Go to WomenAndCruising.com

Galley Advice from

sheri schneider S/V Procyon - Long-Distance Cruiser

Next Woman
Previous Woman
18 Women
Currently in Tasmania, Sheri is in her 8th year of living aboard and cruising on their custom built Gozzard 44 cutter.
I love my galley.

About Sheri Schneider

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

Have to start any thoughts on my galley with the information that I LOVE MY GALLEY.  I think it is the best designed galley I have seen on any cruising boat, including ones that are bigger than Procyon (a Gozzard 44).

I have tons of counter space, plus the nook table to expand onto when needed.  Not only is there lots of counter space but it is usable.  I don't have to move everything to get into the fridge or a food locker. 

Also I had an extra deep sink put in.  As Randy will tell you, it doesn't drain as well as it should as it is so close to the waterline but I can wash anything in it (it doubles as a great place to do laundry), and if I need something secured in a hurry when underway it goes right into the sink! 

I have lots of storage space, both for dry goods and utensils.  When we get ready to move I only have 3 things to put away:  a spoon holder, a basket holding hot pads and a jar holding big cooking utensils.  The design for dish storage is fabulous.  On the corner is a cabinet that opens with slightly tilted shelves to hold everything.  I never have to worry about things sliding around! 

With the U shape I am secure in any seas and have cooked meals in some pretty rough weather. When we had the boat built I had a plastic cutting board built in with a groove around the edges so it drains into the sink.  Doubles as a cutting board and a drain board.  Also had a holder built in to hold 2 thermoses.  They are fabulous for night watches, only have to boil water once for the whole night.

I really found the old adage "if you didn't use it on land, you won't use it on the boat" true.  We basically eat the same way as we did before we moved onto the boat. 

Plastic containers, of many different sizes, and Ziplocs are a cruiser's best friend. 


What is the
best aspect
of cooking aboard?

    There is something special about eating in a beautiful setting. 

    We are very spoiled with living on a boat and eat as many meals out in the cockpit as possible to enjoy the setting. 

    Nothing like a home-cooked meal (which we actually enjoy more than eating out most of the time) in a lovely spot.

What is the
most challenging aspect
of cooking aboard?

When leaving on a passage I pre-cook dinners so that I have fast prep and easy clean up while underway. 

It can still be a challenge sometimes under rough conditions but I have never lost a meal with my galley set-up due to it popping off the stove or counter top.

Just have to think things thru and go slow sometimes!


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

water maker

It is not situated in the galley but makes all the cooking and washing much easier as I don't use salt water to cook or wash anything.

dedicated tap for filtered water

Sometimes we fill one of our water tanks with "land water" and having the filter takes most of the strange tastes out.

big refrigerator/freezer

Makes it possible to provision for long periods.  Could spend lots of time "out island" with out having to worry about meat.  Can keep salad things for over two weeks.

green stay fresh bags

Make it possible to keep veggies/fruit and bread for a very long time.  You just never know where and when you are going to find some things so nice to stock up.



I thought it was silly when it came with the boat but I have used it a lot, not only for heating things but as a warmer.  Also to put a handheld VHF/GPS into when we are in lighting storms.


We absolutely have to have a BBQ. 

We cook 6-7 meals a week on it.  Tastes better and keeps the galley much cooler.


What items
can you easily do without?

I am a very minimal type cooker.  I have never used a lot of devices so not much to leave behind. 

I did buy a pressure cooker before we left and because I had never used one before I didn't use it on the boat so finally gave it away.


What items are hard to find once cruising?

There are certain USA food items that we have never found overseas so
whenever people come to visit or we go home I always have brought. 

They are:

  • Good Seasons Italian dressing (or any dry packaged salad dressing

  • dry, packaged marinades for meat

  • A-1 sauce

  • good Reynolds Wrap tin foil

  • Ziploc baggies (one of those things that name does make a difference)

If there are any items that you are extremely brand conscience then getting them from home might be the only way to find them.  You can make do, but having some things from home is really nice


Can you describe your galley layout?

With the u shape, I am secure in any seas.
My breakfast nook
Dish rack

Procyon has a U shaped galley. 

I have one, huge, deep sink with a dedicated filtered water tap, a high arced water faucet with one control for both hot and cold water (very important as when you are watching water usage it is a real pain to turn off and on hot or cold water, or it takes 2 hands).  Have a hand pump for salt/fresh water. 

My Force 10 stove/oven has been great.  It has 3 burners, a broiler and oven.  Takes regular sized pots/pans just fine.  Next is a deep dry storage locker, then the extra big fridge.  My freezer is in a compartment just across the companionway.  I have a special vented locker with 2 wire drawers for fruit/veggies.  Also cabinets/drawers all around. 

We have a breakfast nook just on the open end of the galley with more storage space for my pots/pans, silverware and dry goods.  The silverware drawer is under the table, pulling out forward and aft so they never move under way either.  I love this whole set up.  It is so functional, nice to look at and has tons of storage.  Can't tell you how many cruising boats I have been on that have almost no storage for dry goods in the galley so you have to go all over the boat to get food.

We have a generator (Fischer Panda Mini 8) and an inverter/converter (Freedom 2500). Our house battery bank has 1100 amp hours with a separate starting battery of course.  We also have 2 X 110 amp solar panels

When we got to New Zealand the first year we installed a step-down transformer so we can plug into 220/240.  This has been great.  Just have to watch certain things as it does not change the hertz so you have the 50vs60 cycle issue.  Clocks and motors run slow.  Most things do not matter however. 

If we have not run the motor we run the generator every day.  I like hot showers so have to heat water if nothing else.  Also my big fridge and freezer take a lot of power, especially in the tropics so use up a lot of juice.  As I have said many times, I am not camping so these are just things that we do to make life a little easier.


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

I bought Gwen Hamlin's bread maker and both of us enjoy using that wonderful device!!!

We usually eat 3 meals a day, unless we have a brunch then we eat an early dinner.  We always sit down to every meal with place mats, cloth napkins, regular plates, silverware and high quality drinking glasses. 

Have found cloth napkins work great.  Use paper when we have something really messy or for cocktail parties but that is it.  Garbage is the bane of cruising and the more you can find to minimize what you have to get rid of the better.  Also doing your "green" bit! 

I bought Corelle dishes when we first bought the boat in 2001 and have never had one break.  I have cut up placemat size pieces of the sticky mats for under rugs to use when we are underway.  Keeps the plates on the table!  We don't have glass drinking cups but do have a full selection of the heavy duty plastic wine/beer glasses you can find in most places.  Also insulated plastic water glasses that do not sweat.  We also have the big bottomed silver coffee mugs.  They are wonderful, don't slide around at all.

I do the breakfast and lunch dishes.  Randy and I alternate the dinner dishes.  I do the prep work and cook the things inside.  Randy is an awesome BBQ'er so most of our dinners are cooked outside. 


What cookbook do you recommend?

No cookbooks to recommend. 

I usually end up taking a recipe and changing it anyway to something the Randy and I like more, add this or take that out you know.  I have all my recipes on the computer so easy to add to the list or send them to another cruiser who liked something I served.


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

Hot Mexican Dip
from Sheri Schneider

In a 8x8 dish (or something close to that):

  • spread 8 oz softened cream cheese
  • cover with a layer of salsa, next layer on goodies (ie leftover meat cut into small chunks, mushrooms, olives, onion, avocado etc)
  • cover with grated Cheddar cheese
  • cook in oven at 350 F for about 30 minutes or until hot all the way thru
  • serve with tortilla chips.

    It is always a hit and great use for a small amount of leftover meat. 
    Besides using it as an appetizer I also have used it for an underway lunc


18 Boat Recipes

About Sheri Schneider

Sheri Schneider

When Sheri Schneider first got together with Randy it was with the understanding that when he retired from the Coast Guard  they would take off and go sailing.  Through a sequence of duty stations from California to Washington to Rhode Island to North Carolina, they prepared for the dream cruise by buying boats and learning on them together.  For their final duty station  in Beaufort, NC, they had their Gozzard 44 built.  Living on the boat while still marina based, Sheri tackled the huge learning curve of taking care of all the maintenance (Randy was CO of a 225, so would get off, jump on their boat, go out for a day or two, then he would jump off again as soon as they got tied up!).  That period  gave her a good idea of what items were important and what were not.  Since 2002, they have sailed the US East Coast and the Bahamas, the Western Caribbean, thru the Panama Canal in Feb. 2006, across the South Pacific to Australia, including New Zealand and Tasmania. 


Sheri and Randy sail on a Gozzard 44 (Their web site is www.gozzard.com).  It is cutter-rigged monohull.  Great set up for a couple as they have tons of interior space that they can use on a daily basis, a huge, comfortable cockpit and all rigging leads into the cockpit for easy when underway.

Cruising grounds

Procyon was launched in August 2001.  She spent one year in North Carolina while Randy finished his 20 year career in the US Coast Guard.  They then cruised the east coast and to the Bahamas for a couple of years.  Heading down the Western Caribbean and thru the Panama Canal in February 2006.  Sheri and Randy then did the run across the Pacific ending up in New Zealand for 2 summers and the islands for the winters.  They are currently cruising the Eastern Coast of Australia and loving it.


Sheri Schneider also contributed to our article "Refitting the Galley: 12 Experiences": you can read what she had to say here.

[February 2009]

Sheri on her own in the Pacific after Randy is evacuated!
Read more in the January 2008 issue of the Admiral's Angle column (on this website)


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