When to Say "When" – Provisioning for a sailing trip can be a tricky process.  Depending upon with whom you travel with, any manner of hurdles may present themselves to be jumped. Availability, budgetary concerns, personal tastes, allergies, religious beliefs, and dependencies both emotional and chemical must sometimes be considered.  Many questions abound that must be answered. One very important question that is inevitably raised during the provisioning process before any sail is: When do you say when?  

One good answer to this riddle might be: when you find yourself standing in the middle of your local Buy-It-By-the-Bale mega store wondering how you are going to move your flat-bed cart full of provisions to the checkout registers without a team of oxen.

This may be an ideal time to stop, take a breath, and engage in some self-examination.  Large amounts of hassle and aggravation can be avoided by asking yourself a few simple questions:  “Do I really need a gross of cheese crackers for a six day sail? Aren’t 10 kilos of oranges overdoing it a bit?  But, what about scurvy?”  Well, what about scurvy?  Forget scurvy.  And don’t you dare even mention rickets! My advice to you is to go easy at the Mucho-Mart before heading to the islands because I can think of nothing worse than huffing through the airport with what amounts to the entire contents of a vending machine strapped to your back.  If you are fortunate enough to have a squad of lackeys at your disposal this is probably not a problem, so just excuse me a moment, Your Highness, while I discuss this with the other peasants.

Seeing as I can never seem to locate any flunkies when I need them most, I have found that in most instances if there is any schlepping to be done it is going to be done by me.  Although I have never had anything against pack mules in general, I have never aspired to be one. Therefore, the meagerness of my bags (envelopes of tuna, dried flesh of various beasts, etc.) is more than made up for by my lightness of step through terminals and on tarmacs.  I do, however, dearly appreciate and greatly admire those hearty souls willing to truck with unwieldy coolers and dry ice and negotiate inconvenience and Her Majesty’s Customs so that they and the rest of us can enjoy delicacies we might be hard-pressed to encounter in some of our less-inhabited destinations.  While I understand that travelling with a rapidly defrosting container of former land and sea creatures may not make for the greatest vacation experience, there is always the upside of having a seatmate who is not only quiet but will be presently delicious.

The reality of provisioning is a pretty simple equation when you think about it.  Food, water, and some basic first aid supplies are the answer. Just adjust for level of accustomed lifestyle and most problems can be avoided. Bottom line: travel begets trouble.  Airlines lose bags.  Connecting flights are missed.  People are always forgetting where they put things like their passports or their lips.  Eliminate one hassle of the sailing and the travelling experience by going easy on the extras and by focusing on the basics like making sure there are enough ice cubes and medicinal/restorative beverages to go around.  Or just let someone else to do it.  Fill out those provisioning forms and sit back whilst the lackeys take care of the rest.

A final note:  One thing I cannot possibly live without on a trip, or most anywhere for that matter, are those red, “vine-like,” candy ropes.  They are the ideal travel snack.  They are light, durable, and perfect for snapping over the heads of lackeys whose motivation is, well, lacking.