Galley Planning by Norman and Elizabeth Martin

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Galley Planning by Norman and Elizabeth Martin

The Galley

There is a direct relationship between the quality of the food prepared while cruising and the equipment in the yacht's galley. Basically, if the cook can cook without struggling, better meals are presented. So, setting up the galley is very important to everyone. The authors encourage: "Don't cut corners when purchasing the galley or dining equipment."

A short story: When Norm was young, he lived aboard a 48 yawl for two years while his family cruised the US East Coast and Bahamas. His mom, who had also cruised in her youth, set up the galley carefully. Every pot or utensil had a place. There were two place-setting sets. Dinner was formal. We used my parents wedding silver and china, napkin rings and cloth napkins. Other meals were served on plastic plates and bowls with stainless flat wear and paper napkins. We had the space for the luxury of a formal dinner and it was a memorable touch. We ate and lived well. Cruising wasn't camping.

Years later, as a sailing professional, Norm has set up or consulted on the set up of many galleys. Step one for getting it right is to know the size of drawers and lockers. Step two is to equip the galley with things that fit into those spaces.

Many household goods stores sell utensils such as kitchen ladles, spoons, spatulas and such that are slightly smaller than normal and perfectly suited for your yacht galley. We shop for place settings at the pool and patio section. Sandwich plates and cereal bowls seem to fit boat lockers better than full size diner and soup plates. Everything has to fit into its place. Pots and pans are a special challenge because the stove tops on yachts are small. Additionally, pots take up a lot of space making stowage a challenge. It takes some time to find the right size cooking utensils. Keep in mind that the sink is often the best place to rest a pot when underway. Also, if a pot or pan doesn�t fit into the sink, the utensil is hard to wash. Everything has to fit. Our favorite pot is a pressure cooker. It just fits our stove top and we picked it specifically because it did so. The pressure cooker is also the star of our galley. It makes superb meals quickly and in one pot. Make certain yours has a spring loaded indicator as that is the only type that works on a rocking boat. There are lots of suitable models. We have a Kuhn-Rikon. Avoid the style with a long handle as that makes stowage more difficult.

The stove/cooker really must be on gimbals. It is very hard to cook underway otherwise. Even making a pot of boiling water becomes a challenge without gimbals.

One final note: the trick to keeping plates from sliding when you are heeled is damp cloth kitchen towels. The damp towel acts like an adhesive and plates stay put. Lay the damp towel on the table and set the plates on the towel. If the plates slide, go to Plan B.

Happy cook! Happy dining!

Elizabeth is cooking aboard a C&C 38 during a beat to windward. This boat has a big, well designed galley. Cooking for six is no problem. The angle of heel shows on the stove. Loose equipment is in the sink rather than the counter tops. I distinctly remember a delicious soup.

Aboard Averisera, the galley space is very small. Every move has to be planned. Every piece has to have a convenient storage place. This picture was taken during a rain storm while we were alongside a dock cooking our first meal aboard. E cooks and N washes. (The blue cushion is behind the pressure cooker, not on it!)

About the authors Elizabeth Lamb and Norman Martin.

We have a sailing/family blog at You will see the little boat we built, the big boat we race and cruise, and our nine foot nutshell pram. The blog started with our buying AVERISERA and continues to this day. We have been married since 2009.

Norm is a sailing professional and spent almost twenty years working for Boston Sailing Center. He has sailed across the Pacific twice and up and down Atlantic between New England and the Caribbean a dozen times. He met Elizabeth when she was assigned to his boats for a couple of cruising courses through BSC.

Elizabeth is a self-professed geek, mom, grandma, gardener and knitter, who sails. She is now retired from her high tech job, and is enjoying her free time pursuing the interests listed above and whatever else comes along. Her sailing resume includes double-handing a 45-foot racing sailboat around the Caribbean one season, and an ocean passage delivering a 35-foot Beneteau from Boston to Puerto Rico. She enjoys racing and cruising Averisera in the plethora of harbors in the Northeast, with a particular fondness for long Maine coastline harbor hopping.

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