I spent a few years living and working on sailboats full time. My job was to cook for the owners, their friends, and occasionally racing crew. Learning how to provision, meal plan and use every little bit of food onboard was a gift and it taught me the importance of good eats underway.

These days, my time on the water are day-sails, occasional overnights, and evenings out for picnics with friends. Here are a few of my favorite boat friendly food staples.

Day Sailor:

  • Wraps: Skip the bulky roll and go for a well contained, easy to eat sandwich.
  • Fruit: I only eat cherries when I’m sailing. Specifically, when I’m sailing with my mom. We spend most of our time on the water competing for the furthest pit splash. 
  • Fluids: Stay hydrated out there friends! I like to bring an infused water with me. It’s nice to have a crisp, flavored drink with you to cut any salty spray. 


  • Dips: Pro tip – always keep just in case food onboard. A dip mix is handy for impromptu drinks on the boat or dockside snacking. All of our dip mixes come with recipes on the label, or you can simply add a tablespoon or two to olive oil for a quick bread pairing.
  • Smoked Fish and Cured Meats: Make like they do in the Mediterranean and go for good fats. Again, these are things that will keep onboard for ages and they’re great for charcuterie boards or to add flavor bursts in sauces.
  • Snacking Nuts: Roast up some nuts and keep them handy. There’s nothing better than a salty, crunchy snack underway. Plus, they’ll keep the crews energy up all day long.
  • Olive Oil and Vinegar: Don’t leave home without high quality oils and vinegars. That’s it. 


Keep it simple and head out for a sail with a charter company.  Most harbors in Maine have a local day boat company that will seasonally take paying guests out for a 2-3 hour adventure on the water. Usually they let guests bring food and drink onboard, so back up your picnic basket and go for a sail!

Here in Portland, we’re big fans of Sail Portland. Captain Ian takes up to 6 paying guests out for sails on Casco Bay on his classic Friendship Sloop. Ian encourages guests to bring food and drinks onboard and this summer, he’s partnering with Crown Jewel, a restaurant based on Diamond Island, to offer onboard dining options. We highly recommend this unique opportunity to soak in views of the city and islands while munching on some of the best local eats around. Head over to Sail Portland’s website to learn more.

July 29, 2020


Evelyn Smith said:

Since this post went live Crown Jewel was forced to close for the remainder of the 2020 season. Sail Portland remains open for bring your own picnic sails in Casco Bay!

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