Catering for a crew while sailing offshore

With the ROLEX Fastnet only 3 weeks away, our thoughts have turned to final preparations, including finalising the meal plan for the crew. It is likely that the race will last 4-5 days, so we are planning 4-5 days of food and snacks.

Ever wondered what it takes to feed 9 people for 5 days at sea?

It’s important that the meal plan contains a variety of different types of food, as meals soon become a very important part of the routine on board.  Warm nutritious and tasty is the order of the day. The meals need to provide a balance of protein and carbohydrate to maintain energy levels and taste good, there is nothing like a warm meal when you a tired, cold (and possibly wet) to provide a morale boost.

Although the food listed below is for the Fastnet race, we apply a similar method to preparing a menu for longer sailing trips and mile builders, such as our extended mile builder to Scotland (and back) this September.

3kg of porridge, this allows about 500g per daily breakfast. It is supplemented with dried fruit and nuts, honey, maple syrup and Nutella so people can have a slightly different breakfast each day if they prefer.

36 slices of bacon, this is enough for a couple of breakfasts if the weather isn’t too rough. Served with part baked rolls (quick and easy in the oven) they are a great way to serve bacon sandwiches; the smell of bread in the oven can be very welcome after a 05.00-08.00 shift on watch.

We provide a mixture of things that need cooking and those that don’t, enabling us to be flexible whatever the weather, sea state and what is happening on deck.

9 x Cornish Pasties (can be eaten cold)
18 hot dogs and buns (can be eaten cold)
36 Tortilla wraps with ham, cheese and coleslaw
5 Quiche (can be eaten cold)

We don’t use freeze dried food, preferring to prepare and freeze home-cooked evening meals, providing a much needed hot meal and moral boost.  The meals are cooked and frozen in large foil tins, they keep the other food cool as they defrost slowly over the duration of the race and they take about an hour to reheat in the oven.  Even in bad weather it possible to serve a hot home cooked meal with relative ease.

The menu for the 2017 Fastnet is as follows:

Sausage Cassoulet
Beef Stew
Spicy meatballs and pasta
Cottage pie with mash potato
Chicken and couscous

Ingredients list needed to produce 5 days worth of evening meals for 9 people:

10 large onions
2 bulbs of garlic
2 lemons
400g of green olives
Tomato puree
100g of bacon lardons
50g chorizo sausage
2 chilli’s
1.8kg carrot and swede
2kg potatoes
4 tins of cannellini Beans
500g couscous
500g pasta
40 meatballs
1kg chicken breast
1kg braising steak
1kg lamb mince
18 pork sausages
Garam masala
Lamb, beef, chicken and vegetable stock
Worchester sauce

Snacking v main meals
Snacks are very important while sailing, as we have found many of our crew prefer to ‘snack’ while being active and eat smaller meals.

Processed sugar snacks should be avoided in the main, as the sugary high is usually followed by a sugar low and this is not a good base for maintaining energy and can result in sporadic spells of concentration (this is not ideal when helming for a period of time). Our crew do enjoy Haribo, so we will have some on board, but we will also be sailing with enough fruit on board for each crew member to have 1 apple, banana and orange per day as well wholegrain snack bars, nuts and dried fruit.

Everyone has a favourite snack food and we do encourage the crew to bring along what they enjoy as a treat and a ‘pick me up’ when tired and in need a boost.
Catering for dietary requirements

The meal plan we have put together for the Fastnet 2017 is based on catering for 9 crew, who all choose to eat meat and do not have specific dietary requirements. The meals can be adapted for a vegetarian or vegan diet, replacing the protein from meat with beans and pulses or for catering for crew with dietary intolerances, such as a gluten or dairy-free diet.


We are running an extended mile builder event in September 2017. Over a two-week period we will be sailing from Hamble to Largs and returning to Hamble, in two ‘legs’ of non-stop sailing, approximately 5-6 days at sea. If you would like to join us (and sample some of our offshore meals as described above), get in touch at [email protected]

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