Keeping Your Crew Happy (and Productive) to AND From Bermuda
Proper provisioning for the race can give you that edge you won’t get from your sail inventory. Having happy, well-fed crew on board is essential for morale and teamwork.
While there’s no magic formula for “proper” provisioning, we’ve put together some recipes (both metaphoric and culinary) for success. If you are still not sure what to do after reading through this document and the related articles, please contact the mentoring committee.
Remember that you and/or your crew will need to eat on your trip home too. We’ve provided some resources for provisioning in Bermuda to help you plan for that as well.
Some things to consider
Here are some guidelines to consider when planning your provisions.
Start by asking everyone, even potential crew a) what allergies they have, and b) what they won't eat even under torture. As if being cold, tired, cranky isn’t enough, having no other choice but to chow down on something you absolutely hate isn’t going to improve matters any. Nor will they improve if one of your team has a bad reaction to something that ended up in a sandwich that shouldn’t have.
Who’s cooking, and who’s cleaning up?
Work out in advance who will be doing the cooking and who will be doing the cleaning up while underway. You may want to designate one or two of your crew to plan and prepare meals before the race. Others may be responsible for food prep under way. If the same person cooking a meal on board is also responsible for cleaning up, they will use far fewer pots, pans, dishes, etc.
Make sure each crew member knows what's expected them in advance in terms of cooking and cleaning up.
Helpful hint: Use saltwater to clean pots, dishes, etc., then rinse them with a little fresh water. Dawn dish soap works well in salt water and is pretty benign. Remember that the race rules stipulate that you cannot throw garbage overboard. That includes paper plates and plastic utensils.
How much is enough?
Plan on your crew eating a lot more underway than they might on shore. This is partly out of boredom, but mostly to keep energy up and keep warm on the first few nights off shore.
Keep a lot of "grab-and-go" snacks on hand and easily accessible. This includes fruit and nut mixes (trail mix), chocolate, granola bars, hard-boiled eggs, and fruit, etc.
Plain or fancy?
Keep meals simple, and when possible, make them one-pot meals. If you are bent on showing off your gourmet cooking skills and food presentation prowess, knock yourself out. But in general, you don't want to be cleaning up lots of pots and pans when all you really want to do is go to sleep.
Helpful hint: Ask each crew member to bring their own water bottle and coffee mug (with secure lids). Each one should have a clip on it to hang on the lifelines. If a bottle/mug does not have a clip, you can attach a carabiner to it with duct tape and wire ties. Each person is then responsible for cleaning their own bottles/mugs.
Who’s picking up the tab?
Work out in advance your food budget and who will be paying. You may want to get a deposit from crew in advance or at least let them know how much you intend to spend on food.
Helpful hint: Create a shopping list and team up with someone who has a membership at a big-box store.
Resources for provisioning in Bermuda
· PWs Filling Station
(441) 295-3185 Hamilton Harbour
Shell gasoline, diesel, oil, basic boat supplies and refreshments
(441) 234-0233 Ireland Island
Duty free fuel available by appointment only. Must be accompanied by a customs slip of departure occurring within 24 hours.
· Bermuda Gas & Utility Co.
(441) 295-3111 or (441) 325-1833 (Mr. Lightbourne)
25 Serpentine Road, Hamilton
Mon – Fri 8 am to 4 pm
Helpful hint: On occasions the RHADC kitchen has prepared meals for the journey back home. They require advance notice (preferably prior to the race start date) and a menu.
· The Supermart (close to RHADC)
125 Front Street, Hamilton
· The Market Place
Various locations (Hamilton, Paget – is closest to RHADC)
· Miles Market
96 Pitts Bay Road (near PWs Fuel Station)
Wines & Spirits
Duty Free Liquor should be ordered 48 hours prior to departure. Please contact Goslings or Burrows Lightbourne for more details.
· Goslings Bros. Ltd
Queen Street Branch (corner with Front St)
Wide selection of rum, liquor and wine.
· Burrows Lightbourn
East Broadway, Hamilton
$8.00 a bag.
· KC Daniels
Delivers block ice- 25lb for $11 and cubes for $10.00.
Tips for Successful Care and Feeding of the Crew
-excerpted from CoastalBoating.net
“People say they eat everything but it's not true. Probe to see what they will not eat. Ask about tripe and organ meats and they will usually laugh - then they'll tell you if they don't eat eggs.
· Ask if people get seasick and remind them to bring any medications they might need. Stock up on ginger tablets and ginger candy.
· Ask about food allergies. Avoid bringing items aboard that can be mistaken and cause problems.
· One dish meals are excellent choices - lasagna, quiche, fritatta, casserole!
· Plan to use leftovers but prepare a safety margin with canned or dry goods.
· Alternate hot breakfasts with cold lunches and vice versa.
· Soups and stews are great to have along for miserable weather windows.
· Carry far more water than you'll think you need. Bring lots of Gatorade on hot days to compensate for electrolyte loss - just water alone won't do if someone is developing heat stroke. Make your own if you forget - dissolve a spoonful of sugar and a spoonful of salt in a glass of water.
· Take milk in smaller containers so you only open what you need in one day.
· Canned tuna and chili are useful backup foods that most people will eat.
· A jar of caviar can dress up the most mundane of dishes.
· Use the most perishable items first. Plan to reprovision bread along the way, either ashore or by baking.
· Bring melba toast and oyster crackers as well as plain broth and tea for anyone who might get seasick.
Tips for Successful Food Storage and Preparation
-excerpted from CoastalBoating.net
Instead of buying block ice, freeze bottles of ice at home and bring along. When it melts, it won't flood your cooler/refrigerator and you'll have extra fresh water for emergency use.
1. Bring long lasting bottles of condiments that do not require refrigeration (such as Pickapeppa, Worcestershire, Tabasco , soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, and honey) to instantly liven up food. Little packets like those served in fast food restaurants are good to stow aboard for variety.
2. Olive oil is not only good for you it can be kept onboard for a long time and can be substituted for butter in almost any recipe (even some cakes). Butter can provide immediate richness to soups and savory dishes. Bring your butter in a sealable container, like Tupperware, to prevent intrusion of smells and spills from your refrigeration system or coolers.
3. Bring along a nice selection of staples and spices for general use: olive oil, vinegar, sugar, and flour can substitute for many ingredients you might forget to bring along. In addition to salt and pepper, use dried herbs and ground spices to season food. SeasonAll is a great all around spice for meats and fish. There are several manufacturers now selling multiple flavor seasoning dispensers for dipping mixtures and spicing. These are great to have onboard.
You can make your own. Pack them in small re-sealable bags and keep them in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. Or make up flavoured salts by grinding together coarse sea salt with dried thyme, rosemary, oregano and mint. For added spice, combine sea salt with cayenne pepper, paprika or curry powder. Sprinkle onto fish, chicken and meat dishes to enhance their flavor.
4. Aged hard cheeses such as parmesan and pecorino Romano are fantastic for grating over pasta and mashed potatoes, and into eggs and omelets. They keep well for periods longer than a week. Cheeses in wax keep even longer and, if you buy smaller ones, you’ll have delicious snacks all through your cruise.
For longer periods, remove cheese from plastic wrapping, cut into smaller wedges and envelop each one in a kitchen paper moistened with cider vinegar to prevent mold from growing. Rewrap in a breathable bag and keep in a cool dark place if refrigeration is not available.
5. It is now easy to find inexpensive vacuum sealers that are fantastic for preserving food. Wrap batches of space-saving flat breads such as whole wheat pitas and tortillas in vacuum sealed bags, to provide additional carbohydrate or use as meal accompaniments during the first week.
6. Nuts, seeds and dried fruit are great healthy snacks to help keep hunger at bay in between meals. In addition, bring little jars or bags of toasted sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds or sliced almonds for sprinkling over chicken, fish or rice dishes and to provide extra texture and crunch.
7. Prepare and freeze whatever you can in advance. Meats are most vulnerable in hot weather. Bring only frozen meats tightly sealed in spill proof containers. They will help chill your cooler and they will thaw slowly if stored together so their useful life will be prolonged. However, don't let them leak into your refrigeration system when they thaw. That is an awful mess to clean up.
8. Bring along a bread or muffin mix to which you only have to add water. Having freshly baked bread when you want it is a serious luxury. Buttermilk biscuits from a mix or Pillsbury prepared dough are quick and easy and go with lots of different meals. Bring along some heavy German whole grain brown bread which keeps almost indefinitely if kept tightly wrapped.
9. Eggs are a great all around staple and keep better than you think. Get them in Styrofoam containers because the cardboard melts in the fridge.
10. Carry spare spill proof containers to store leftovers in the refrigerator or cooler. Put everything in plastic bags to avoid contamination as things melt or spill. There is nothing worse than to find out that the milk and OJ cartons spilled onto everything.
The overnight passage
-excerpted from CoastalBoating.net
I like to divide up the meal planning into phases that reflect where we will be at any given time and what we'll be doing. For example, if day one involves an overnight passage with six people dividing up watches in three-hour increments, then my meal sequence will be as follows:
· Dinner for the entire crew, prepared in advance and warmed up enroute. A perfect example would be a lasagna and salad prepared earlier in the day and warmed in the oven after we've shoved off. Often, there will be enough left over for that midnight snack for robust young men [sic]. Having more than you think you'll need is usually a good idea and rarely goes to waste on an overnight passage. People eat more at sea. Hearty, hot, and plenty of it is a good way to go.
· Snacks and drinks for the overnight period. Here I'll include Granola bars, chocolate or cookies, small yogurt containers, and hot soup or broth. I like to include both salty and sweet because different people have different cravings at different times. I will usually prepare a thermos of soup, a thermos of tea, and a thermos of coffee. We have a thermos holder in the galley and the contents usually stay warm through the night.
· Breakfast underway consists of fruit salad, cereal and milk or yogurt. It's easy, nutritious, and satisfying, and it can be served to different watch parties at different times. The tea and coffee get replenished for the morning shift.
· Lunch will usually consist of an assortment of sandwiches, and soup if it’s cold, but plenty of water and Gatorade if it's hot. Otherwise, I might bring a giant hoagie (sub, etc.), cut up into handy chunks stored in an aluminum baking dish. This is especially helpful on a rambunctious passage. You run the risk of the bread getting soggy, but if you have the deli prepare the sandwich without the dressing, you can add that just before serving.
· How to Fuel the Troops For Offshore Racing, Part I
The author describes how he determined what food and supplies he'd need to feed the crew of the J/133 /Antidote/ during the 2006 Newport-Bermuda-Race. "First Beat" from our April 24, 2008, /SW eNewsletter/
By Michael Luskin Posted April 23, 2008
· How to Fuel the Troops for Offshore Racing, Part II
Michael Luskin describes how he he prepared and served meals aboard the J/133 /Antidote/ during the 2006 Newport-Bermuda Race. "First Beat" from our May 7, 2008, /SW eNewsletter/
By Michael Luskin Posted May 6, 2008