Cruisers reveal their favourite cookware, from thermal cookers to induction hobs and nifty ideas for food storage
Low energy boat cookers are a great way to save on gas, power and time spent below. A hot dinner can be the highlight of the day when you’re on a long passage, but no-one wants to spend hours in the galley preparing it, especially not in a rolly sea.
Each year PBO visits boat owners who’ve sailed across the Atlantic to learn what kit they keep onboard, how they prepared (some even building their own boat) and their amazing adventures, from towing a stricken vessel to repairing the rudder and coping with dismastings.
But we also ask them the everyday questions, such as what did they eat and how did they cook? These transatlantic cruisers – some sailing to Grenada in the ARC+ – revealed their favourite cookware and some even gave us a demonstration.
Will Collins is head chef aboard Oyster 55 Valent. When we met him in Gran Canaria he was busy compiling recipes for the voyage, including one from fellow participant Guillemette on board Saltair.
“These are the simplest banana pancakes ever,” he said. “Beat an egg and mashed banana together and fry in butter. Delicious!”
Will has converted a bilge space into a fantastic food cupboard where the food stays cool. He also made his own spice rack.
Remoska one-pot oven
Will showed us his Remoska one-pot oven, where the heating element is the lid.
“It’s a hob and oven in one,” he said. “It only draws 650W and I can cook sausages and casseroles – lots of things.”
Will also has the two-pot Mr D’s thermal cooker. Once you’ve brought food to the boil, the heat is trapped inside the pot and the food continues cooking for up to seven hours without an external heat source. You can put meat in the larger pot and then when it’s simmering, add the rice or pasta to the top pot and leave for three or four hours, and it’s cooked.
Go Sun solar oven
From low power to no power, Nicky Haggert showed us her Go Sun solar oven which she used for every meal bar one in 2021 on passage from Cape Verde to Brazil.
Nicky used it to bake bread, carrot cake and gingerbread, as well as vegetarian main meals, which she cooked in the morning and either ate cold around 3pm or reheated later.
“To cook dried beans, I’d put water in, heat it up in the sun, then turn it away from the sun so it could slow cook. I love it. I’d recommend it!”
Mum Stephanie Stevens treated herself to a Vorwerk Thermomix – ‘my luxury item’ – when it came to preparing meals for her baby and two-year-old whilst crossing the Atlantic on their Nautitech 46 Open Pinnacle.
“It’s amazing! I’d be feeding Roux and making paella at the same time, you can just chuck the ingredients in and leave it,” she said.
Low power induction hob
Stephanie also found her induction hob to be a ‘lifesaver’.
“We try and use as much electric as possible and not much gas as it’s safer and you don’t have to carry the gas bottles,” she told PBO.
Vango hob and Bosch microwave
At 32ft, Ciel Bleu was the smallest boat in the ARC+ 22 rally, and also the oldest catamaran; she was built in 1988. The electric power system onboard the Fountaine Pajot Maldives 32 is unconventional in that the only source of power comes from the sun. The 400W solar panels charge a bank of lithium batteries which run the boat’s 12V system, enabling electric cooking on an 800W Vango induction hob, electric kettle and microwave grill.
“All worked very well as we made our way south through Europe,” said skipper Jon Walmsley. “We were in a marina every night which meant that shore power could be used for boiling the kettle and cooking. This changed when we faced passages of several days. The load of ‘running’ the boat at sea – navigation, autohelm, lights, fridge and watermaker – equated to approximately 1 kilowatt hour, Kwh, per day or, to put it another way, a constant drain of 4 to 5 amps.”
Food lasts a lot longer in an airtight environment, and we’ve seen some great gadgets on ARC boats, including Will Collins’s simple 18-egg container and Alfie Moore’s FoodSaver vacuum sealer which heat-seals food.
We met Alfie, skipper of Fountaine Pajot Coco in 2021 after he and his family rescued a dismasted vessel off Grenada in the ARC+ rally. Despite it being the morning after the ordeal, and him having had no sleep, he invited PBO onboard to tell us about the boat.
With a presentation style to rival any shopping channel host, Alfie demonstrated how you adjust the food bag to a given length, heat-seal the bottom, add the food, heat-seal the top and cut it.
He also swears by vacuum-seal food containers, which he used for storing biscuits and nuts. He uses a small rechargeable device to suck out the air and create the seal. The fit is so tight there’s no way you can open the box without pressing the button to release it.
- For a full guide to transatlantic kit – from self-steering gear to sat comms and safety equipment – don’t miss the March 24 issue of Practical Boat Owner. Subscribe today from just £17.99