The Care and Feeding of Sailing Crew

While cruising from Yokohama, Japan to Victoria, British Columbia on a 4,500-mile, 49-day voyage, Lin Pardey, of s/v Seraffyn and Talesin, penned The Care And Feeding of the Sailing Crew . Covering a variety of important issues in a daily journal/recipe cook/how-to format, each entry sheds light on how she and her husband Larry live aboard a 24’ sailboat they built in the early 1970’s. Each day outlines miles covered, weather, and sea conditions, as well as meals prepared. This framework works seamlessly as a springboard for further inquiry into topics such as provisioning, cruising budgets, water usage and storage, outfitting a galley, cooking for racing crew, customs and quarantine concerns as well as a myriad of other practical concerns for cruisers.

Originally published in 1980 after their first circumnavigation, and updated with a second edition in 1995, some of the topics beg for a revision in the 21st century – a couple examples include communication concerns and engine / power issues. The Pardey’s relied almost solely on forwarded mail. Today there are a variety of onboard communication devices that allow for cruisers to keep in touch by phone, email, and radio contact including SSB, SailMail, and InReach. As far as power, Larry and Lin are sailing purists, in the sense that they did not have an engine on Seraffyn. Because of this, the text does not address issues of battery power for things like refrigeration or solar power – rather standard conveniences on today’s cruising yachts. However, the crux of the book is sound, as it addresses many issues that will not change with time, such as selecting the best fruits and vegetables for long voyages, proper storage of perishables for longevity, how to deal with trash, galley arrangements and food preservation techniques.

Serious sailors and those dreaming of cruising will benefit from Lin’s practical and easy-to-read guide. As a novice sailor myself, I learned a lot about preparing for a voyage, taking on crew, and arranging watches and sleep schedules. I enjoyed reading about this cruising couple and their dynamic afloat. Aboard Seraffyn, the duties are divided into fairly traditional pink and blue jobs, however, there are times when Larry cooks and cleans or Lin brings the boat to dock singlehanded. I realized that both people must be confident in the other’s abilities for the cruising life to work. A weary captain is not going to sleep well if he or she fears their partner is not competent. And sleep is key to happy and healthy cruising. Lin and Larry have enjoyed many years of cruising together because of their trust and respect for each other, as both spouses and sailors.

In addition to the informative and entertaining text, the pages are peppered with photographs, diagrams, and cartoons of Larry and Lin that help to illustrate the diverse topics. While there are more current books addressing some of these issues, Lin Pardey’s writing is clear, concise and backed by many years and thousands of miles of cruising, racing and boat delivery. The Pardey’s are a trusted name in cruising and this book is just one example of why.

For more on Larry and Lin Pardey, visit


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