Cruising Tips: Two Tricks for Homesteading on Your Boat - Sail Magazine

Cruising Tips: Two Tricks for Homesteading on Your Boat

Sailors have always been a self-reliant bunch. Now, here are two tips for producing and preserving your own provisions on board
Author:
Updated:
Original:

Sailors have always been a self-reliant bunch. Now, here are two tips for producing and preserving your own provisions on board.

1. A Little Culture

Live cultured foods taste good and are good for you. From sourdough to yogurt to mozzarella cheese, these foods are low tech and easily made again and again—even on your sailboat.

Yogurt has become one of our favorite homemade foods on board because it’s difficult to get in remote areas and can be used as a base for so many recipes. All you need to make yogurt is powdered milk, a live yogurt culture, warmth (a good thermos will do) and patience.

“The Boat Galley” (theboatgalley.com) contains some excellent yogurt-making recipes, with easy step-by-step instructions. Author Carolyn Shearlock says, “The most common mistake is guessing at the milk temperature. Too hot kills the culture, and too cool won’t let it grow.” She emphasizes that if you’re serious about making yogurt and cheese, you should spend a few dollars on a thermometer.

Probiotic drinks, like kombucha, are another excellent make-on-board item. Cruiser Behan Gifford (follow her on Sailfeed.com) and her family have cruised from Seattle to the Indian Ocean and tried to make as much as possible from scratch along the way—kombucha, they say, is their special treat. “We brew it first and foremost because it’s yummy. Of course, it’s also ascribed with a pile of health benefits,” she says.

The recipe is as easy as pouring water or tea in a glass jar, adding culture and some sugar, and letting it sit in a secure place for 7-10 days. Behan keeps her kombucha on the cabin sole in the center of her Stevens 47 just forward of the mast. “If things get really boisterous, we tie it to the mast with webbing,” Behan says.

2. Let it Grow

Living on board with my family, I’ve begun to experiment with a new sort of self-reliance: onboard agriculture. Herbs in little pots are just the beginning when it comes to what can be grown on your boat. Tomatoes, peas, spinach and even strawberries are all easily grown in small pots of soil, which can be kept on deck in a calm and sunny area. Planning to be on the move? Cruiser Laureen Hudson showed me an ingenious growing system for butter lettuce aboard her Lagoon 48 catamaran. She combined a basic door shoe rack, some empty Vitamin Water plastic bottles, and handfuls of fertilized potting soil to create a vertical hanging garden in her cockpit.

“When we were underway, we took the plants from outside, put them in the shoe rack, and hung it in the head to protect the plants from the salt water. Once we were anchored again, we moved it back out to the cockpit.”

In addition, green onions, celery and Romaine lettuce can be grown hydroponically by cutting the root end and simply sitting the plants in a small cup of fresh water; no soil required.

Keep in mind that gardening on board isn’t always practical when cruising from country to country, as many customs agents tend to frown upon bringing live plants in from outside their borders. Be sure to check regulations before crossing borders with your floating garden.

Photos by Laureen Hudson

Related

04-GOPR0511

Book Review: Sailing Into Oblivion

Sailing Into Oblivion by Jerome Rand $15.99, available through Amazon As refreshing and inspiring as Jerome Rand’s 2017-18 solo-circumnavigation may have been, his account of the voyage in the book Sailing Into Oblivion: The Solo Non-Stop Voyage of the Mighty Sparrow may be even ...read more

01-1970-Dec

50 Years of SAIL

Back in early 1970, Bernie Goldhirsh and the recently founded “Institute for the Advancement of Sailing,” publisher of an annual sailboat and gear guide, launched something called SAIL. A half-century later, a look back at the magazine’s first few years provides a glimpse into a ...read more

Photo-by-Adobe-Stockpics721-2048x

Webinar: Navigating Post-Dorian Abaco

On Thursday, October 22 at 6 pm ET, Navigare Yachting presents a webinar on what to expect from Abaco post-Dorian. The event will feature the authors of The Cruising Guide to Abaco, Steve Dodge and his sons Jon and Jeff.Hurricane Dorian hit Abaco in early September of 2019 and ...read more

LunaRossaBoat2

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Christens “Boat 2”

Hot on the heels of the UK’s Britannia and the United States’ Patriot, Italy’s new AC75 Luna Rossa, formerly known as Boat 2, was christened in Auckland, New Zealand, this morning. As the moniker suggests, it was Team Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli’s second design. In his christening ...read more

m7803_DSCF6698-1

Challengers Christen Britannia and Patriot

October 16 proved an exciting day for America’s Cup fans with the christening of both the UK’s Britannia and America’s Patriot. Britannia will be helmed by four-time Olympic gold medalist and America’s Cup winner Sir Ben Ainslie. Olympic Gold medalist Giles Scott will serve as ...read more

HookPromo

Defender Product Spotlight: Lowrance Hook Reveal

Defender product expert Alex Lyons explains the benefits of HOOK Reveal’s new FishReveal technology: “DownScan sonar uses high frequencies to provide a picture-like image of the sea floor. The traditional sonar’s lower frequencies are best suited for locating fish in the water ...read more

701820_promo

Defender Product Spotlight: Lumitec Poco Lighting Control

Several key features of the Lumitec Poco Lighting Control system stand out right away. First, it is a 2-wire system, so the average wiring-savvy boater can install or retrofit the controls without an engineering degree. Second, it works with any Power Line Instruction (PLI) ...read more

Isotherm

Defender Product Spotlight: Isotherm Refrigeration Component System

Retrofitting a refrigeration cooling system has never been easier thanks to Isotherm’s quick mount bracket. And installation is more than half the fun of boat projects, right? These refrigeration component systems also have one of the smallest footprints on the market, and the ...read more