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You Need How Much Ranch? - Provisioning for an Ocean Passage

Updated: Jan 23, 2021

Step 1 Find crew that can cook ✔️

Although that's kind of a joke, it is helpful. While Joe and I were busy preparing the boat, Kuma Too, for the passage, two of our crew, Ryan and Melissa, premade and vacuum sealed 102 hot meals to be frozen for the passage. Premade meals are important because according to John Kretschmer from his book Sailing a Serious Ocean, "a boat is not an excuse for a poor meal." The frozen meals enable us to quickly prepare a good meal while underway no matter the sea conditions.

For 30 days of provisions, we have a very large shopping list. It's a good thing Joe threw bags at an airport in a previous life because he packed all those groceries perfectly into our dinghy. He has an eye for fitting everything in like a puzzle. Once on board all the bags are unloaded and the fridges/freezer are emptied, so we can see what we have to work with before blindly putting items away. Joe usually handles the cold stuff first then I attack all the remaining items. It's amazing what we can fit on board now that we've had practice making use of all available space.

The storage of provisions seems to take more planning than actual shopping. Is there anything in your refrigerator that does not have to be refrigerated? Yes. We purchase condensed or box milk for the passage, and we have been safely eating non refrigerated ketchup and mustard for years. There is a farm in Tampa that sells non-refrigerated eggs, so they can be stored in a dry place out of the sun. Eggs sold in the cold section of the grocery store do have to stay refrigerated. Boxes just take up space, so everything that comes in a box is pulled out and labeled.

Bulk Nation is our new favorite store in Florida. We bought everything from spices and baking supplies to powdered soup, olive oil and passage snacks. You also have your choice of fresh tea leaves, coffee beans and an entire row of candy. Plus everything from Bulk Nation comes in a baggy, so no wasted space when storing items!

Canned meat, veggies and fruit become a sailor's best friend on passage. We do have a fridge and freezer on board, but being 1000 miles from shore, we have to plan the worst. If we have power issues or loose refrigeration, with cans we still have plenty of good food to make. The same goes for water – we have a water maker, and drink that water, but if it breaks, we have enough gallons of water to stay hydrated until we make landfall.

Extra gallons of water are stored in the bilges, which are under the floorboards in the cabins. The shelves all around the salon become food storage as well as the lockers under the salon seating. Canned goods filled in all available space around our life vests...which is not allowed when chartering under Coast Guard regulations, but the passage was not a charter! As the title suggests, Joe and I LOVE ranch dressing on just about everything. We actually had our crew trying ranch on many of the premade dishes. We had 10 bottles of ranch stashed throughout the storage areas and needed more when we arrived to BVI. More drinks were stored in boxes under the navigation station and in 2 coolers on deck. Although being in a cooler was just for looks since the ice melted 2 days into our 10-day passage. Once we were done stocking, there was no room for even one more soda can!

We ate so well on passage with lasagna, ratatouille, chili, stir-fry, meatloaf and so much more! We had calmer seas than expected, so we even indulged in cooking some good breakfasts and lunches underway like bacon and eggs, strawberry French toast, tortilla soup, and tacos!

Now, 80+ days later, Joe and I are still eating the canned goods from our January 5th provisioning run!! To learn about charters on board Kuma Too, visit

Until next week, Happy Sailing!

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