Provisioning – Una Parte


pro·vi·sion – noun

  1. the providing or supplying of something, especially of food or other necessities.
  2. arrangement or preparation beforehand, as for the doing of something, the meeting of needs, the supplying of means, etc.

If you would of asked me 6 months ago what provisioning was I would have had no idea. And, now, I find myself struggling with exactly how many cans of Spam I should plan to have on board (editor note: Spam is for illustrative purposes only as I will not be stooping to Spam levels). Exactly how fast do you use up a bar of Dove soap? Is there a formula I can use that factors in whether or not I’ll want to shave my legs more since I’ll be in a bathing suit every day, or less given many days the only things I’ll come into contact with are Jason and the dogs? Just how much stuff do I really need without overpacking? After all, a boat is a tiny space to share with someone – even if you do love him more than anything (the dogs are a close second).

I haven’t even begun to list the food items I’ll need on board and we already have 99 line items! I am listing every item I can think of that I may potentially find comforting to have (personal mental note: add tweezers to provisioning list – now at a round 100 items). Not all these items will take up a ton of space, but they will still need to be accounted for.

I just finished reading The Care and Feeding of the Sailing Crew by Lin and Larry Pardy and I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed. While the book was incredibly helpful in making sure I understood just how to build an ice chest that kept my frozen food icy and how to keep eggs fresh 30 days into your cross Pacific journey, there is just so much you have to do and learn just to prepare to go. The book suggests that you provision for 50% longer than your journey. For an estimated 6 month trip, that means I’d have to have food on board for 9 months! Where the heck am I going to put all that food? A girl’s got to have space for her shoes! I know I’ll have chances to stock up in major ports, but some items just aren’t available in the Caribbean (example, SPF 100,000 that graces the shelves in the States). And the proper storage containers for keeping your food fresh and as long as possible are not cheep. Fifteen dollars here and $20 there really starts to add up.

For my own personal provisioning I started our work-in-progress provisioning list with items that I already am familiar with and that are very near and dear to my heart – my shoes. Now, understand this was not an easy task. Going from over 50 pairs down to the eight I will bring aboard is no easy feat. I know eight pairs of shoes on a boat may seem excessive, but hear me out. In our travels I imagine I will need these shoes for my shoe happiness:

  1. Boat Shoes – obviously
  2. Foul Weather Boots – I don’t even think these should count since they will likely be ugly and truly only sported for function during inclement weather. Think wellies, on steroids
  3. Flip Flops – for use on land
  4. Hiking/Water Shoes – for fun excursions through jungles, over mountains and in caves- OH, MY!
  5. Sandals – when I want to look slightly more put together
  6. Heels – I’m taking a pair with me and I don’t care what you have to say about it. I’m holding on to the fact that J may want to take me out dancing or I get invited to a fun soiree that all the sailing books seem to mention.
  7. Running Shoes – girl has to stay in shape if she’s going to be in a swimsuit nearly 24/7.
  8. Toms – If my feet hurt and I need a little more coverage on my feet than flip flops offer.

As I get further down the road with my full provisioning list I’ll be sure to share my progress with you. My next project is making us a new dodger, which should be an interesting adventure in it’s own right!

If you are interested in buying off any of my unneeded, but very loved, shoes you can check out what’s available here. All proceeds go to fund this crazy adventure.


  1. Depending on when you leave and where you’re sailing your stores and so forth will vary… a lot. I always left for the south late in the season (about now) and so needed warm clothes and heat. Shiva had an Espar diesel fired forced air system which really keeps the boat toasty. But the heavy sailing clothes and sweaters, jeans and so forth were never used in the Carib… not even in Bermuda. Once you are cruising about down there you have no rush and can pick your weather window… even though most of its fine and never deal with foulies and so forth. But if you do…you’ll want very light weight ones…
    I never wore socks or shoes except my Sebagos… lots of shorts and basic T’s. Obviously females need and want more. Many sailing ones seem to like sort of light weight stretchy sheath dresses which probably need no ironing etc… look great and probably can be rolled in a ball and tossed in a locker. I think it’s the stretchy fabric which is the key.
    Heels? I love them but back then I didn’t see them on the ladies… maybe things have changed. It’s a very very informal lifestyle. Larger places like Guadaloupe had clubs and a semblance of the civilization I left behind. Very different cultures but very delightful. I think you’ll be fine with some make up and some nice jewely to step it up a notch.
    Not great for food provisions… the French islands are different. Some places are awful for fresh produce and meats and so forth. But with the big yachts cruising there they do need provisions and so good stuff can be found. You don’t need to store much and shop frequently… make simple meals. I had refrigeration but never bothered with ice… you can buy or get it for drinks at bars.
    For passage I prepared many pre cooked meals frozen in zio lock bags and filled the ice box/reefer and worked my way from top to bottom. It worked for a *delivery* crew of 5 with a cockpit cooler for drinks. I got similar frozen meals made for me by contacting a hotel in Bermuda. This was a very appetizing and easy way to handle the food thing for passage as each package was for a single person/meal… Just boil the pouch… maybe add some rice and voila!
    There’s lots of material now to be found in cruiser’s blogs.
    Good luck!