Wednesday, October 24, 2012

wish list part 1: the galley

There are PLENTY of things we will need for Interlude before we undertake any adventures in the spring/summer and luckily for us, Christmas will be here before we know it (INSANE! Seriously cannot believe it. Le sigh).

Josh is making a list and checking it twice by marking up a copy of Defender's catalog and I am beginning my list of "wants" as well, based on preference, and lots and lots of blog reading. The list will be divided into a few parts. Since I'm the kitchen expert, let's start there:

Dish rack (this one will require some searching, as the space for EVERYTHING in our galley is extremely precious so probably something foldable and stowable.)
Pressure cooker—As of now, I have no idea how to use one. I'm accepting applications for a tutor on how to get the most out of it.
Pots, pans and skillets—I am looking into various options for this. Some companies sell ones with removable handles that are nesting, which I like. However, the quality and sizes of pots and pans don't really mesh up with what I want. I'm also torn about whether or not I want nonstick (some blogs say it cuts down on water usage for cleanup). 
Baking pans—Since the oven is only 13x13x9, I will be limited. I think they're quarter sheet jelly roll pans (9 or 10x13) and they will all have lips to prevent dripping, also probably nonstick. I'm also going to have at least 2 casserole dishes (a 9x13 and either a square 8x8 or a 8x10?) and in my dreams, a pizza stone. That might be a no go, since I've only seen one.
Colander—I made the mistake of asking for some flat folding cookware including measuring cups and a colander for Christmas last year. While they are fine, they are made of silicone which holds onto greasy stuff (veggie oil, etc.) and are hard to get totally clean AND they don't really save me any space. Sad trumpet.
Microplane—So many uses and I've never had one!
Mixing spoons—Electricity is a hot commodity on a boat, so most likely I will not be taking a blender, mixer, or food processor, so that means I will be getting some kick ass arm muscles from whipping egg yolks and beating batter. It also means I need to: A) get used to beating batter by hand and B) find some spoons and spatulas that will make my baking life as simple as possible.
Cutting board—Something durable with a handle and ridge around the edge to prevent spillage.
Mixing bowls—Nonslip bottom, nesting and possibly a handle. Again, this is part of the "elbow grease" part of baking and I will probably buy a few pretty soon to see which style suits me best.
Knives—Still looking around. Definitely need a filleting knife, maybe a boning knife (and the accompanying knowledge of how to fillet a fish and make sushi!), and probably a cleaver. I have a few that I really like by Victorinox so I will probably start there. This also means we'll need a good non-electric sharpener.
Coffee maker—We already have begun to do some research on this. We'll probably end up with an Aeropress or a Bialetti stovetop espresso maker.
Thermal grocery bags—for all the cold shopping in the Caribbean heat!

I'm sure there are a ton of things I haven't even thought of, but it seems like a good start. 

Monday, October 15, 2012


Over Josh's birthday weekend, we hosted some of our favorite people for the first time on Interlude. We had a birthday celebration luncheon, an afternoon sail, and once we brought her back to the dock, we even christened the boat!

Here are a few videos and photos from those festivities :) Enjoy!

big meals, tiny kitchen.

This is what I imagine cooking in a studio apartment in Manhattan halved is like. Cooking on a 36 foot sailboat is no joke. If you like canned tuna and cold pop tarts for every meal, maybe this is a non-issue but for big eaters--fans of food, if you will--it's a Macguyver sized pickle to be in. Last weekend was a trial run for next summer, when we plan to live on the boat for the season and it was interesting.

I did a fair bit of prep work in my home kitchen for the occasion--cooked a ham, precooked the ground beef for lasagna, made a mashed potato casserole, tossed together chicken salad, cooked and seasoned chicken for tacos, and bought a few pre-made things to snack on. 

I also hadn't thought about the steps involved with firing up the whole shebang. First you go on deck to open the propane tank valve, then you flip a switch on the electrical panel, then you flip a switch near the stove, then you turn a knob, push it in, and turn another knob to spark the pilot light. Boom. Your burner should be going. You have to hold the knob pushed in for 15 seconds so the flame is sustained before you can switch it to your cooking temp. If you want to fire up the oven, you have to keep the stove burner on for a few minutes then physically light the pilot light on the oven. I was a little worried I was going to have a fireball on my hands, but once we figured out exactly what we were doing, it fired up in no time. 

The first oven adventure was to cook a lasagna and garlic bread. The oven is only 13"x13"x9". It'll fit a 9"x13" flat pan or casserole dish. That's about it. It looks as if there was another rack in there at one time, so I may do some searching to see if I can get another one and double my cooking capacity. It also has a broiler but is very, very, small. I had to shift the bread every few minutes to keep the tops from getting burned. I do have to say that the lasagna was delicious. 

Saturday morning was the first foray into breakfast cooking, and unfortunately, I forgot a skillet. The eggs and the sausage both got cooked in a little saucepan. They weren't pretty, but tasted just fine. The hash browns were perfect!

The rest of the weekend was more cooking on the surface and in the oven. I didn't take too many photos, and what I did take, were terrible, as you can see :( The moral though, is that everything tasted fine. I might not ever cook a souffle in the oven, or make hollandaise sauce on the stove top, but I think that we'll get along just fine once I am able to have the kitchen fully stocked and figure out how to best utilize the limited prep spaces and awkwardly shaped fridge. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

elbow room.

Living on a boat is like living in a doll house. Every single space is small and even if you're only 5'5 like me, you feel like Andre the Giant—knocking your head when you climb out of bed is commonplace, the shower causes more tingling from hitting your funny bone than a comedian, the library is teeny tiny, and you'll miss the kitchen if you blink. It will provide a challenge.

Two people, on a boat our size can probably handle it. Interlude has a decent beam (which means her width from port to starboard) but after maneuvering around each other last weekend and the promise of plenty of visitors in the future makes me a little nervous. Maybe I should learn to be a contortionist and lose a few pounds or invest in a helmet to avoid concussions (seriously, last weekend, I knocked my head no less than 6 times)? 

Monday, October 1, 2012


Typically, after sailors, buy a boat they do an excursion in the new vessel called a shakedown cruise. It's a way to get a real feel for the boat under sail for an extended period of time—testing out systems, putting her through the paces of maneuverability, steering, motoring, etc. It's typically more than a lazy weekend afternoon out but less than an ocean crossing. Our shakedown shaped up pretty well. Since we are registering Interlude in Wisconsin, we needed to deliver her to her new home port in Racine. And that's exactly what we did.

We set out on Saturday around 12:30 with an overnight bag, snacks, and pup in tow. Yep, we brought our petrified-of-bathwater mutt, Bella along. I knew this would be interesting. Since we've begun to plan for this trip of ours, we've discounted taking Bella with us for various reasons. Mostly because she HATES water but also because with a dog of her size it simply isn't fair to confine her for days at a time while we are underway then force her to stay aboard once we reach our destinations (many countries have quarantines that last upwards of two weeks!). However, since we plan on living aboard this boat at the dock for as much time next season as humanly possible, that means that she'll have to get used to it. This was a great way to see what exactly we can expect (behavior-wise).

There was light wind, mostly steady and for the majority of the time out we were on a port tack (this means that the wind was coming over the left side of the boat to fill the sails). Josh tested the auto pilot, I got plenty of quizzing on names of maneuvers and anatomy of the boat, we tried out the chart plotter (which is pretty cool actually since we didn't have paper charts), and I worked on my tacking and steering. 

Bella wasn't petrified. True, she did NOT like being picked up off the dock and set aboard Interlude but it could have been worse. The cockpit has nice high walls all around it, so I think that definitely helped her feel secure once we were moving but she paced incessantly—almost the entire 6 hour trip. She didn't seem terribly curious about exploring the boat itself but would look out over the port and starboard side and sniff at the lake breeze. Luckily, Interlude has these really durable cushions that fit exactly in the cockpit that she was able to walk on so she wasn't slip sliding around on the wood under them once we needed to tack more to get more use of the wind. Eventually, we brought some cushions from below that were a bit more plush and she lay next to me at the helm for a few minutes at a time. She must have been exhausted with all the newness. Normally she snoozes on her bed most of the day when we're at home.

We sailed all but the last 2 miles. At that point, we were losing the sun and our ride, Tae, was waiting for us at the marina to take us back to our car in Waukegan. We kicked the motor on, I learned a bit more about right of way for sailing and motoring vessels and we made it to the dock just as the sun dipped behind the horizon.

After another traumatic transfer, this time from boat to dock, and a bit of leg stretching and of course, potty break, Bella got back on the boat and stayed below deck while we ate dinner and then retrieved our car. She ended up sleeping on the bench in the dinette for the entire night. I was worried she'd bark at any sound outside the boat, or get antsy or nervous sleeping in a new place but apparently the pacing all day wore her out. She jumped into the v-berth with us around 7:30 in the morning.

Speaking of the v-berth, if you want an adventure, try sleeping with 2 people in a triangular space with your feet squished together, 24 inches of headroom and only one way in and out of bed. I suspect it will take more than a few nights to get acclimated to it, especially for someone like me who gets up for a bathroom break at least once a night. We discovered, rather uncomfortably that there is some sort of bowing of the boards underneath the cushions and we pretty much slept side by side, our entire sides touching from shoulder to feet. I slept pretty well, but Josh was terrified he was going to roll over on me and slept poorly. 

Next up is staying on Interlude for a few days at the dock. We'll head up either Wednesday or Thursday and hopefully stay on her all weekend. Josh's parents will be joining us to celebrate his birthday so they will be testing out the dinette bed (the table drops and has a cushion, voila! double bed!). I grocery shopped yesterday in preparation and will be trying out the stove and oven. Squee! Nervous and excited.