You are here: Home / Boating / Yacht charter tips: provisioning guide
November 12, 2022 IntersailClub
Yacht charter tips: provisioning guide

Yacht charter tips: provisioning guide


INTERSAILCLUB’S mission is to offer incredible sailing vacations by connecting you with like-minded travelers and unique sailing experiences.  Although you may all have a passion for dancing the night away or be wine connoisseurs, we can almost guarantee that not everyone on your boat will have the same food preferences.

Our team of professional consultants have collected unique, global travel experiences to help you find your ideal holiday destination.  When booking on our site, there are various choices to suit all budgets and personalities, including the option of having your own personal chef.

The on-board chef will act as a guru to guide you on an exploration of the local cuisine and delicacies, cooking up a storm while you enjoy soaking up the sun, and enjoying a glass of wine with you as he takes your taste buds on a tour.


Although having a chef on board has it’s perks, many people love to cook, especially as it allows you to experiment with local products and flavors not available back home. Cooking is not only a way of being creative; it is also a fun way to bond with your fellow crew members.  Even if you don’t have a chef on board, your skipper will always be on hand to guide you to the best local markets and grocery stores (not to mention showing you the best beaches, dive sites and cultural hot spots!)

When it comes to provisioning your galley, there are 5 main options to choose from or combine:

1.)   Chef on board – some yachts offer you a chef on board.  They will send you a form to fill out your preferences and allergies so that they can prepare food that you enjoy.  The chef will then stock the galley according to your preferences and his experience, and you can add to it by purchasing your favourite snacks and extras from the local stores/markets.  Having a chef on board means you have fresh local cuisine cooked by a trained chef/cook, giving you more time to enjoy your sailing experience. Crew and encouraged to join in with the cooking, and can cook as little or as much as they like.


 2.)   Charter Company – great for when you charter the entire yacht as you will have to order in advance.  The company will usually have a form where you fill out any preferences, allergies, number of people and approximate number of meals you wish to eat aboard.  You can also decide on whether to request them to stock the galley for all meals or only breakfast and lunches. The advantage is that they have a lot of experience provisioning the boat and are unlikely to miss something important.  The disadvantage is that you don’t get to pick exactly what you want and may miss out the fun of discovering local products

 3.)   Order in advance – in some destinations, the charter company or skipper will be able to recommend local grocery stores that take orders in advance and deliver to the dock.  This saves a lot of time and can be less expensive, depending on the supplier.  Always check that all items you have paid for have been delivered and find out if you can take back unused items.  For this to work, you will need to be rather organized, but in most places you can compliment the ordered items with ingredients bought locally.

4.) Local Grocery stores – make a list and head to the local stores.  Although it may be fun to go as a group, it makes more sense to nominate one or two people to do the shopping.  Shopping locally allows you to take time to read labels see exactly what you are buying.  It can be time consuming and frustrating if you don’t find exactly what you are looking for.  Be flexible and remember that your meal plan is an idea and your will most likely find local products to experiment with (you may even change the entire meal plan!)

5.) Local markets – these are fun to browse and offer local (sometimes very exotic) fruits, vegeta

bles, preserves, spices and fresh breads.  Take some time to browse thro

ugh the stalls and check for the freshest produce then put your bargaining skills to the test. Supporting the local community is also a great way to get local insight into their way of life and how they prepare local dishes.  Be careful to wash all your fruits and vegetables before putting them into your fridges to avoid contamination.  If you are looking at buying meat or fish, consult your skipper beforehand to point you to the best fishmongers or butcheries.



If you have opted to book a boat without a chef there are a few considerations.  The first thing to consider when making a provisioning list is the crew and the destination.  It sounds obvious, but it will change considerably if you are traveling with children and teenagers.  It also makes a big

difference if the crew is made up of active men who like to indulge, or women who usually nibble throughout the day.  Here are a few other considerations:

  • What provisioning services are available?

  • Are there local grocery stores and restaurants along the way?

  • What are the regional specialties?

  • What currencies are accepted and do you need cash or are there card facilities?

  • How many meals will you eat on board and how many meals will you eat out?

  • How much time to you want to spend in the galley?

  • Do any of the crew have special dietary needs?

  • What cooking facilities are onboard? Stove, oven, BBQ?

  • How much onboard refrigeration and freezer space will you have?

  • What equipment is aboard?

It may sound overwhelming, but here are a few tips which will make your trip smooth and simple:

Planning ahead

Remember these words : “The odds of going to the store for a loaf of bread and coming out with only a loaf of bread are three billion to one.”- Erma Bombeck; it’s all about the planning.

Plan in advance, especially if you book the yacht as a group. If you are strangers meeting the day you leave, it is a great way to get to know each other.  Get together and let everyone put in their favourite breakfast, lunch and snacks.  Then split up the dinners among the crew, giving each person/couple one or two dinners to prepare and leave a few nights to eat out. Write down the ingredients and check for duplicates.  Pool together money and go shopping – this can be done by the entire group, or you can nominate a few people

Decide on simple and quick meals, you do not want to spend your evenings below decks slaving away while everyone is enjoying the sunset.  Also limit the amount of dishes; unless you can convince the only person that doesn’t like cooking to do the dishes each night.

INTERSAIL IMAGES - Dropbox - Google Chrome_2012-10-08_19-00-43

If you are going alone or as a couple, try to have at least  two dishes that you can make.  If you don’t like cooking, hop in and help with the dishes, setting the table, or play bartender so that you do your part.

Embrace regional specialty foods; part of the experience is experimenting with local flavors. Do some research beforehand so you have an idea on what may be available and how to prepare it.

Ask the skipper, charter companies and fellow sailors to recommend shops, markets and restaurants.  They will be able to introduce you to the best local delicacies, teach you some unique recipes and advise you which restaurant will make you long to return.

Check the galley equipment before you head to the shops.  Galleys are usually very simple and do not have all of your electronic equipment you have at home, although you will still be able to prepare delicious meals.

Shopping Spree

You can often buy fresh bread at some of the local restaurants, bakeries or markets.  If not, keep your bread in the fridge to keep it fresh for longer.  Breads like sourdough, ciabatta and tortillas last much longer than store bought bread and provide a good variety.

Have a snack bin with a bag of snacks for each day.  Everyone can help themselves, but once they are done for the day, that’s it. This is great for when you have kids on board, it means that they don’t over-indulge and that you don’t run out on day 3 and have to go shopping again.

If you are travelling with kids, remember to plan for them to eat more than they usually do.  A day spent exploring, swimming and snorkelling uses a lot of energy and they can eat almost double what they usually do.  Snacks like fruit and granola bars are great, but let them indulge every now and then as they are on holiday after all.

Purchase vacuum packed meat if possible, it takes up less space and keeps fresh for longer.

Buy canned drinks and not glass where possible.  These are far easier to pack when full, and can be crushed when empty to take up less space in the trash.

Remember that you will not find exactly what you have at home, be flexible with your meal plan and learn to improvise.  Although this may be seen as a disadvantage, to the adventurer, trying new ingredients is all part of the fun!


Use a hard sided cooler on deck for ice, water and drinks to prevent people from opening up the boat’s fridge unnecessarily during the day.

Pack the fridge with the most perishable goods on the top and plan your meals so that you use these foods within the first few days. Things that need to be kept colder for longer should be nearest the cold plate or block of ice.

Fridges on board aren’t the same as the one you have at home.  Many have no exact temperature control and only cool when the motor is running.  The fridge may not be as cold as you expect, or may  have colder areas at the bottom or sides, but you will soon learn to compensate for this.

Don’t be tempted to overstock frozen foods. Although it does keep your fridge colder, no matter how well maintained the boats are, boat are not designed like the one you have at home and some frozen food may spoil.

INTERSAIL IMAGES - Dropbox - Google Chrome_2012-10-08_19-01-49

Some people like to plan and label all their foods.  Although some people think this is going overboard, it does make life easier.  Packing items that will be used for a meal together limits your preparation time and gives you an extra few minutes on deck appreciating the sunset.

Don’t load up on tins; chances are that you may not even use them.  Always have a few items like canned tuna, chickpeas and soups on hand as they can be used to make a meal in a flash, but keep it simple.

Ziploc bags are great to keep things organized and if anything does get wet or leak, the bags contain the mess and make cleaning the fridge far simpler.

Be organized, storage space is very limited and things need to be stowed away safely and securely.  There are bilges and cupboards to maximize storing dry items, additional water and drinks.


You are going to have to carry your trash with you for a day or two until you find a place to dispose of it.  In some marina’s you may also have to pay for refuse removal, so keep this in mind when shopping. Buy cans that can be crushed, throw away excess cardboard and boxes before you leave and limit unnecessary packaging. Remember to reuse or recycle as much as you possibly can!

Guidelines to meal planning

Breakfasts– plan a buffet type breakfast with cereals, bagels, muffins, fruits, fresh bread, cold meats, cheese, locally grown tomatoes, olives, cucumbers, jams and preserves.  You can also have one or two warm breakfasts such as eggs and bacon or buy premixed pancake mixtures for a quick, delicious breakfast.  If you have day old bread, use it to make French Toast; always a hit with kids.

Lunches – think sandwiches, salads, wraps, quiche or picnic style food which is easy to prepare as you may be sailing or moored in a small bay that may not be as sheltered as the harbors you overnight in.

Dinners – this is where your planning really comes in.  You can split them up among the couples or individuals on a trip and have a few nights to eat out.  Use the BBQ on board to cook a variety of meals, from fish and meats to kebabs and roast vegetables.  You can pair this with salads and fresh breads.  The advantage of cooking on the grill is that it is far cooler and the “chef” can hang out with the rest of the crew. Other quick meals include pastas, salads, quiche and cous cous.

Sun-downer nibbles –after a long day of swimming and snorkelingsun-downers are a great way to unwind and connect with your fellow crew while you wait for dinner.  Things like chips, crackers, cold meats, cheeses, grapes, olives and fresh fruits are ideal for a light evening nibble, although you can be far more adventurous and prepare a tapas feast.

Drinks – remember things like coffee and tea; in warm weather, coffee and tea drinking is limited, you still need to fulfill the needs of the caffeine addicts aboard.   Make a list of sodas, juices, water, beer, wine and spirits needed.  Plan at least 2l of water per person per day and look for locally produced beers, wines and liquors which may be far more reasonably priced than imported drinks. You will definitively drink more soda and beer than you do at home, so take this into consideration.

Ice – You will start out with quite a bit of ice and can usually buy ice in various shops along the way.  Buy some solid blocks to line the bottom of the fridge as well as the cooler as these take longer to melt.

Condiments – remember to get salt and pepper, oil, butter, herbs, spices and sauces.  You can perhaps look at bringing small containers or Ziploc bags of spices with you from home, but depending on where you are travelling to and from, airport security may have a few odd questions for you.

Sundry supplies – don’t forget things like paper towels, toilet paper, garbage bags, and Ziploc bags.  Also check if you need to buy basic cleaning supplies such as dish washing liquid, cloths etc.  (Try to buy biodegradable soaps if possible)

Look out for the next blog post with tantalizing recipes based on two of our favorite foodie experiences; the Cous Cous cruise – a week long cruise through the Aegean Islands to taste the flavors of the annual Cous Cous festival, and the Wine and Sail cruise  taking you on a journey along the Italian coastline to do wine tasting with a difference!


Margot Jefferson


About IntersailClub