his incredible sailing credentials, I should certainly not argue with Robin Knox-Johnston, however, I do beg to differ.

WHY, why does packing and provisioning for the boat always feel so daunting? It does not matter whether it is for one week, 3 weeks, 6 weeks, or even 9 months (ok, maybe those multi-month Bahama trips were a bit more intense.) I’m not even going to share clothing quandaries. June in New England means you need to be prepared for a potential temperature range of 40 degrees. It could be in the 50’s and it could be in the 90’s. The water temperature is 55 in the beginning of June and may increase to 65 by the end of the month. That keeps it chilly ON the water, even if you aren’t IN the water.

I’ve written about provisioning for our Bahamas trips in past blogs.

2013 on the Morgan Center Cockpit sailboat.
2015 on the Mariner Orient.

THIS IS ONLY FOR 3 WEEKS. That’s nothing. Al gently reminds me, “There are grocery stores here in New England, Michele.” But, 1) I don’t want to spend my short 3 weeks of cruising in grocery stores. 2) Grocery stores on the islands are not always easily accessible by foot, 3) Groceries are always more costly on an island whether in New England or the Caribbean. 

Without intentionally doing so, I have been provisioning piecemeal over the past 2-3 weeks. Although that may sound sensible, I soon learned that I wasn’t sure what was on the boat already, what was still at home, and how much space was left in the assorted cupboards, cabinets, and under seating space. Even with my notes and lists. I resorted to snapping photos with my phone. Oh well, this is hardly a tragic problem!

The freezer is always a big concern. When you are preparing and packing the food at home, how do you know what will fit inside the freezer? We have an hour drive to the boat so I don’t want to get there and find out it will not all fit. On the flip side, I also don’t want to find out I could have brought more.

This is the freezer Al installed last year to supplement the small freezer in the refrigerator/freezer unit. We use this separate Engel freezer for trips that are more than a few days.
I asked Al to make me a mock-up using the interior dimensions of the Engel. Top photo is the cardboard “freezer.” After arranging and rearranging to get the optimal fit, I set it inside my house chest freezer until we are ready to pack the boat. This has been a very successful solution.
Here is one of my pet peeves. Lock N Lock makes a terrific egg carton. Each egg is held securely and the lid really locks down tightly. But look at this! Eggs come in a dozen. Why would anyone make an egg carton that only holds TEN eggs?? What do you do with those two remaining eggs?? Hard boil them, I guess.

I like cooking with fresh herbs. I have repeatedly tried to carry herbs on the boat. I know that there are many cruisers who are quite successful with their herb “gardens” and others who refuse to allow anything with soil onboard. I have yet to find the best solution. Wind, salt air and salt water can be hard on the plants. And there is the possibility of dirt spilling on the fiberglass.

In 2013 I kept the potted herbs under the dodger. A mouse crept aboard and devoured the cilantro. We spent days trying to banish him before crossing the Gulf Stream. I don’t carry cilantro anymore. Superstitious, I guess.
2015 on the flybridge of the trawler, tied to the legs of the solar panels. A rough crossing resulted in the dreaded soil spill.
This is another attempt in 2018 to carry an herb garden as we traveled the Hudson River.
2022 – A hanging soft planter with pockets up on the flybridge rail. They look healthy now, but we shall see.

Enough about provisioning and preparing. All of my clothing (and I know I brought too much) fit with space to spare. I did over provision and maxed out the refrigerator and freezer. Sorry, Sir William Robert Patrick Knox-Johnston, I do not find it to be as enjoyable as the actual cruise.

There is another part of preparedness – safety.


The US Coast Guard Auxiliary Division 25,1SR New London, offered free vessel checks on June 4th. The timing was good for us since we would be there for the day to wash and prep (oh yes, more prep.) “The safety check is not a survey of your vessel, but it is designed to verify that you have certain required safety equipment aboard. and that it is functioning properly. Upon successful completion your vessel will be awarded a Vessel Safety Check decal. 

We welcomed Ed Chale aboard and he began the paperwork for our safety inspection.

In addition to paperwork and lots of questions, there’s the show and tell. Highlights —

PFDs and fire extinguishers
First aid kit and flares
And that very important inspection of the overboard thru hole to be sure it is locked within the 3-mile limit.
We passed!

  1. Kimberly Boneham

    I didn’t know Lock n Lock made egg holders. But 10? Really? That’s like the hot dog/hot dog buns mismatch. Ridiculous. Kimberly

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