s/y Nine of Cups
Passage Provisioning
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Provisioning for an overnight or a weekend requires some reasonable
thought in advance, but provisioning for a long passage...one month, two
months, three months, six months...that requires lots and lots of
forethought, meal planning and an Excel spreadsheet for Nine of Cups.

There's no easy way to provision, although the planning aspect  gets
easier the more you do it. Here are some of our hints for long passage
provisioning that might be of interest and help to others.
Left, David looks at the results of one of several trips to MiComisariato,
the local supermarket in LaLibertad, Ecuador where we provisioned for
our 40 day direct passage from Ecuador to Puerto Montt, Chile. We've
found that just by asking, most stores will deliver free of charge when
you're making such large purchases.
Provisioning 101 - 404

1) I really do use an Excel spreadsheet for making our provisioning list. I modify it depending on where we'll be doing our provisioning. Certain
items available in the US or Europe are not available in other areas, so the list changes to reflect availability of specific fruits/veggies, canned items,
etc. If we estimate 40 days between shopping trips,  I provision for 90 days. Extra is okay in my book. Running out is a bummer, especially if it's
a basic item, so I tend to over-provision on items which will keep and we'll use it on the next trip.  The positive of using a spreadsheet is that you
have a place to enter your current inventory and what you think you'll need and the "buy" quantity is calculated for you. Once I've completed the
spreadsheet for a trip, I print it out and use it as my master shopping list.

2) Before using the spreadsheet, I first take an
accurate inventory of what's aboard as close to provisioning day as possible. I check for out of
date and obvious no-use products. If "out of date" items look okay, they are moved to where they'll be used first. Dried up drink mixes, bulging
cans, etc. are discarded.

3) I check out the local supermarket(s) and fresh markets, butchers, etc. to
determine what's available, what's not, best deals, etc.

4)I do
basic meal planning to get an idea of how much of everything I'll need. For instance, if  I'm provisioning for 90 days ... that's 90
breakfasts, 90 lunches, 90 dinners and 90+ snacks. We eat lots of pasta so I'll assume we'll have a pasta meal of some sort at least twice a
week...for about 13 weeks...that's 26 pasta meals. We get 2 meals from a .5kg package of pasta, so I'll need 13 packages to cover 26 meals as
a minimum. What else will go with the pasta? tomato sauce, spices, grated Parmesan, meat?, mushrooms, canned or fresh veggies? It sounds
tedious, but after awhile you develop "typical" meals and the menus and ingredients come more easily.
5)We long ago gave up things like facial tissues and regular use of paper napkins. We hope, however, NEVER to run of toilet paper!  We have
found that paper products are very expensive in foreign countries and
stock up whenever we find a bargain.                                    
Medical supplies (antibiotics to band-aids), other than vitamins or OTC products, are a separate list and are inventoried annually or
after previous passage use.

7) I
label all cans with indelible black marker: contents and "use by" date before stowing. We use a vacuum sealer to seal drygoods
(flour/rice) and keep them weevil/critter-free. Finding refill bags is not easy outside the US.
8) I
buy fresh market stuff last...the morning we leave if possible...and preferably fruits, veggies and eggs which have never been refrigerated.
Other than the US, by the way, eggs are never refrigerated. They'll available on the unrefrigerated, on the shelf. Fresh produce is usually stored in

Before stowing eggs, I dipped each egg in boiling water for about 5 seconds then return it to its carton. I stow cartons in an easily accessible
crate and turn the cartons twice a week. We rarely have any eggs go bad and we've kept them for 3 months+. We've always eaten them before
we could determine how much longer they would have kept.

10) Beyond planning, buying and hauling, keep in mind where you might
stow what you buy. We don't have an elaborate system for stowing
provisions. We've purchased plastic crates and hammocks and tiered hanging baskets. We use every available nook and cranny, but I try to use
the same locations each time so I remember what's where. Canned goods are stowed in an old, unused water tank in the bilge which David cut
the top off of. We found an area under some drawers in the aft cabin which afforded us a nice area for stowing wine.
David is a pretty good fisherman and I
usually count on his success as an
angler as part of my provisioning
stores. As specialty items, not on the
usual provisioning list, I try to have the
basic makings for sushi and California
rolls aboard like nori wraps, wasabi,
pickled ginger and rice vinegar.
Because we have limited fridge/freezer space and
because what we do have consumes lots of
power, we've looked for other ways to stock
provisions, especially meat and poultry, that do
not require refrigeration. Canning is one option
which I tried in Chile prior to our Pacific crossing
and it worked out well. We were able to purchase
1/2L (pint) jars in Chile at the local hardware
store. Pint jars seemed to be the right size for two
people meals. I opted to purchase extra lids just in
case I couldn't find the right size in New Zealand.

In anticipation of our Pacific passage, we
purchased a
Presto aluminum pressure canner
(Model 0175) when we were back in the US
($80) and carried it back with us in our luggage.

Actually, Kiersten on the Danish boat "Sol"
inspired me to give this a try. They have no
refrigeration and can meat regularly.

I also purchased a book on the subject  "Ball
Complete Book of Home Preserving" which
answered lots of questions and provided exact
procedures to follow so I didn't poison the crew.
I pressure canned 72 pints of ground turkey and
chicken breasts. I did not find it that difficult and
seeing the bin containing the results of my labors
was very satisfying.
A few more hints...
  • Get recipes for your favorite
    salad dressings, spice blends,
    etc. off the internet and be sure
    to stock the ingredients.
  • Make up "mixes" in advance of
    leaving port for pancakes,
    muffins, coffee cakes,
    brownies, etc. It makes en
    route baking much easier.
  • Find versatile cookbooks that
    make the most of the
    provisions you do have. "The
    Cruising K.I.S.S. Cookbook"
    by Corinne Kanter is one of my
    favorites. Of course, the Nine
    of Cups Cookbook is free!
We found a plastic crate which
held all 72 pints. I used cardboard
dividers designed to separate wine
bottles to cushion the glass jars.
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