Day 87 The art of cooking at sea 27/11/13

 Sept 27, 2013

Position: 41.48 S, 125.00 E

All is well. Had a good run last night. Look forward to more miles today.

A few people have asked about food preparation and cooking on board. Here’s Glenn’s response to the art and science of cooking at sea.

Question: How do you manage making tea and cooking when you’re pitching and rolling on West Wind II?

The short answer is, with a great deal of planning and care.  You must concentrate on the job at hand and your movements must be purposeful and well thought out. Having an escape plan is also important. For example, I have a large and deep stainless sink which I can put things in quickly if necessary and be fairly certain they won’t spill. The gimballed stove is an absolute must. It is weighted at the bottom and swings on pivots attached to either side so it remains upright as the boat swings under it. The stove also has stainless fiddles on it to hold the pots firmly in place.Dexterity is much more important than which spice to use when cooking on a moving boat.

I try to reduce the amount of equipment I use so I usually eat out of the pot I cook the meal in. I usually stand at the stove and eat with one hand, because you need to have both feet firmly planted and your legs braced. I hold on to the grab rail with one hand and hold a fork in the other. Sitting down to eat still requires both feet to be stable and you still need one hand to hold on.

I’ve just finished my breakfast which is always a pot of cooked oats. This is fairly easy to make although at any time during the process the boat can lurch unexpectedly and put your best laid plans all over the cabin sole, or yourself. I have taken a few tumbles while cooking and hurt myself as well as spilled meals in a grand fashion all over the boat. I make a stew once a week in the pressure cooker. This way I can clamp the lid down tight and also heat it up quickly. With the stew I have either rice, quinoa or couscous. Couscous is easiest and takes less time and makes less steam. Rice is my favourite, then quinoa but both take a little longer and produce more steam and therefore more condensation which eventually drips from the port lights and the headliner on to my bunk or the nav station.

I eat lots of snacks as well – granola, peanut butter spooned right out of the jar, and Nutella. I don’t bake bread but I make pancakes as a substitute. I make mistakes and learn what works and what doesn’t. I am always motivated by the need for nourishment so I just keep refining my skills and learning more all the time. I hope this gives some insight into the art of cooking on a boat while at sea.

Course 260 T Speed 5.6 knots Wind S 15knots Waves 2m Cloud 100% Temp 10C Baro 1023 Volts 12.64


  1. Your stories fascinate me Glenn. Keep them coming.

  2. Thanks for sharing your cooking and eating methods.

    Bon Appetit!


  3. Pat and Fred Lark says

    Hi Glenn,

    I see a cooking show in your future. Good grief what an adventure. We enjoy the fact that good or bad, happy or sad, patient or not, wet or dry, tired or rested, injured or not, working or not working, emotionally drained or emotionally driven you have painted a true picture. For that we are grateful. As always we have our eye on you.

    Pat and Fred

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