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A new as adventure

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 23 Oct 2015, 05:40

I'm crewing on Ximera, a 58ft yacht, sailing out ot the Canaries arounf the 19 November, down to Cape Verde then across the Atlantic to Barbados. I am also the cook. There will be seven of us. Suddenly cooking for the family doesn't look like enoug. I have to plan the inventory too. 

I'm looking at fresh food out of port, and then more pasta and rice based dishes, some with sauces I prepare and freeze. I hate cooking from tins, but will have to. I'm not sure how much capacity thtere is for forzen. There is vaccum packed and dry foor too. 

Whilst cooking at home has always been a case of 'what's in the cupboard' and 'what's in the garden' or ... a quick trip to corner shop, supermarket, farm shop or quay, this has to be planned. I ma therefore working through some cook books for menus.

To start with I'll do a one week menu and simply multiply this three/four times.

Then I'll refine it, and share it with the rest of the crew.

With a month to go I also plan to try out things I've not cooked before on the family. More pasta dishes, more use of couscous as well as rice - curries for the first time as well.

Butternut squash will keep for a few weeks surely? Onion in a paper sack carefully stored. Onions as well?

Anyone out there got ideas? Done a 'great adventure' like this or regularly cook for seven adults and have suggestions.

My other thinking is to start vegan, add some milk products and fish, and have red and white meat frozen or in tins. These days that is how we eat, far less milk products, meat and fish less often and 'local'. 

I wonder if we'll fish?




Permalink 2 comments (latest comment by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 3 Nov 2015, 16:48)
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"They ran over to say 'hello'"

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 2 Aug 2014, 11:59

Fig.1 Dolphins 'running over to say hi'

My daughter laughed at how I described this but when you haven't got the words and can only think of one other context this is how I described a couple of dolphins coming over to the boat; it was just like a couple of friendly dogs at the park coming over to take a look and have a sniff around. In this case the dolphins stayed with us for nearly half an hour. At other times they were clearly on their way somewhere, swimming with a purpose in a pod or simply came to take a look then swam on.

Fig.2 Off the bow of 'Ximera' - Spanish Coast

A welcome first. As was covering 600 nautical miles in four days. Job done. I recall agreeing to sailing the Atlantic next year so have already started to look at revisiting and improving my skills at sea. Having not been on a boat for at least seven years I was for the first time ever in my life horrendously seasick for the first few hours of this trip. Worse than a hangover? I had a bucket at my side - that bad. I just wished a hand would could out of the sky and lift me back onto dry land.

Armed with a Kindle during the lengthy periods when not much was happening, and during my four hour watch at the helm overnight I read two text books: another on the First World War, this time the 100 days in 1918 that led to the end of war and as the contrast fascinates me, a detailed account of the First Gulf War. 22 years ago my ancient grandfather was watching the events unfold on TV and said to me 'That's Nothing Like Passchendaele'. What's interesting is to do this comparison.

One hundred years on it is worth comparing the causes of the First World War and to dread that events in Eastern Ukraine as indicators of the wrong response to the fragmentation of old empires: one hundred years ago the Ottoman Empire's demise resulted in fractures at its edge - the Balkans and Middle East. Germany, eager to bolster another weakening empire, its ally the Austro-Hungarian Empire, took steps to demonstrate or test its power and influence to destruction. To what degree is Putin testing the strength or weakness of the Russian Federation by the decisions taken first in Syria to support Assad and then in Ukraine to support the pro-Russian separatists?

Permalink 3 comments (latest comment by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 25 July 2014, 07:36)
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600 Nautical miles in four days (one stop-over)

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 16 July 2014, 10:25

Fig. 1. Many firsts

First time to log and chart any off-shore trip

First time to have the helm on a four hour night-time shift: just me, the full moon, the occasional visit by dolphins and 'ghost' ships that appeared, off radar, without any night-time navigation lights on.

First time to speak Spanish and be understood - even it was only asking for a one-way ticket at the bus station.

First time plotting a course and keeping the log.

First time sleeping overnight in an airport - the flight out went too early for the trains and taking a taxi negated getting a cheap flight.

First time to see the straights of Gibraltar - staggered by the narrow gap between Europe and Africa.

First time to be seasick: hideous, only lasted a few hours thankfully.

The list goes on of firsts.

Never more than four hours sleep in a row since last Friday.

I read a book cover to cover on the flight out (including departure lounge) 'Close to the Wind' by Jon Waters, someone else who did a university course in creative writing and is now being published. It's taken five years.

First time to use GPS system on a boat that not only plots your exact position, but identifies other boats in the same detail: size, speed across water, destination, bearing and so on. 



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