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Old 03-03-2010, 08:17   #1
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Question Food Costs for Longer Passages

Dear Knowledgeable Sailors

I'm recruiting the crew amongst friends for my first transatlantic passage from Florida to Portugal, stopping on Bahamas, Bermuda and Azores. I'm counting on some 6-7 people on board, mostly big-eating males.

My question is: how much money should I prepare to provision the boat for a 2-week passage? I'm looking for a crude estimate, as obviously it's not possible to know that exactly... Unfortunately; in my previous journeys we would rely on frequent shore supply and restaurants, so I cannot use my experience here.

I also heard that there are considerable price differences between the US, Bahamas, Bermuda and Azores... Anybody wants to share their observations here?

Greetings, still from dry land!

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Old 03-03-2010, 12:00   #2
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Take your usual 2-week grocery/dining bill and triple it.
Have hammock, will travel.
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Old 03-03-2010, 12:24   #3
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I think most of my offshore passages (9 to 12 days) ended up costing less than US$10 per day per person. We ate pretty darn well, too. I think a longer passage would end up costing a little less, since you'd be getting more into the canned and dried foods.
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Old 07-03-2010, 15:05   #4
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I think HUD has it about right, I charge $15 USD for recreational crew on my boat for their share of food and fuel. I have always felt that about $10 a day is what food costs average over time it, some places maybe a bit more some a bit less.

This assumes you are not just serving up processed canned meets out of tins and rice! It means frozen or fresh stuff at the beginning of the trip, either meat fish or poultry as part of the main meal, lots of cheese and fruits, plus lots of nibble stuff for snacks like raisons and nuts. Also, the litres of UHT milk to go with the good quality cerealsat breakfast. To keep the standard of living up when you get into canned goods later, you have to be using some rather expensive specialty items like anchovies and capers, good quality chutneys and such for spicing up what would otherwise be a bland meal. You alsohave to remember you are not eating all of the costs, there is the dishwahing detergent and paper towels etc, it all adds up!

I do not serve premixed soft drinks on board, but I do bring soda water, and cordials so if they want something bubly they can make their own, (a suprising favorite is the fruit juiices often get mixed with the soda water as some of the real juice is pretty thick stuff. And of course, the price does not include alcohol or dinners of the boat.

However $10 a day will not go far if you do not do use a little bit of sense when shopping in some places. Sometimes beef is a good buy and chicken is too expensive, or it could be pork that is the bargain. The same is with cheeses, if all you will eat is the imported foreign stuff, you will blow the budget. Get a good quality cheddar, I like the Anchor brand and buy it in the big 2 kilo blocks and use it for just about everything, I have found it alsmost everywhere at a reasonable, if not inexpenxive, price.

I also do not buy prepackaged dinners, I buy the ingredients and we do the prep and cooking, for example making pizzas from scratch (dough and sauce) makes the emal taste that much better!

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Old 07-03-2010, 16:56   #5
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In Europe, where food is dear (but HQ) you will find it difficult to eat for less than 5 USD on a passage. This would be if the crew are monks (not Roman Catholic monks though!).

So, realistically, I would ask 15 USD towards the food supplies from my crew. Candy, treats and beer NOT included.

The Azores are a good spot to re-provision - good supply, good quality, good prices. So, if your crew like European style food, you can provision only towards the Azores and re-provision there. Price-wise it makes sense. You can also save some bucks if you provision gross in Florida - both Bahamas and Bermuda are expensive.

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Old 14-03-2010, 17:20   #6
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Hi, be sure to build in a contingency amount (I like to use 25%) for slow passages, weather, whatever. 15 days sounds overly optimistic - but who may have a super fast boat! I've done transatlantic several times and the least amount of time was 17 days, and that was in a 62' footer.

You never know...better to have a bit more.

Azores is good for provisioning - not like state side though. Europe is very expensive IMO.

Have fun!
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Old 29-03-2010, 06:50   #7
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Thumbs up

Thanks for all the answers! That was what I was hoping to hear...

Of course, I'm not planning to cross the Atlantic in 2 weeks, I just figured that the longest passage (Bermuda -> Azores) would take that much.

I'll surely use your tips. Since I'm living in Europe, the european prices cannot scare me. I'm glad to see that they're even lower on "the other side".

For the (hopefully) two week passage I will stock up about 20-days worth of food, plus some emergency bulk food like rice just to be sure that there's going to be something to munch on, even with the worst kind of delay. Getting enough water seems to be a bigger problem -> I might just get one of those membrane watermakers as an emergency...
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Old 29-03-2010, 09:08   #8
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You will find that groceries cost about twice the price in Bermuda versus Florida, so I would stock up with as much as I could before leaving Florida. The grocery store in St. George's has an okay selection, but I think it is worth it to take the bus or ferry into Hamilton to go to the much larger one along the harbor front.

Have a great trip.
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expense, food

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