The question of what supplies to store and how to prepare meals on board a pleasure sailboat which is at sea for any length of time has always offered difficulties to owners and seagoing cooks. Especially during a race, such as the Annapolis-to-Newport race which gets under way this weekend, when boats are slamming ahead on their courses during foul weather as well as fair, the problems surrounding the whole area of the galley are intensified.
All right. How well can anybody expect to eat—and drink—on a racing sailboat? To begin with, it depends on the size of the boat, how the galley is equipped and what facilities there are for storage and refrigeration. Comparatively few racing craft have the generator needed to power an electric refrigerator or freezer locker for lengthy storing of fresh or frozen foods, and the old-fashioned icebox is, for most, standard galley equipment. Some skippers, pressing for a possible slight advantage under a racing handicap, even refuse to load ice; the crew is expected to subsist entirely from cans and to do without cold drinks. But most owners, sailing primarily for fun, are less Spartan about the whole matter.
To get some ideas about culinary possibilities at sea within the obvious limitations imposed by race conditions, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED queried the owners of deep-water racing craft in major sailing areas of the U.S. Here are some of their reports:
Payson Mayhew describes what it's like to try to cook on board his 39-foot sloop in rough weather: "We have to close the hatches to keep water out; kerosene fumes fill the galley; the air gets so thick you can cut it with a knife; and pretty soon the cook is laid out flat on his face." But in good weather he tries to have three hot meals a day.
LAPWING, Manchester, Mass.
Harold Willcox is a partisan of stew. On a long haul like the Bermuda race, he stores masses of canned meat, vegetables and soup. The cans are all dipped in red plastic for protection against rust, identified for type of food with symbols. The crewman whose turn it is to cook just reaches down a selection. "We put everything in one pot," says Willcox, pointing out that stew is easy to make, easy to eat and easy to keep hot.
NALU II, Newport Beach, Calif.
Skipper Peter Grant started last winter's Acapulco race with two live chickens housed in a dinghy. After five days they were killed by Bob Barneson, the cook, for a welcome dinner of fresh meat. Trouble was the crew had made pets of the birds, and all hands had to go below during the execution.
Like many boat owners, Wheeler Nazro never serves liquor during a race. "People give up certain things for Lent," he says. "We give up drinking from sea buoy to sea buoy." Fruit drinks are frequent fare on board the Cibola, as well as tea and hot chocolate. In cold weather her crew are served hot bouillon at 11 a.m., hot soup at 4 p.m.
FIGARO III, Westport, Conn.
A "Happy Hour" immediately before dinner is a racing tradition on board William T. Snaith's 47-foot yawl. At 5 p.m. the mate or navigator concocts a mixture of rum and fruit juice, and there are snacks for the occasion. Everyone is limited to one tall drink. It is a time of relaxation and storytelling. Snaith says that a man off watch would rather participate in Happy Hour than catch an extra hour of sleep.
INTERLUDE, St. Petersburg, Fla.
Roland Becker believes that breakfast is the most important meal to a racing sailor. Regular way to begin the day aboard his 40-foot cutter is with scrambled eggs, bacon and coffee. In choppy seas, slices of ham substitute for bacon to avoid the hazard of flying grease in the galley.
IVANHOE II, Toronto
In common with a great many skippers, Ray Engholm likes to take aboard precooked roasts for heating up during a race. His staple: boneless rib roast. The cold beef is great for midnight snacks and comes in very handy in a blow.
ZINZIN, New Orleans
Roy M. Watson (see opposite page) likes to titillate the appetites of his crew with a couple of seafood dishes that he prepares himself. "Zinzin salad" features fresh Louisiana shrimp boiled in salt water. His "seagoing gumbo," which combines shrimp, whole crabs and oysters with ham, vegetables and seasoning, is cooked before the race, goes to sea in a pressure cooker (leakproof in the roughest weather) to be reheated at mealtime.
SEA FEVER, Seattle
Skipper Ben Gardner is strong for instant coffee, but adds a soupcon of salt to it. "Gives it the taste of coffee made right from the bean," he says.
EGRET, Wilmington, Del.
C. Porter Schutt recommends bland food on the first day at sea. After the typical late-noon racing start, his crew lunches on unspiced ham or beef sandwiches. Along with these goes a "Schutt special cocktail" of half milk and half vichyssoise, served cold but not ice-cold. If the "cocktail" doesn't find favor with jittery stomachs, cold bouillon is available.
SEADRIFT, Balboa, Calif.
Lyman Farwell's 85-foot schooner offers the luxury of an electric refrigerator and 400-pound-capacity freezer. His wife Catherine, ship's cook in the Honolulu race, can vary the menu with different meats and frozen vegetables for eight days at sea before repeating the first day's meal. There are cocktails before dinner every night, and cold beer any time at all.