The cooker aboard will be very like the gas stove you take camping, with swivels (‘gimbals’) to keep your cooking level while the boat moves about.
Some tips on cooker use:
- Turn the gas on at the tank
- Press the knob in on the stove and turn it to max, and light it with a lighter.
- Do your cooking
- Once the food has been cooked, turn off the gas at the tank. This may sound a bore but propane is heavier than air and can pool in the bilges. Boats have been known to explode without warning and when that happens, no one walks away unsinged.
When you are cooking at sea you will realise that everything is moving around a lot. You will see clamps on the cooker – tighten them around your kettle or pot before lighting the gas. Another thing to remember is that because it is moving around a lot, you should fill your kettle or pot to a maximum of 75% to prevent boiling fluid going over you.
Fridges and cooling
Fridges on boats are generally very small and use a lot of energy. You can easily run your battery flat keeping fridges going, so consider turning it on only when the engine is running for example.
Ancient Greeks knew how to keep food long before the mechanical fridge! We kept our food wrapped in wet cloth in porous clay pots, through which the water vapour could evaporate and thereby keep the food in good condition.
Prioritise any fridge space for essential items such as chicken and fish, while keeping your beer and wine cool using other evaporative techniques. If you have kids on board this could be a fun project for them to while away a few hours inventing a really cool cooling system!
Many supermarkets sell ice as well, so use this to fill up an insulated cool box for drinks and fresh produce too.
As with your home, there is a fair bit of electrical equipment on a yacht. For navigation you have to show certain lights at night depending whether you are sailing without engine or under power.
Under power you need the white masthead steaming light on, the bicolour light at the bow and the stern light on. This is regardless of whether you have the sails up and are motor sailing.
Under sail (without the engine on) you will need either the masthead tricolor light on or the bicolour bow light and stern light.
When at anchor at night you need to use the anchor light, which is a 360 degree white light.
There are other combinations such as ‘not under command’ – ask your skipper about these.
On the panel you will also find the power switches for the GPS, VHF and anchor winch, as well as engine, cabin lights and galley power.
All of this is powered with a battery! Where possible conserve energy unless you like the throb of the diesel engine on 24 hours a day, and paying for that diesel every time you hit the dock! Energy conservation gives you peace of mind as well as the sounds of the wind and the rush of the sea – a lot more pleasant than an engine…
Now the shitty bit - the head!
The toilet or 'head' flushes differently to the one you have at home. After you have done whatever you are doing, turn the lever by the pump toward you to it out.
Pump the plunger three times, and then turn the lever the opposite way and pump several times so it pumps water in to flush the bowl. Repeat the water in / water out routine until the bowl is clean.
Table of Contents
The basics in sailing
Before departure briefing
Mooring and anchoring