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Galley and Cooking aboard

Galley Advice from 18 Cruising Women


Women and Cruising asked...

What advice do you have for women setting up their galleys? What 5 items do you consider essential in your galley?
What would you leave behind? What cookbooks do you use? Describe your galley and cooking/eating style aboard...

18 experienced cruising women answered...

Coastal Cruisers and Island Hoppers
have more ready access to regional markets, and cook mostly at anchor

Ann Vanderhoof Heather Stockard Kathy
Mary Heckrotte Sylvie

Catamaran Cruisers
cook on boats that don't heel


Long-Distance Cruisers
provision for long passages and cook often at sea


Cruising Charter Chefs
current & former; challenged by cooking for guests

Swan Neal

For those of you who want to jump right in, click on a woman's photo or name above to read her answers to the 10 Galley and Cooking aboard questions. HINT: you can open multiple windows to compare one woman's response to another.


For those of you who like overviews and roadmaps, you can start by reading the Introduction below.

A little background on this project, and some ideas on how to use the information our contributors provide

The galley: the heart of every cruising boat

The galley is the one part of the boat that gets used every day whether at sea or in port.

From it we fuel the crew on passage when there are simply no other options, and at anchor we produce dishes that serve as a catalyst for our social lives. 

We discover ingenious ways to make from scratch things that we are used to buying ready-made, to make all the equipment we select do double duty, to cook whole meals using only one pot, and even to eat our dinners when our dining table is on a 15 degree slant!

The project

We may have initially approached cooking aboard with trepidation for its physical complications or the restrictions of available resources –  power, water, products or produce, or perhaps even with reservations about the statement it make might about our role on board.

But over time we have found that most cruising women find they truly relish the synthesis of home and adventure that is cooking in a cruising galley.

Many women in our Women and Cruising seminars ask us what they should be looking for when they evaluate the galleys of prospective cruising boats. They quiz us about every aspect of cooking aboard: from layout, to refrigeration, from dishes, to pressure cookers, to provisioning. Since the philosophy of this website is "women sharing their experiences with other women", we asked women sailors we know to describe their galley layouts and equipment, the gear they consider essential aboard, and the things they have learned along the way that make cooking aboard and provisioning easier, safer, and more enjoyable.

The result

The result is the counsel of 18 experienced cruising women – some coastal sailors, some long distance voyagers; most aboard monohulls, but several aboard catamarans and 1 powerboat; and even 4 who are or have been charter chefs – bundled together and cross referenced to help you find answers to your questions. 

As always, there is never one best solution.  If there were, all our boats would be identical. But you will find here insights to help you make the most of your own galley. 

  • If you are in the process of shopping for a boat, you will have a better idea of what your decision points in the prospective galley should be (we’ve even included a checklist of considerations to print out!), so you won’t leave such important matters up to the captain!

  • If you are preparing to go cruising, you will gain insights in how you might equip your galley, what’s worth packing and what you can leave behind. 

  • And if you are already out cruising, you will enjoy seeing how others do things and perhaps even pick up a few tips.  We even have cookbook recommendations and recipes!

How to use the info

You will find here a great deal of information.  You may want to read every woman’s response straight through or pick those whose boat, cruising ground or experience matches yours.  As we add more articles to the website, you can scan summaries of specific topics like refrigeration or galley equipment, print out a list of cookbooks or a file of recipes, or contribute your own thoughts via our blog.

Thank you to our Contributors!

We want to thank all our contributors to this project for their thoughtful, detailed responses to our 10 questions. The enthusiam to share experience which shines through in every contribution is what our cruising community is all about! Thanks for all the great advice, ideas, recipes, and tips!