Provisioning for an Atlantic Crossing

Our Christmas steak in the middle of the Atlantic

I know I’ve not been writing for a while.  Without being on Dauntless, my life is not as colorful or at least I’m not talking about it as much.

While perusing Trawler forum and Cruiser Forum, I came across the story of the two women picked up off of Japan:

https://unreasonablydangerousonionrings.com/2017/10/31/19-reasons-this-survival-story-smells-fishy/

It did get me to think about how I provisioned the boat the first time in 2014 and then, subsequently for the westbound trip, 11 months ago.

It’s hard to imagine that one year ago, Dauntless was in Rabat, Morocco and I took a quick 10 days first ever trip to Japan. But that’s yet another story.

What food did we put on the boat for our New England to Ireland passage in 2014?

There are a number of factors that had to be taken in account and planned accordingly:

  • Dauntless, with its 700-gallon fuel tanks, 300-gallon water tanks and a Katadyn water maker, capable of making 160 gallons of water a day (24 hours), had the range to make this 2600 nm trip easily.
  • With a full-size refrigerator and freezer, we did not have to cover our eggs in Vaseline like sailors of old, but our refrigerated space was not unlimited. While Romaine lettuce will last two+ weeks, did we really want to fill our fridge with bulky lettuce?
  • The trip should take 26 days underway. We did plan on stopping in the Azores, but I didn’t want to be required to make that stop just in case. So, we would plan on having at least 30 days’ worth of everything.
  • Lastly, everyone asks what happens if the engine breaks and can’t be fixed or the propeller falls off or we get hit by a meteorite? Well, if the latter, no trace would ever be found, but for the former, what was the plan?  Look at a map.  Let’s say we were disabled in the middle of the North Atlantic, what would I have done?

Well, I would NOT have called the Coast Guard.  If you call the CG, they come and will take you off the boat. Two problems with that plan:

  1. Dauntless can leave me; but I’m not leaving her. My life raft is on the fly bridge.  When the water gets to the fly bridge, I’ll consider deploying the raft and setting off the EPIR.
  2. Despite what you see on TV, being rescued, hoisted off a boat in the ocean has a lot of risk for both rescuers and rescues. No thanks. Maybe if I’m in the lift raft, but not from a floating boat.

So, that leaves us with what was the plan? Propeller has fallen off and is now on the bottom of the Atlantic or on its way (FYI there is a formula to determine exactly how long something takes to settle on the bottom of the ocean. For a grain of sand, it takes more than a year, for a propeller, it’s probably a 6-hour trip).

The prevailing winds are westerly, from the west. Therefore, sooner or later, those winds will push Dauntless at 1 to 2 knots towards Europe. So, the one-month trip becomes 3 or 4. Not great, but doable.

That gives me my goals for provisioning:

  • One month of food that will be consumed.
  • 3 to 6 months of foods that will most likely not be eaten, but is easy to store and will keep forever.
  • Only get stuff I like to eat.

So that was easy.  In practicality, it’s like taking a trip to Costco and buying like you won’t, can’t, be back for half a year.  That’s what we did:

  • Fresh food for two weeks
  • Freezer stocked with meats, pork, beef, chicken, all things we would eat at home.
  • Longer term supplies consisted of those items that we do like normally, but also will last practically forever:
    • Peanut butter, 2 large Costco sized jars
    • Canned sardines, 2 dozen tins
    • Rice, 10 pounds Japanese
    • Condiments, olive oil, etc.
    • Canned tomatoes, 24
    • Canned corn, 24
    • Crackers, dry pasta,
    • Canned beans

Dauntless cooks with propane.  It fires the Weber grill and the Princess three burner stove.  I’ve never used the oven portion, since the Weber does well if I have to bake something.

In hindsight, I had too much canned stuff that I normally don’t eat, beans and tomatoes come to mind. On the plus side, when provisioning for last year’s Atlantic Passage, I hardly had to buy any canned things, only some canned sardines from Spain.  I’m still eating the peanut butter from 2014!  I finally ran out of rice this past summer.

One also must keep in mind that you need to have protein that you like, keeps forever and is easy to store. One can probably live forever on peanut butter and sardines. Rice also keeps well, though I don’t eat very much, as it took me 3 years to eat 10 pounds.

Leaving Spain last year, I did have about 6 liters of UHT milk.  I don’t drink milk, but I really like it in coffee in the morning, so this was something that really went to my peace of mind, though I could easily have lived without it. (I stopped drinking milk during the 6 months I was living on the Arctic Ocean on Ice Island T3. Never drank it again, as in a glass of milk).

In hindsight, the one thing I should have had was fishing tackle.  Even though I don’t fish, it’s foolish not to have the capability if crossing an ocean.

But looking at our steak we enjoyed on Christmas Day, 900 miles from Martinique, I need to go find some red meat!

 

 

 

One thought on “Provisioning for an Atlantic Crossing

  1. Your sense of humor left me LOL once again. Meteors ? Really ? Folk have ask me about provisioning on our modest trip too. You’ll laugh, but I created a spreadsheet to do it ! I’ll take the bullet point approach in the blog. We’ve had amazing weather for the North Carolina leg thus far. Fair winds and following seas, Kristi

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