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Galley Advice from

Marcie Lynn S/V Nine of Cups - Long-Distance Cruiser

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After 5 years in the high latitudes of South America aboard their Liberty 458, Marcie and her husband are setting off for the South Pacific.
Foraging for veggies in the Puerto Montt market

About Marcie Lynn

What advice would you give women in setting up their galleys, in preparing to cook aboard?

Initially I'd say ... Keep it simple. Most people don't begin cruising and then immediately take off for distant ports. You tend to sail home waters first and venture out from there which gives you time to learn your eating and cooking habits aboard.

Don't buy lots of “stuff” that you think you'll need, wait until you find out what really works aboard and what can be stowed easily. Read lots and make your buying decisions after careful consideration.


What is the best aspect of cooking aboard?

Marcie provisioning in Chile for the Pacific crossing

After a long day of sailing, the crew is always so thankful for a nice meal, they forgive you lots for your other shortcomings!

I love being able to “forage” for new fruits, veggies or recipes in local ports we visit. It's a new experience of tastes and combinations beyond what a land-based person would encounter.



What is the most challenging aspect of cooking aboard?

Near the end of a passage, I find it difficult to come up with different menus when stores are beginning to dwindle and you're always missing some key ingredient for what you want to make. I've become particularly good at improvising ... what could possibly be a substitute for XXX. Invariably, you can find something that works and you've got a new recipe.

Cooking on a heel is always a challenge ... either everything is falling out of the lockers at you or you're falling into the lockers. You learn to cope pretty quickly though.


What are the 5 items
that you consider essential
in your galley?

  • good quality and versatile pots & pans

  • a stainless teapot

  • a steaming insert rack for steaming veggies

  • a pressure cooker

  • stove top toasting rack

What items
can you easily
do without?

I could do without the microwave. We had a blender, which we ended up giving away. We rarely have power enough to use them.

Basically, if it needs electricity to run, I'd do without it or find a manual alternative!


What items are hard to find once cruising?

  peanut butter •  good tomato products (hard to find in many South American countries and in many Caribbean countries) •  dark brown sugar •  canned meats/chicken • graham crackers •  muffin papers


Can you describe your galley layout?

Jelly, the ship cat supervises Marcie in the galley.

2 sinks with a faucet that has an extendable hose from the nozzle that I love. We have both fresh water and salt water foot pumps which are used most when we're underway. Even with a watermaker, I use salt water for rinsing dishes when we're underway (just in case).

We do not have a gen set, but do have an inverter. That said, we hate wasting power or running the engine, so use no electrical appliances aboard when we're sailing or at anchor.

We have a 3-burner Force 10 propane stove with oven. We have a small microwave which is only used when we're in a marina or motoring and used primarily for popping popcorn and quick heat-ups. I stow extra pots in the oven when not in use and all my silicone bakeware inside the microwave.

I don't have a lot of specialized cookware or gadgets, but I do have a good versatile set of Calphalon pots (3 sauce pans and a soup pot plus 2 frypans) -- most of which hang on the wall opposite the galley working area. I originally had cheaper pots (heck, we were at sea!) and upgraded at the first opportunity. I've been very impressed lately by the silicon bakeware. They bake well, wear well and are easy to stow. I have 2 each round, square, loaf pans, muffin tins and 2 aluminum pizza pans (which I also use as baking sheets).

Refrigeration set-up is a 2-compartment fridge and freezer, Adler-Barbour. It works relatively well, but it's small. We don't have ice nor can we keep ice cream frozen. I stock up on tinned veggies, etc. when we're able and have lately started canning meats and veggies/fruits (that I cannot find tinned) for extended passages. I obviously get fresh when I can, but on passages over a few weeks, it's hard to maintain an extensive fresh larder.

Picking moras (blackberries) in Chile
David collecting mussels in Nova Scotia


We have a BBQ attached to the aft rail, but rarely use it. The little propane cylinders so easily available & cheap in the USA are not available elsewhere or if they are, they're expensive. We had a direct connect to our propane tank, but felt it wasted too much propane.


What is your eating/cooking style on board? Who cooks?

Blackberry shortcake, from our berry picking

This totally depends where we are and what we're doing.

In a marina or at anchor, we tend to have one big meal in the evenings. Coffee/tea and maybe fruit or yogurt for breakfast; a sandwich or leftovers for lunch and then our big meal later in the evening (7-9pm). For all meals, we sit at the salon table with place mats, napkins, etc.

Obviously, while we're working on large projects, lunches are catch as catch can, but even then in the evenings, we usually like to clean up the mess, sit with a glass of wine, relax and enjoy a nice meal together. We drink wine from wine glasses and use either Corelle or china. When entertaining, we use a tablecloth and cloth napkins, china, wine glasses and candles on the table ... it's the works!

At sea, this is totally different. We eat lots of smaller meals. Since someone is always on watch, we take most meals in the cockpit together unless the weather is bad. We have coffee/tea and a fresh muffin or coffee cake, etc quite early; then breakfast mid-morning while both of us are up (oatmeal porridge, yogurt, etc); lunch is usually a grilled sandwich or soup; mid-day is a fruit or crackers & cheese or nuts, etc. Dinner is always a hot meal and is shared before the evening watches begin and before dark so all major cooking and clean up can be accomplished during daylight hours.

I do most of the cooking and it's my preference. David is a reasonable cook and will certainly cook if I'm under the weather or just need a break (he's the “pizza man”), but usually I say “it's a one butt galley and mine is the butt.” That goes pretty much for doing dishes as well. I really don't mind and it's not all that big a deal. While at sea, David will usually do clean up if I cook and vice versa.


What cookbook do you recommend?

My 2 favorite cookbooks:


Would you like to share a recipe that works well on the boat?

Any Fish/No Fish Chowder
from Marcie Lynn

Makes 4-6 servings
½   chopped onion
1   tbsp butter/margarine
1   15 oz can corn with liquid
6   medium potatoes, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
1   bay leaf
1   cup milk or cream
1/2   lb raw fish or seafood, cut into bite sized pieces
    salt & pepper to taste

In a soup pot, melt butter and sauté onions till soft. Add potatoes, the liquid only from the canned corn and enough water to cover. Add bay leaf, salt & pepper. Simmer until potatoes are nearly done. If you plan to add fish, add it now. Cook for another 5-10 minutes (don't overcook the fish). Add the can of corn. Add the milk or cream and heat through again, but do not boil.

Serve with crackers.

This recipe works wells because it's very versatile.

When we're in the mood for chowder, we don't always have fish aboard. David throws out a line and I make corn chowder.

If he catches a fish, we have fish/corn chowder and if he doesn't ... well we have chowder anyway.

It's tasty and easy.

18 Boat Recipes

About Marcie Lynn

Marcie Lynn

Marcie with the Nine of Cups cookbook

As liveaboards since 2000, Marcie Lynn and her husband, David, have traveled over 50,000 miles to date aboard their Liberty cutter, NINE OF CUPS, visited 27 countries and are 9 years into a 15+ year circumnavigation. Ports of call have included many ports off the beaten path, some close to home and some very remote. Marcie readily admits that traveling is key to her interest in sailing. 

Born in Massachusetts, Marcie never set foot on a sailboat until 15 years ago. Along with her husband, David, she took sailing classes, read lots and then bareboat chartered and soon the sailing bug bit them hard. In 2000, they both quit their jobs, sold everything and bought NINE OF CUPS. She's (almost) never regretted their decision (there are those days).

Marcie's marketing background led her to a keen interest in writing and photography. She maintains a web site, an extensive photo-journal, writes frequently for Seven Seas Cruising Association (SSCA) and has published several articles. She especially loves sharing her experiences and travels with others who share similar interests.


Liberty 458, monohull, cutter-rigged.

Cruising grounds

The last 5 years have been spent primarily in South America with a quick trans-Atlantic to South Africa and then back to the USA for a season. The plan is a circumnavigation. They're currently in Puerto Montt, Chile waiting to leave for their South Pacific crossing in the austral autumn 2009


[February 2009]

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