Planning overnight or much longer passages, it doesn’t always go to plan!

(Here’s what should have happened, either read or scroll to the end for the reality).

Well there’s currently five of us onboard, three adults and two children so more planning needed to ensure everyone’s comfortable and happy. It’s a 25 hour or so trip, 163nm calculated at 6.5 kts. 
From a galley perspective.
I always make sure I’ve stocked up, got extra milk etc and cooked the evening meal plus snacks in advance. I don’t often get seasick but you never know so at the very least I make sure food is ready for those who can stomach it.. 
There’s nothing nicer than a slice of cake or similar during night watch! The main meal is usually a one pot type – easy, tasty and people can just help themselves whenever. This trip being no exception to that rule here we have a chicken tray bake (officially named “Wills out of this world” chicken, recipe to follow. The children have asked for this again very soon please!) and brownies.  

Plus jelly fruit cups and sandwiches ready to eat or pop under the grill, job done and minimum dishes to do! 

Another tip I’d like to share if you’re planning a much longer trip. This was an Atlantic crossing and my job was provisioning and cooking for a crew of five. This takes quite some planning to get everything onboard as you can imagine plus we were all different nationalities and therefore had very varied tastes. Add to the mix the fact we’d only known each other for a couple of weeks on the “test” passage to see if we all got on together (gentle day hops and three overnights). There’s nothing worse than a bad atmosphere and personality clashes at sea, please believe me on that…

And off we went, mixed emotions of excitement and nerves. Longest trip I’ve been on and had no idea what to expect… I confess I hardly slept the night before and, up to an hour before leaving, wasn’t sure I was going to go through with it. Very happy I didn’t chicken out 🙂

Firstly the obvious. Ask each crew member if they have any food allergies. Luckily for me there were none. Then, armed with paper and pen, I asked everyone what their favourite foods were and what foods they truly disliked. With this information every couple of days would be “Henri” lunch, “Mark” supper etc, you get the idea. Not only did this work really well but we got to try different types of meals.
My endless shopping lists were based on three weeks. Yes we knew we’d make better time but better safe than sorry! Break your lists down so it’s not overwhelming and, if lucky enough to have a good sized freezer, try to prepare the first couple of days food in advance. I’m pleased I didn’t cook too much ahead as it was good to have something to do on a trip of just over two weeks, believe me it can be boring just bobbing about at sea and don’t get me started on the becalmed hours! 

Final word of advice on long trips. If you have a water maker don’t rely on solely that. We had a discussion about this and I’m glad I didn’t back down. I’d insisted on 3 litres of drinking water per person per day and the skipper initially disagreed. Thankfully the vote went in my favour and we were all delighted with this as the water maker failed. 
Back to this trip.

Planning the trips.
We’re heading to Rocella Ionica (it’s lovely, believe me) but be aware of the depths getting in and for that reason we want to arrive in daylight.  
Life jackets are assigned to each person, make sure they know how to put them on correctly and check that our Raymarine life tags are connected to the plotter. This is such an amazing piece of kit, if anyone (please don’t) were to fall overboard it sounds a very LOUD alarm and records the exact position. Even the dog has one, he’s not impressed…

This one is just over a full day, leaving at first light therefore arriving at 7 to 8am the following day.
General health:

From the medicine cabinet I pull out seasickness / headache tablets, plasters and savlon / arnica cream. We’ve asked the other adult to bring age appropriate medicines for the children. 
Something I picked up on an ocean passage for water intake. Give each person a 1.5l bottle of water to make sure everyone drinks enough, our rule was actually 3l per person per day, it’s so easy to get dehydrated.
Night watch:
Usually it’s just the two of us, wow to extra sleep this time! Yes the other adult has a lot of sailing experience and the kids are dinghy sailors so I think they’re going to enjoy this trip 🙂
3 hours each adult with the possibility of the kids popping up from time to time. I’m happy sailing at night but it’s a huge NO to ever considering having a spinnaker up. Prior experience terrified me.. 
Anyhow I’m on until 11pm and then get to sleep right until 5am, now that’s a treat. The Boss will be up from 7am to negotiate the dog leg entrance and shallow depths. 
We then have a full week before crossing over to Malta which will only be 80nm. The plan for that is to leave at 10pm arriving in Malta by 11am, not only is the sight of Valetta beautiful as the sun rises but also we don’t want the children to be bored so hope they’ll sleep for the majority of the trip. Again it’ll be a treat to get six hours sleep instead of the usual three when it’s just the two of us.



What a lovely tale, shame it didn’t go as planned.. We left the anchorage and returned an hour later as was far too uncomfortable, most of the boats who left then returned plus others making for a very full bay! 

Next day tried again and decided on Santa Maria di Leuca then on to Rocella. As I type (23.35h) we’re surrounded by thunder, lightening and heavy rain. None of which was forecast. Then again I always wonder whether Michael Fish and Mother Nature ever chat? 

2 Replies to "Planning overnight or much longer passages, it doesn't always go to plan!"

  • comment-avatar
    Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor August 22, 2015 (6:46 pm)

    That’s so important to make sure you get along with folks before an extended passage. Not something you want to find out when its way too late! The brownies look fab!

    • comment-avatar
      admin August 22, 2015 (8:50 pm)

      Hehe I’m sure many of us have a tale to tell about crew! Brownies by post? 🙂

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