Book Review: The Care and Feeding of Sailing Crew

I just finished The Care and Feeding of Sailing Crew, by Lin and Larry Pardey

This book is definitely famous among the sailing crew, and I was itching for a read along the domestic topics.

Parts of the book were tough and I skipped right through them – they were simply not relevant too us, such as:

Sailing with out refrigeration – this is not a terrible concern for us. I was actually surprised at how much refrigeration space the Helia has. She has two pull out drawers, just to the right of the main entrance. Above that there is space for either a fridge or a freezer. Then, outside, there is an outdoor fridge, plus a space for the choice of either another fridge or an ice maker. Unless the whole boat is out of power, we have plenty of refrigeration. Most of the meals in the book were assuming you had no fresh meat. I do plan on cooking some meals like that but not all.

Building an ice chest (to make up for lack of refrigeration) – see above.

Sail races and preparing food for the crew – my captain races, but short races on significantly smaller craft. We have no plans to race with Starry Horizons.  (Captain’s Note – We’ll see…)

Gimbal stoves in a galley – one of the best things about catamarans and one of the many reasons we are cat snobs – we don’t have to worry about heeling nearly as much as a monohull.

Limited storage space – Lin and Larry spend most of their time talking about Seraffyn – a 24′ monohull. Our space is probably at least 5x the amount of space they had.

No working restrooms – this is why I could not cruise on a small boat. I don’t even like camping unless here is a public restroom. That does not include a port-o-potty. I am spoiled.

No engines – this part meant if the wind died or if you heaved-to, you were making no progress towards land. We will have not one but 2 engines, and my captain is an able bodied tinkerer!

Water storage and rationing – we will probably still try to catch rainwater and will definitely have a water-maker on board, but Starry Horizons has about 200 gallons of water storage. Lin recommends 1.5 gallons per person per day for island hopping (66.67 days for 2 people) or .5 gallons per person day for offshore use (200 days!). That difference is people island hopping tend to be in and out of the water more and require rinse offs, plus water in marinas tends to be dirtier, so if if you are offshore, salt water rinsing is an option for cleaning the decks, etc.

Some parts were extremely relevant:

Provisioning in foreign ports – I have done some research on this before and will probably keep some printouts that will be handy, such as metric to English conversions and Spanish and French words for common food items. I like shopping, I like cooking, I like exploring and I like unusual foods. I can not wait to eat locally on the trip!

Keeping food with and without refrigeration – this bit boggled my mind. My current job requires overseeing several commercial kitchens. I know that restaurant food prep is very meticulous – an exercise I do not extend to my own home. Everything I make is kept as leftovers and not thrown away until it looks bad, smells bad, or tastes bad. My goodness, are we spoiled. Lin often leaves food on the stove to keep and simply reheats it for a few days in a row. She has a lot of food on board with no refrigeration that the normal American would throw away after sitting on the counter for too long. Examples would be eggs and cheeses. Also, she discusses dealing with mold on meats and cheeses with a simple vinegar cleaning.

Meal plans – Lin cooks a bit like I do, pick your protein out and then wing it from there. Meal planning will be important out on crossings to make sure we both stay happy.

Bedding and watches – this is an area that needs more research. Lin and Larry did a 3 x 3 rotation, but that sounds like not enough deep sleep. Maybe I am wrong. We will find out when we bring Starry Horizons to the states! They also had to be very picky about not getting their bunks damp. Their smaller space made it more difficult to dry off before hitting the sack.

Social life and entertaining – I can’t wait to experience the cruising lifestyle – making friends in every port and bumping into people we know in remote parts of the world, miles from where we saw them last. She provides tips for pot lucks and basic cruiser etiquette.

Cooking equipment – Lin briefly touched on pressure cookers – she said she never uses one! That was also the verdict in the videos from Live Antares. I have a pressure cooker, given to me by a cruiser. I have yet to use it though.

Baking bread – Lin also talked about baking bread as a highlight of a passage. I can understand why – the smell of baking bread makes me happy at home, I can see morale boosting potential.

Fishing – Lin and Larry didn’t fish much, or at least that’s the impression I got. Lin was squeamish about handling the fish they did catch. But fresh fish is one of the things I look forward to most. I will have to find another book to learn more about fishing!

Overall, I really enjoyed the book. Reading about sailing makes me wish the time would move faster. If you have a sailing themed book you recommend, let me know!

About the Author
Amy's family has a long, storied history on the water! Her dad and grandpa both owned maritime companies, and after her father's death, Amy ran the business. Amy picked up sailing from her dad, and she takes her credit for getting David into it! After selling everything, she's now the Admiral, Chef, Social Coordinator and First Mate aboard Starry Horizons!

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