Anyone interested in the finer points of managing a galley?

Here's where I'm coming from:

(1) John Hanna, designer of the famed Tahiti Ketch once remarked: "...and the only interior detail (of a sailboat) that really matters is a full, man-sized, actual, practicable working galley, for indigestion has wrecked more cruises than rocks and hurricanes."

(2) "The act of cooking seems to help people get along with each other, especially when they are in slightly dire, less than luxurious and more than stressful circumstances. - Dr. Robert Zubrin, President of the Mars Society, speaking of the long voyage to Mars.

After almost three decades of voyaging and living aboard the year around, chartering and delivering boats, and entertaining friends, I have come to believe, like John Hanna, that the galley is the heart and soul of life aboard a sailboat.

And I've learned that there's much more to preparing dynamite meals than mixing together ingredients according to a recipe, especially if traveling in a remote area, or offshore for weeks at a time. For instance, there are some interesting techniques for extending the life of perishables, dairy products and meats without refrigeration that seem to not be common knowledge among many sailors. Would SeaKnots members be interested in discussing and sharing ideas along these lines?

If so, let's hear from you and get started.

Robbie Johnson

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It is true that unrefig. eggs will last 5 weeks or more in the tropics but you must cover them with Vasiline (5 weeks) or cooking oil (2 weeks) or boil them for 10 seconds (5 weeks).
Refigerated eggs, boil for 10 seconds and coat with cooking oil to last 2-3 weeks.
I much perfer un fridge. eggs and at time lasted 6 weeks in the Carribean with 1% loss.
Best if you keep them in styropane containers and turn them upside down every 2-3 days if you want them to keep for 5 weeks, refigerators ones turn daily.
I can't remember the brand name, but we discovered boxed milk in the Carribbean. Recently, I found boxed milk on the shelves at Wegmans Supermarket in New Jersey. I know, I know, it's not the same as fresh milk, but it stores easily and lasts a long time. You really do need to chill it first.
Another recent discovery of mine: Aunt Jemima now makes a pancake mix where you just add water! No need for eggs or milk.
Parmalat boxed milk (I think it's generically called UHT, for "ultra high temperature,") is widely available in US supermarkets. Unopened, it'll probably keep until the Second Coming. I've never drunk a glass of UHT milk, but it's just fine in coffee, on cereal, in recipes, etc.

As for the "just add water" pancake mix, that's another one that's hard to beat. I use it at home, too, just for its convenience.

More to come, no doubt.
Hello, Gail:

I see from the postings that Pete has provided you with the name of one of the more popular UHT "boxed" milk products that don't require refrigeration until after the carton has been opened. UHT milk is a little pricey relative to powdered milk, but tastes better, and of course doesn't have to be reconstituted before use. Most UHT products have been fortified with A & D vitamins to replace the natural ones destroyed by the high heat processing.

In addition to the Parmalat brand, UHT milk is available from the Borden company, and Lil' Milk. Hershey's also has a UHT chocolate milk. If you're traveling without refrigeration, it's prpbably best to buy the smaller sizes to avoid wastage through spoilage. The smaller sizes are sold in 8 oz., 3-unit packages.

For those with dietary and/or weight concerns, UHT milk products are available in 2% reduced fat Grade A, containing 37% less fat.

Hope this helps.


How about setting it up so where you store your dishes is a place where they can dry thus eliminating drying dishes on the expansive countertops we all seem to have?
Ahoy, Commodore Swab:

In all my years of sailing, I don't believe I've ever heard anyone complain about or discuss the drying of dishes. My experience has been that dishes dry quite quickly in the heat of the tropics, even if you haven't given them a quick wipe with a dish towel.

Our forum topic is managing the galley, specifically tips and techniques for equipping the galley, stocking the galley, distance-voyage food planning, easy-to-prepare recipes, and meal preparation. How about sharing with us your favorite recipe, or cooking technique? Do you have a pressure cooker aboard, or a Chinese wok, or an outside grill? Any tips for us along those lines?

Look forward to hearing from you.

Fair winds to you,

Gee wiz...I reckon the ole Swab falls right in line with the subject matter 'managing his galley.' Misleading or not, sounds as his floatee may be of smaller size, substantial even, hence, concerned with managing space.
I say lad, use the plastic stuff, and toss 'em up high in the overhead hammock. And never mind the greasy recipes which are inducive of indigestion and staining your plastic ware or clogging yer head. Get a meal fit for king when ye make landfall, out of harms way.

Isnt there already a discussion for cooking anyway.
hello Robbie,

it's very nice of you to start this discussion..
i love sailing and i love cooking.. but many of my "land recipe" is just too complicated for the sea since i use many kinds of spices for my indonesian/oriental food and when i try to simplyfy it just doesn't work..
so i'm always left with the basic meals.
i've been thinking to make somekind of a paste of my spices and preserve them in containers.. would this work? or do they spoil easily?
the other problem is that i'm not sure about the composition of each spice since i've always cook with instinc (when i see how much food there is, i know how much peper i need to throw in), it's abit more tricky to "guesstimate" the proportion of each spice if not facing the hot wok.. if you know what i mean..

Hello, Wayan:

Isn't the Internet simply wonderful? Imagine you and I, a half a world apart, and here we're communicating as if we lived next door to one another. I sense that you are well on your way to being an accomplished sailing chef when you say you season your dishes by "instinct." Ultimately, that is what happens when someone develops a love for cooking. As you know, in your part of the world, meal preparation is kept quite simple despite the complexities of seasonings. Seafood, fresh fruit and veggies are ever-present, and inexpensive. Add rice and you're there!

Extending the storage life of spices and herbs is tricky. Keep them in small air-tight jars and open as little as possible. However, I have found that they are so readily available shore-side that there is no reason to buy them in large quantities. For a voyage of several weeks at sea, you can sterilize some glass jars, stuff them with prepared pastes made of the spice and your choice of oil, screw on the top tightly and they will keep okay. I have an excellent recipe for a Chinese chili oil using Szechuan peppercorns, onions, ginger root and sesame oil that will knock your socks off! Stores without refrigeration and lasts forever. Let me know if you'd like to try it.

How I envy you in your present location! I LOVE Indonesian and Chinese foods. Actually, I have found that Indonesian meals adapt very well to a boat. And rice! Don't get me started on the variations to be had there! As you know, both the pressure cooker and the wok are preferred cooking methods in your part of the world, and I have a number of recipes in my book, Gourmet Underway - A Sailors Cookbook, that feature Indonesian and Chinese cooking. Check out the book's website: On the Front Page of the book's website is a photo of my Tahiti Ketch's tiny galley all loaded up for oriental cooking. I'm sure you will recognize many of the ingredients featured in the picture.

I am also sure you are familiar with "nam pla" or "nuoc mam", as Asian fish sauce is called in your part of the world. And then there are the pastes you allude to such as shrimp paste, sesame paste, and soybean paste, and of course, the indispensable Oriental sauces like Hosin sauce, soy sauce, duck sauce, and oyster sauce. Add to your galleys stores Five-spice powder, ginger root, dried black mushrooms, bamboo shoots, and water chestnuts, and you're prepared for just about anything. Just add fresh fish, fowl or beef, a side of rice and you're certain to be elected Sailing Chef of the Day!

How about sharing a favorite recipe with Sea Knots sailing chefs? Let's hear more from your side of the world.

Fair winds,

Youre makeing me hungry, with all this talk about food!
I'm in the process of refitting our galley in our 34' Yorktown, Olympian. The original galley was along the starboard side of the vessel. Everything was in a straight line, sink, stove, refrigerator. Can't imagine what it was like sailing on a starboard tack. I gutted the interior and started over. I built a U shape gally with the sink amidships and the stove on the starboard side. I am intending to build an overhead structure above the galley for dishes, mugs, etc.

I would be most interested in seeing how folks have completed their galleys, looking for ideas to complete ours. Can you direct me to photos and explanation of what you've done.
I haven't torn out and refitted my galley -- yet. But here's what I'm dealing with in terms of arranging and managing the food-prep space on board.

It's a typical L-shaped galley, with a two-burner stove and oven, top-loading icebox, dual sinks (which I've already bitched about in this thread), and too little countertop space. There's storage below the sinks (compromised by the plumbing that eats up part of the space), four smallish drawers to the left of the sinks, and a variety of cabinets and shelving along the starboard side.

Available space in three of the cabinets above the stove and icebox is compromised by the presence of flexible ductwork for the boat's air-conditioning system. (Don't break my chops on this -- the AC came with the boat. I could live without it, and do for the most part.)

I've tried to organize the starboard side of the main cabin to be primarily if not solely galley-related stuff, including food, utensils, dishes, cookware, etc. For the most part I've succeeded, although various tweaks and modifications would always be in order.

If and when I do make major changes, I'll post the pics. Meanwhile, fellow Peter, check out the website sailboatowners dot com, which has a searchable project forum with lots of galley modifications, including photos. I've used that site to compile a small folder of ideas for future revisions to my own galley.


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