Favorite Galley Items for Your Sailboat

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13 must have products for your sailboat galley
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Outfitting your perfect galley is a constantly evolving process. After nearly four years aboard I think I have it all figured out, and then I discover some new life-changing item that I just have to have. What worked for Chance may not be the best option for Chancelot. It’s personal and varies by what kind of sailing you are doing. What you use most often as a dockside liveaboard will certainly be different from what you favor as you cross an ocean. Below is a list of 13 of my prized galley items and, for fun, three that everyone keeps telling me I should love, but just can’t find the heart for. Enjoy!

Storage equipment for your galley

1The Sistema “Bake It” Storage Containers are my new galley obsession. Airtight with double clip secured tops, these come in different “baking” sizes that fit a whole bag of whatever they are designed for – flour, sugar, powdered sugar, etc. Don’t let the names limit your storage imagination, they are also a great fit for other dry goods. I currently have one for rice (in the flour size) and oatmeal (in the brown sugar size.) They come with a handy measuring cup that stays in the container so you never have to go searching for one. I find that these waste a lot less space than my Lock & Lock containers and seem to be a better overall fit in my current galley. The molded handles make is easy to grab and they easily stack so you can cram in a bunch in a small space.

Sistema containers and Gripstics are great storage items for your galley
Sistema containers and Gripstics keep my dry goods cabinet organized and the items easily accessible.

2I love going to the Annapolis Boat Show to discover fun new miracle items. Gripstics are one of those items. They slide on to any bag creating an airtight seal for chips, coffee, frozen veggies, etc. They come in all different sizes for all your sealing needs. Just fold the bag over and slide on the Gripstics. I’ve personally found them great at holding up to freezer temps without cracking.

Gear That Makes Galley Cooking Easier

3I originally purchased my stove top griddle pan during an accidental move back to land, but it fits perfectly on our Hillerange 3 burner stove top. It makes prepping a big breakfast of bacon, pancakes and eggs so much easier with the increased cook space. I only wish it distributed the heat more evenly. But, I guess that is what you get for $15. Just keep an eye on what is cooking, and move around as needed.

4I don’t fry a lot when cooking but sometimes you have to whip up a batch of conch fritters. When duty calls I try my best to keep the scalding oil in the pan. I’ve found traditional splatter guards to be really difficult to clean and the metal mesh screens just don’t hold up to a marine environment. I wasn’t even looking for anything specific while browsing the aisles of TJ Maxx (but when are you really?) when I stumbled upon a silicone splatter guard. It can easily be wiped down and because it’s silicone it won’t rust. It also doesn’t have a handle, but tabs, so it stores a lot easier.

A 2-in-1 salt and pepper shaker and pan with built in colander make cooking on a sailboat much easier.
Our Bodum salt and pepper shaker and pan with built in colander make cooking on board much easier.

5Our next dock neighbors Gus and John gifted us this awesome Bodum Salt & Pepper grinder when we helped them break into their dock box and we haven’t used anything else since. Turn left for salt and right for pepper. It is easy to refill and takes up less space on the table than two separate grinders. The grinders are made of ceramic so no worry about them rusting, either.

6So many sailors swear by Magma nesting pots and pans, but I really don’t find it that difficult to stack my regular pans. Granted I have never tried the nesting set, but I really don’t think I would enjoy living without my Analon pot with the colander built into the lid. It’s not too big, not too small and whenever it is clean gets used for every meal I seem to make. And, who doesn’t love one less dish to wash?

Essential Baking Items for Your Sailboat Galley

7As someone who loves baking I never seem to have parchment paper on hand so I have thoroughly enjoyed the invention of silicone baking mats. They are great for keeping your cookies, pizza, whatever from sticking to the pan and are a lot easier to clean than a baking sheet with cooked on Pam stuck to it. I just cut them to size for my smaller boat sized baking sheets.

I hung our silicone pot holders with Command hooks aboard Chance.

8There isn’t a whole lot to say about my silicone pot holders except that I love them. They don’t get moist from the salt air, don’t fade and if you spill anything on them they easily rinse off. Bonus that they can help open stubborn jar lids, too.

9I first found stackable cooling racks while living in my 244 sq ft Brooklyn studio. That apartment was where I really started to master small space living. I love to bake and these took up exactly all the counter space I had, but allowed me to cool multiple batches of cookies at a time. For some reason these didn’t make the cut when we first moved aboard but I recently bought a new set. They can be used individually or stacked three high. Perfect for any boat baker.

Products for Cleaning Up Your Galley

10My next favorite galley item is my Lunatec Scrubr. They are rough enough to get off really caked on food, but gentle enough not to ruin your stuff. The best part is they never EVER smell and food particles don’t get stuck in it which can really gross me out. Ever since I tried these on The Boat Galley’s recommendation I haven’t looked back. (Editors note: Jason hates these for some reason, so they aren’t for everyone.)

Beverage Items for Your Sailboat Galley

11A lot of sailors swear by the AeroPress but this girl prefers her French press. I find it the easiest way to make good coffee. I’m a two cup kind of girl and like making more than one at a time. I also love making iced coffee. Just fill it with coffee, add water, and put in the fridge for at least 12 hours. When it’s ready, just push the plunger down. Easy, peasy. The biggest complaint I hear is that cleaning up the press is messy but I don’t agree. Just make sure there is a little water in it, swirl it around and pour it overboard. I currently have a Bodum with a glass beaker. In all my time aboard I have only broken one. I have a spare (just in case!) aboard and when I finally go through that I will invest in their stainless model.

Avex products are great for a sailboat
Avex wine glasses kept this really gross wine cold while we were on a mooring at Block Island this past summer.

12I shared my love of Avex products in my holiday gift list this year but these deserve another mention. Their thermoses keep water icy in 100 degree temps and coffee warm in freezing weather. I can’t get enough of them. [TIP: if you decide to use one thermos for both, be sure to rinse with boiling water to get the coffee flavor off the stainless.] Avex also makes really great insulated cups as well. We first tried the wine glasses. We loved how cold they kept our drinks but they were top heavy and easily knocked over. Not great for a swaying sailboat. We now have their Sundowner Rocks Glasses and like them a lot more. I also love how fitting the name is.

13We have a fridge that is shaped to our hull, which means it is curved. That doesn’t leave a lot of space for typical ice trays. I love these individual Tovolo Sphere Ice Molds. I admit they are a bit on the pricey side, but one of these spheres can last several drinks. Being that they are individual spheres, they can fit in to smaller spaces along the hull where a full tray just cant. They also are completely covered (outside of a small hole on top) so you don’t have to worry about gunk getting into your ice. Shout out to Sail Me Om for sharing this find with me.

Items You Don’t Need for Your Galley

And because I like to be a leader, and not just follow what everyone else says, here are three things I’m supposed to like but really hate:

Beware of Corelle dishes on your sailboat - they CAN break.
Eating off our Corelle dishes before they shattered while doing some freelance work aboard Chance

Most sailors swear by Corelle. “Oh, they feel like real plates!,” “I just can’t bear to use plastic,” “They can’t break!” Well I am here to tell you that they certainly can break, and when they do they will shatter into a million teeny tiny pieces that I guarantee will continue to get lodged into the bottom of your foot for at least a month. Just trust me. And you know what, I have no problem eating off of Melamine plates. I actually love the designs that the Threshold Target line comes out with each summer. They also have great serving plates and bowls which are perfect for entertaining.

A double sink in a sailboat galley
Our double sink aboard Chance, our 34′ Seafarer

Everyone swears you need a double sink in your galley. So, based purely on blog and forum recommendations from other cruisers, we got one for Chance. I hated it. Each basin is tiny and you really can’t rinse off anything sizeable. Chancelot has a single larger basin and I. LOVE. IT. In my opinion there is no reason to ever need that stupid tiny double sink set up.

I really wanted to like the Govino wine glasses. They’ve gotten rave reviews from countless bloggers, but I just don’t like them. They are great when they are full, but as soon as you drink anything they get too light and easily get blown over with any amount of wind. And, any night with our sailing buddies leads to a lot of empty glasses. This boat needs something a little more solid.

Other Sailors’ Favorite Galley Equipment

If you don’t like what I have to say, maybe one of these blogs is more in line with your preferences:

So, what do you think? Anything life altering you’ve discovered that I should add to my list? Or, if you’ve written a post about the topic that you think I should check out and add to my list, comment below with a link!

17 COMMENTS

  1. I absolutely agree with you on the double sinks! I hate them too! As for the GoVino glasses…they all went in the trash and I now have proper stemless glasses…I do live on a catamaran though! LOL

  2. Thanks for the great ideas. My galley is still coming together. I agree with NOT needing the double sink. I have ine big one and I’m happy with that.

  3. To be honest, I though, “oh no, another list of products I should buy for my galley, list”. But this was a unique list and loved the items you listed, especially the Alex glasses. Also agree with the sink and those Govino wine glasses! Thanks for the ideas!

    • Thanks for the love – I tried to keep it a bit more unexpected. Do I love my manual coffee grinder while on the hook – absolutely! But, I wanted this to be things you may not think of 🙂

  4. Great post. I like how its not the same old stuff. A cooking essential for me is my ninja 3-in-1 cooker. Changed my life cooking on the boat. We didn’t have an oven and I was on the hunt for a crockpot so this made warm meals & baked goods a reality.

  5. Really nice list. Re the storage containers, I just went with the OXXO 10-piece set, replacing an acrylic set which had become badly rusted in 3 years. But no handles. And not baking oriented. Plus I’m in Mexico and the packages are metric! I’ll keep yours in mind.

    • I started with the OXO containers and ended up throwing them all away. The lids did not hold up well for us and literally could just pull off unpopped. Also, I had one shatter by barely hitting the edge of a counter while I was holding it. They work great for some people, but didn’t for us.

  6. Something to actually avoid…place mats that are too artsy and uneven…better to get some of those beautiful silicone mats that can double as non-skid surface. I saw some on Amazon that were the shape of banana leaves!

  7. Great post Kelley! I just bought an Aeropress because I hate cleaning out our French press. It will be interesting to see if it’s as great as everyone seems to think it is or if we just end up going back to using our French press.

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