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 sailboat galley equipment 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 my prized galley supplies and, for fun, three that everyone keeps telling me I should love, but just can’t find the heart for. Enjoy!
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Storage equipment for your galley
1The Sistema “Bake It” Storage Containers are one of my best boat galley storage solutions. 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 it easy to grab and they easily stack so you can cram in a bunch in a small space.
2I love going to the Annapolis Boat Show to discover fun new galley tools. 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.
Boat Cooking Equipment That Makes Cooking on a Sailboat Easier
3I originally purchased my stovetop griddle pan during an accidental move back to land, but it fits perfectly on our Hillerange 3 burner stovetop. 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.
5Our next dock neighbors gifted us this awesome Bodum Salt & Pepper grinder (similar here) 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 for boat cookware, 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.
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
10One of my favorite sailboat galley accessories 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.
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:
Most sailors swear by Corelle for their sailboat dinnerware. “Oh, they feel like real plates!,” “I just can’t bear to use plastic,” “They are unbreakable boat dishes!” 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.
Everyone swears you need a double galley sink. 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 boat galley 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 have a few sailboat galley ideas you would prefer:
- Kim from Lahowind shares her faves in galley gear!
- Brittany from Windtraveler talks about her Top 10 Galley Gadgets
- Cheryl from Good Ship Monster spells out the Favorites in Their Galley
- Melissa from Little Cunning Plan introduces a few new winners in her Galley Product Wins post
- And, the one stop shop for all things galley – The Boat Galley
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!
Updated July 2019. Originally published in January 2017.