5 min read

Yacht Provisioning – Completing the ARC Atlantic Crossing

Published on
February 23, 2024

Are you planning to join the ARC and take on the big Atlantic Ocean? Julian Kimberley, GN Espace Director, talks us through how he prepared for and fed the crew during the passage.  

Tips for Menu planning, food shopping and storage on board.

I was the designated cook and responsible for creating healthy and interesting meals, made from fresh ingredients all the way across the Atlantic.  We did lots of reading beforehand about provisioning, including that provided by the ARC organisers, which helped greatly.  I hope that you find my notes useful for your own crossing.

There were seven men on board our Discovery 55 and we worked out that the crossing should take us approximately 21 days (we ended up doing it in 17).

We all decided that we would make meal times very much the social focus of our days and ensure that as much as possible, we all sat and ate together.

Following consultation with the crew, it appeared that everybody’s preference for breakfast was going to be items such as, porridge or cereals, fruit, toast and marmalade and lots of tea and coffee. Lunches – primarily salads, cold meats, bread and cheeses. Dinner was going to be our cooked/hot meal of the day and to be followed by a pudding.

However, from a provisioning perspective, 7 mouths for 21 days at 3 meals per day would mean buying enough food for 441 meal times and I should consider extra items, such as biscuits/chocolate etc. for snacks in between.

When compiling my shopping list, I wrote out a menu for each of the 21 days (planned crossing duration) and broke that daily menu down into breakfast, lunch and dinner segments. I then listed, the ingredients required for each of those meals and that is essentially how I complied my shopping list.

A daily menu plan example below.


Porridge with banana, toast and marmalade, tea and coffee.

(280g of porridge, 4 bananas, 14 slices of bread, 150g of marmalade, 125 g of butter, 7 tea bags, 7 coffee bags).


Salad Nicoise with hot baguettes.

(1 tin of tuna, 500g of green beans, 2 heads of lettuce, 1 green pepper, 2 stick of celery, 14 anchovy fillets, 7 hard boiled eggs).


Chicken tarragon with lemon, asparagus and baby new potatoes. Strawberries and ice cream.

(7 x 250g chicken fillets, 500g fresh asparagus,  1000g baby new potatoes, 2 whole lemons, 1 small bunch of fresh tarragon, 2 fl oz of vegetable oil, 2 punnets of fresh strawberries, 500 ml of ice cream).

The daily menu plan with the recipes, including all of the required ingredients was printed out and kept at hand in the galley.

Tips for food storage:

I did a lot of the shopping in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria at the central market (Mercado Central) where you can find a wide selection of both fresh and cured meats, fresh fish, fresh vegetables, fruit and eggs etc.  The other items, like part baked baguettes and bread, biscuits, rice, pulses and tinned goods etc, I found in local supermarkets close to the marina, of which there are plenty.

I would recommend starting the shopping early as buying so much food it will involve multiple trips to the market and shops. 2-3 days is realistic for shopping.

With the food back on board I sat down with the daily menus and decanted the fresh ingredients into three parts (week 1, 2 and 3) - this took the best part of the day! 

Week 1: We wrapped the first weeks ingredients and kept them in the fridge.  

Week 2: These were vacuum packed and then also kept in the fridge.

Week 3: The were vacuum packed and then frozen.

We were lucky in that we had both a large fridge and a good sized freezer on board, which stored pretty much all of our fresh provisions, with the exception of bulkier items like potatoes and fruits. Oranges, apples and bananas were kept in a net and suspended from the galley ceiling.

We also used vacuum bag storage for items such as biscuits, rice and pulses etc. and found that this did protect these foods from moisture ingress when stored in this way.  The vacuum sealed items were stored under the galley sole, where again we were lucky to have ample available space.

We did of course take plenty of beer and wine and I worked on 3 beers per man per day and half a bottle of wine per man per day, which turned out to be about correct.

Calculating and providing fresh water provisions

It is a long way across and we wanted to make sure that we had plenty of water onboard to allow for drinking, cooking and showers, as well as enough in case of emergencies.


A great deal of information is available concerning this important matter.  We used various sources of information including World Cruising Club, and various Survival Guides.  General consensus is that an adult male needs to drink 3.7 litres per day (absolute minimum for survival being 3 litres/day).

Therefore, working on a basis of

  • 7 persons @ 3.7l/day = 25.9l for drinking purposes alone
  • 28l/day as a 10% contingency

For 21 day crossing = 588 litres plus contingency amount.


Of course drinking water only makes up some of the fresh water we required. We also needed fresh water for cooking and at least final rinse of crockery etc., plus we needed some for showers and general washing.

Total fresh water Requirement Amount (litres/day):

  • Drinking water 3.7 + 10% = 4.1
  • Cooking and general washing = 4.1 (presume same again)
  • Showers = one 20l shower every 3 days / 6.7 Total per person / 14.9 litres per day per person

Total for all 7 = 7104.3 litres/day


We calculated that we needed to provide around 104 litres of fresh water per day to cover our needs.  To provide this amount of water per day we had 3 supplies:

  1. The on-board fresh water tanks = The Yacht had two ( 576 + 432 = 1,008 litres), each tank is equivalent to 20 and 15 days drinking supply respectively. We decided to use the 432 litre tank as our primary water supply.
  2. Watermaker = Which we ran every 2-3 days to top up the daily requirement. The watermaker was by H2O6 , rated as 104l/hr.  This left the larger 576 litre tank untouched and so uncontaminated.  This ensured that, given any contamination or problems with the watermaker, we would always have sufficient drinking water from that tank for the entire trip
  3. Supplies of bottled water = As an emergency measure we also took bottled water to cover half of the crossing (11 days @ 28l/day = 308l = 205 1.5litre bottles) . That amounts to a lot of water bottles, but we would have been foolish to not have some wholly independent water supply in case of unexpected emergency.

Below are some notes on how we went about provisioning for fresh water for the crossing.

The trip is 2,700 miles and said to take between 14-21 days according to the ARC organisers. Given our Yachts size, 14 days would therefore seem optimistic…an average of 8kn all day every day. An overall 5-6kn would seem wiser and so in the 19-22 day range.

Using no water at all other than for drinking, then 1,008 litres @ 28l/day = 36 days.  We did offset any other fluids such as beer, Coke etc. against the requirement for drinking water, although alcohol does have a dehydration effect especially in hot climates so the offset may be minimal.

I hope this helps - enjoy the voyage! 

Contributed by: Julian Kimberley, GN Espace Director. One of the 7 crew onboard 'Casamara', a Discovery 55 yacht, taking part in the 2011 ARC Atlantic event from Gran Canaria to St. Lucia

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