Guide to Planning Meals for Long Sailing Trips

Sailing is an exciting experience, especially if you manage to plan well in advance. One of the main questions about most beginners is what food to bring on the boat and how do you bring it. After your clothes and other personal items are taken care of, make sure that you pack some food so that you won’t go hungry on your trip.

Once you embark on a sailing journey that will last for weeks, you will need nutritious and delicious meals to keep up your morale while onboard. They may be limitations such as access to ingredients and equipment, but it doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your healthy meals.

And no matter how beautiful and pleasant your sailing ground is, your holiday can quickly turn into a disaster if people are not getting the food they want.

What food to bring on a sailing trip

On a sailing trip, it’s best to bring the type of foods you love. Bring ingredients that are flexible – those that can make almost anything with, such as pasta, cheese, milk, rice, eggs, bread, vegetables, and fruit. Make sure that you have enough, considering the number of people who are sailing, plus their appetite. And before preparing your shopping list, ask all the members who are sailing with you about their preferences and allergies.

To organize your shopping list, categorize them into these items:


For breakfast, take lots of easy to eat food, such as cereals, milk, bagels, granola bars, muffins, and eggs. Don’t forget beverages such as coffee, tea, and juices. You can also add a mix of sausages and tomatoes to your daily breakfast for a nutritious and hearty meal.


Take enough sandwich fixings for the week, plus chips. Since it gets old to eat sandwiches every day, you can also eat out on your destination for some lunches.


Spend most of your dinners eating grilled chicken, soup, sandwiches, and one-pot meals. Create a variety. It’s also a good idea to split it up among the individuals or couples eating out on your trip while some eat out.


Don’t forget to bring a lot of snacks. These are things that are easy to eat in a hurry when you are feeling hungry. You can take some cheese, crackers, granola bars, juices, chips, cupcakes, and more. Fresh fruits can also serve as great snacks.


Bring lots of water. The rule of thumb is 1.5 liters per person a day. Get water gallon jugs, and have each person take a unique water bottle to use for the week. Bring juices and sodas to serve with your meals. Don’t forget your coffee or tea if your day isn’t complete without it. Your boat will most likely have a small coffee maker.

Fresh ingredients

There are times when you would want to prepare your meal on board. You can bring fresh ingredients such as perishable items like meats, vegetables, fruits, and dairy.

Canned food and ingredients

These are the same kinds of foods as the fresh ingredients, but because they are canned, they will last longer. This includes your favorite meats, vegetables, fruits, dried or candied fruits, condensed milk, and the like.

Herbs and spices

You have a lot of choices, so you can choose what you need to bring through proper planning. Know the recipes and types of cuisine you want to cook, so you can plan ahead about what herbs and spices to bring. You can place them in mini Ziploc bags.


There might be some salt and pepper onboard, but if you’re fond of other condiments, might as well bring it yourself (unless you have the charter company to do the provisioning). You may need to bring the dressing you like, as well as soy sauce, mustard, etc.


Don’t forget your things like food containers, garbage bags, paper towels, toilet paper, and Ziploc bags. Storage and cleanup must always be taken care of as well.

How to buy food for a sailing vacation

There are different ways you can provision your boat for a sailing vacation:

1. Charter company

There are charter companies that will provision your sailboat for you. You only need a form to fill up, indicating any of your food preferences, number of people, allergies, etc. You can also have them provide most meals or some meals aboard, or you can opt for them to provide just the basics like paper towels and spices. The advantage of this method is that you will less likely end up missing something important because they have a lot of experience provisioning boats. However, the downside is that you don’t get to pick exactly what you want. It’s great for those who don’t like planning meals themselves.

2. Grocery shopping

The most obvious way to provide food for your trip is to visit your nearest supermarket and buy what you want. Make sure you have a complete list of your needs and wants because it will be a buzzkill if you forget something. 

3. Advance ordering

Another convenient way to purchase food for your sailing trip is through advance ordering. You can order online from one of the local grocery stores. Simply log on to a website that provides the service, select the grocery items that you want, and they will deliver it right to your doorstep or get it via pickup.

4. Vacuum packed

Vacuum-packed food will stay fresh for longer. It’s also a perfect option if you want to take along vegetables, fruits, or meat.

Planning menus on a sailboat

1. Daily menus

Before your trip, prepare a broad list of dishes that you and your companions on the trip will typically enjoy. Doing so will also help you when it comes to picking up ingredients for the trip. Try to look for diversity, so you won’t get sick of the same food all day, while probably getting seasick. Also remember that despite all the amenities that some modern yachts offer, some services and facilities may still not be accessible on the boat.

2. Weekly menus

The same principle also applies when it comes to planning your weekly menu. Remember, try to keep it diverse and interesting. This will depend on the quality of your provisioning. Choose fresh ingredients like fruits and veggies that do not perish easily. If you really want (or need) to eat those that are prone to perishing, consume them first.

One way to make sure that your menu is diverse is to prepare them in different styles. For instance, you can alternate between Mediterranean, Italian, Chinese, or Indian styles of cooking. You may need to carry different spices, herbs, and condiments, but at least they don’t perish easily, and they only take little space.

Other tips

  • Keeping food fresh is your priority when planning for meals on a sailing trip. Storing fresh meat is tricky, so before
  • Ensure that you’re stock up on your canned food.
  • Keep in mind that what you eat on land may not suit you on water. Some of your favorite foods may not be digested well if you’re at sea.
  • Keep a cooler on deck to keep things cool throughout the day. You may have a refrigerator on deck, but you may not want to warm it up by opening it several times. Having a large cooler for your drinks will benefit you a lot.
  • Start out with lots of ice placed on your cooler and fridge, especially since sailing trips are usually made in the summer. Fridge on boats don’t work really well, and they have no temperature control. It may fail to keep everything as cold as you would want, so make sure to eat your easily perishable foods earlier during the week.
  • Think about the trash that will accumulate during your sailing trip. You are going to have to carry it until you find a place to put it. You can also pay for them to take it.