Victualing a boat

Victualing a boat

Sailing can be a physically demanding activity. Depending on the nature of the sailing (cruise/race), the length of time at sea and the conditions, a sustained continuous reserve of energy is required to ensure sailors remain at the top of their game.

How the food for a crew is prepared will depend on the type of sailing taking place, but whether the sailing is a short day-hop or a long passage, wholesome food is essential.

Victualing a boat for day trips and in a marina
When in port you can take your time prepare your fresh food without the boat lurching or the crew deciding to tack without warning you.  Ensure you put raw meat in a separate container in the fridge or at the bottom so it doesn’t contaminate other food.

Victualing a boat for longer trips
If you are planning a longer trip then preparing meals in advance and freezing them can offer a convenient way of eating freshly prepared food at sea without the need to spend long amounts of time in the galley.

Large foil tins hold enough food for 4-5 people. Layering pasta or rice with vegetables and a sauce, the prepared meal can be frozen at home and reheated in the boats oven.

On longer trips, we have found that food becomes a focal point of the day.  Good food will help to keep up moral within the crew and make them more amenable to carrying out tasks in less than ideal conditions.

Taking pre-prepared frozen food on board can also reduce the use of the battery. The frozen meals will help to keep the fridge cool and reduce the need to run the engine to keep the batteries charged.

Suggestions for meal planning


  • Cereal can offer a good variety but requires lots of milk if there are a number of you on board
  • Porridge can be made with or without milk or add powdered milk to make creamer, is warm and filling.  Add dried fruit, honey, Nutella, maple or golden syrup to vary the flavour
  • Bacon rolls are a great moral booster if the weather is bad. Try using part-baked bread rolls
  • Eggy bread is a great way of using up the last of your bread if it has gone a bit stale
  • Pancakes are a filling breakfast and can be combined with dried fruit honey, Nutella, maple or golden syrup.


  • Precooked sausage rolls, eat hot or cold
  • Precooked  pork pies, eat hot or cold
  • Precooked pasties and slices, eat hot or cold
  • Hot dogs, boil frankfurters and some hotdog rolls and sauce
  • Packet soup and part baked rolls for a warm and tasty lunch
  • Sandwiches or rolls with ‘cup-a-soups’.

All main meals can be adapted for vegetarian or other dietary requirements.

  • Spagatti bolognaise
  • Chilli Con Carnie
  • Stew
  • Pork and lentils
  • Cassoulet
  • Cock au Vin
  • Cottage Pie
  • Shepards Pie
  • Curry and Rice


  • Crisps
  • Chocolate bars
  • Nuts
  • Dried fruit
  • Carrot sticks
  • Celery sticks
  • Rice cakes
  • Humus
  • Biscuits
  • Cake

Backups, in case of bad weather or trip taking longer than expected

  • Tinned chilli and rice
  • Packets of soup and pasta.