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Food and drink on board


I am definitely not a Fray Bentos pie person, they are for emergencies only, dire emergencies. In my view one should be able to, and can, eat on a small yacht just as well as at home. Even better sometimes because there may well be more time to prepare food, being on holiday usually, or sheltering from a gale. If CC Lynam managed it on his very small yawl in 1892 so can you: "The skipper cooked a magnificent stew of hare soup, curried fowl, rice and onions, which with strawberry jam to taste, was highly appreciated" (The Log of the Blue Dragon). Mind you, Hilaire Belloc did not believe in cooking anything at sea, especially meat, according to Dermod MacCarthy, one of his young crew (Sailing with Mr Belloc, 1986). The main problem I find is how to look after a basil plant — which needs light, warmth and fresh water — without it tipping out all over the galley. As for drink, there is always room somewhere for bottles of wine, beer, gin, tonic and the crucial lemon —  or lime (the addition of ice from a freezer is a bit over the top). And the whisky of course.


The best places to stock up around these parts are in Oban, Tobermory, Mallaig, Fort William, Scaranish, Strontian, Tarbert and Bowmore. You may not find things like harissa in an island shop, but you never know. Many of the village shops are excellent for the basics, and more, for example in Ardfern. How different it was before World War Two when Capt Harvey wrote "It is not easy on the West Coast to get any vegetable except tomatoes, and sometimes lettuce and cucumber" (‘Sailing Orders. Practical instruction to yachtsman, illustrated by the author's cruises on the West Coast of Scotland’, 1935).

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