Sailing menu and meal planning inspiration


Sailing holiday meal inspiration with a mix of simple and gourmet dishes for cooking onboard.

We’ve taken the confusion out of planning a sailing menu for your sailing holiday. We asked bareboating enthusiasts what their favourite easy and delicious sailing meals are, and they submitted some delightful ideas.

The recipes listed below are fantastic additions to any sailing menu. Some of them would suit a “go-to home menu” too! You’ll see that some sailing meals below are more gourmet, while others are more practical and simple for storage. 

What do you eat when sailing? 

Cooking for a hungry crew is all part of the adventure and can be a lot of fun. 

There is an art to meal planning while living on a boat. You’ll have storage restrictions and nutrition to consider and be limited to cooking in small gally. 

All of the boats in our fleet come with a BBQ outside & a gas oven & cooktop in the galley. Freezer and fridge spaces vary depending on the boat, with catamarans having more.

To find out specifics, look at the vessels specifications on our vessel pages. 

While living on the ocean, you may as well try to eat from it. Learn more about fishing in the Whitsundays and brush up on your knowledge to increase your chances of fresh fish for dinner.

What do we do if we run out of food while sailing in the Whitsundays?

If you need to restock mid-charter, you can return to the mainland or stock up at Hamilton Island.

Those who charter with Whitsunday Rent a Yacht can access our private jetty and mooring within Shute Harbour at no charge. All of the local bottle shops, provisioning companies and supermarkets deliver to our jetty.

It’s also possible to book a marina berth at the Coral Sea Marina in Airlie Beach.

sailing menu

Meal ideas for your sailing holiday from our “Galley Gurus”

Many of the below meals were submitted for a Galley Guru Competition some years ago.

Salmon and Asparagus

by Judy James-Hulm

Fresh or frozen salmon, oil, fresh rosemary, fresh lemon juice, baby capers, asparagus & potato


  • Cook salmon in a little oil over medium heat in a pan until just undercooked and put in a warm place.
  • Take the pan off the heat and add lemon juice, rosemary and capers.
  • Serve on mash with steamed asparagus.

Sailors Nachos

by Carolyn Newbold

Corn chips, nachos sauce, grated mozzarella cheese, avocado, sweet chilli sauce, kewpie mayonnaise, sour cream.

My nachos are the best nachos cooked onboard, but not in the galley – on the marine barbecue or on a pizza stone.

  • Make the best guacamole (avocado mashed, sweet chilli sauce and kewpie mayonnaise)
  • Cover the BBQ with baking paper.
  • Heat corn chips and cheese on the hot plate until the cheese is melted
  • Assemble corn chips, nachos sauce, and grated mozzarella cheese. Top with sour cream & chopped jalapeno if you like.

Sticky Date Pudding

by Juanita Lawn

Ingredients: Bag of chopped-up dates, 1 tsp bi-carb soda, 150g butter, 1 1/2 cups SR flour, 265g brown sugar, 2 eggs (beaten), 2 tbsp golden syrup, 185ml cream.

I made these with my 5-year-old – they were that easy – and such a delicious treat that can be enjoyed with cream or ice cream.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease muffin tin.

  • Put dates and 1 cup water in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
  • Remove from heat and add bi-carb soda.
  • Add 60g of butter and stir until melted in.
  • Sift flour and add 1/2 cup of sugar.
  • Add date mixture and egg. Divide into muffin tray.
  • Cook until the skewer comes out clean when inserted, approximately 20-30 minutes.
    For sauce:
  • combine syrup, 185ml cream, remaining butter and sugar and stir over low heat until sugar dissolves.
  • Bring to a boil and then reduce immediately to a simmer, stirring for a few more minutes. Skewer holes into sticky date puds and pour the sauce over. Enjoy with cream or ice cream.

Chicken Fettuccine

(by Kaylene Higgs)

Ingredients: Meat off a roasted chicken, 1 punnet strawberries, 1 small onion (chopped), thickened cream, oregano, fettuccine.

This is great for Monday night dinner, using the leftovers of a Sunday roast chook. No one has time to measure out ingredients when they are enjoying the Whitsundays!

Ingredients: Cooked Chicken, strawberries (cut into halves or quarters), a small onion, thickened cream, some oregano

  • In a pan, add meat from the chicken, strawberries, a small onion, thickened cream and oregano.
  • Heat through (you can thicken the sauce with cornflour if you don’t like it runny). If you like cooking with wine, you can add a splash of white (I prefer to drink mine).
  • Cook up some fettuccine. I like spinach or tri- colour, but whatever floats your boat!
  • Top your fettuccine with the chicken and strawberry cream sauce and enjoy with some crusty bread on deck watching yet another amazing Whitsundays sunset.

Fuss Free Frittata

By Sue Comley

Ingredients: Meat of choice (optional), 350g potato (sweet or regular), 1 large onion (cooked or raw),
1 large capsicum, 7-8 free range eggs, 1/2 pack fetta cheese, 1/2 punnet cherry tomatoes, grated cheese, 100g ham (chopped), tin tuna, salmon (or cooked chicken if preferred).

This can be vegetarian or you can add meat of your choice. Serves 4.

  • Heat some oil in a frying pan and add chopped potato and onion, stirring until softened.
  • Add sliced capsicum and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add chosen meat here if desired.
  • Beat eggs, season with salt and pepper and pour over vegetables, turning heat to low.
  • Chop fetta and sprinkle over, cut tomatoes in half and place on top.
  • Cook until it bubbles a bit around the edges, then either sprinkle cheddar over and place under a grill to brown for 5-10 minutes or if there isn’t a grill, slide the frittata onto a plate and flip the other side into the pan to cook.
  • Sprinkle the cheddar over to melt and serve with bread. French sticks or rolls are very convenient onboard!

Classic Lobster Roll (or Seafood roll)

by Robert Pepper

Ingredients: Butter, fresh garlic, seasoning to taste, lobsters (halved), whole egg mayonnaise, fresh limes, lemongrass (finely chopped), garlic chives (finely chopped), hot dog rolls, mint leaves.

This is a quick, easy seafood recipe. If you don’t have lobster, there is no reason you couldn’t use  crabs, bugs or even fish.

  •  Make a garlic butter sauce (fresh garlic seared in quality butter with a pinch of seasoning).
  • Halve your lobsters and brush them with some of your garlic butter.
  • Oil your barbecue also with garlic butter.
  • Place lobster flesh side down and pour any butter left over the top.
  • Close the lid and cook on moderate heat for 10 minutes.
  • Make a dressing using whole egg mayonnaise, fresh lime juice, lemongrass and garlic chives, and a pinch of seasoning. Make dressing to taste – measurements aren’t critical.
  • Cut some fresh hot dog rolls.
  • Remove meat from the shell, place in rolls, and dress with a generous amount of your dressing. Garnish with a mint leaf for aroma, and voila!

Mexican Meatballs

by Vanessa Irvine

Ingredients (meatballs):
500g mix of beef and pork mince, 2 eggs, 1/4 cup breadcrumbs, 2 chicken stock cubes, salt and pepper.

Ingredients (sauce):
Oil, 1/2 white onion, 1 garlic clove, 500ml tomato purée, 1/2 cup chicken stock, 1/2 cup jalapeno sauce.

This meal is by far the easiest, tastiest holiday fodder!

  • Mix the meatball ingredients – that’s it!
  • Cook till brown, remove and set aside.
  • Cook sauce, and add over meatballs.
  • Serve with pasta or crusty bread

Stove Top Pizza

by Bronwyn Looby

1 cup SR flour, 1 cup plain flour, pinch salt, 1 tsp dried yeast, 1 tsp honey, 1 cup water, pasta sauce, toppings of choice.

I go for the KISS method (keep it simple stupid) because I am no chef and don’t particularly enjoy cooking, especially when on holiday!

  • Combine SR flour, plain flour, salt, dried yeast, honey and water.
  • Split the dough to make two thin base pizzas.
  • Spread the dough over the base of the pan. You can use your fingertips and press the dough into shape.
  • Spread pasta sauce onto the dough and add other toppings of your choice. (I use precooked chicken to keep it simple.)
  • Place pan over medium heat and cover, ensuring the lid is sealed for about 10-15 minutes.
  • Open the vents or tilt the lid slightly and turn to low heat for another 5 minutes. You can use an egg flip to lift it from the pan and onto a board to serve.

Sesame and Honey Crispy Chicken on Asian Noodle Salad

by Lizzie Hook

3 tbsp sweet chilli sauce, 2 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tsp fish sauce, 5 tbsp lime juice, drizzle of sesame oil, 1/4 cup sesame seeds, 2 tbsp honey, 1 red onion, 1 capsicum (red or yellow), 1 large carrot, 2 large or 2 small zucchini, 5-6 chicken thighs, bean thread noodles.


  • Soak noodles in cold water for 15 minutes, and leave to one side.
  • Grate carrots and zucchini, place in bowl.
  • Finely slice onion and capsicum, add to grated vegetables.
  • Heat barbecue.
  • Remove any fat from chicken thighs and bash with a rolling pin until flattened.
  • When noodles are ready, drain and add to veggies.
  • Mix sweet chilli, soy, fish sauce, sesame oil and lime juice together until blended.
  • Pour over noodle and veggie mix. Toss until coated.
  • Pour a small amount of sesame oil on the barbecue, and char-grill the chicken on both sides until cooked through.
  • Drizzle honey over 1 side of chicken and sprinkle sesame seeds on top. Turn and cook for 1 minute, repeat on other side.
  • Remove chicken and finely slice, then lay on top of noodles. Serve with a glass of chilled sauvignon blanc.

Sensational Sushi

by Michael Newcombe

Rice, sushi seasoning, tuna, salmon, prawns, soy sauce, wasabi, chicken fillets, seaweed, sweet chilli sauce.


  • Cook rice and let it cool. Put on sushi seasoning.
  • Slice chicken into strips and cook in soy sauce and sweet chilli sauce. Let chicken cool.
  • Peel prawns. Slice tuna and salmon.
  • Roll rice into logs the size of tuna and salmon. Put a little wasabi on rice and place fish on top. Lay rice on seaweed and put chicken and sauce on and then roll.
  • Design your plate and enjoy!

Pancake Cake

by Rebecca Reuben

Pancake Shaker Mix.

The easiest dessert or breakfast ever.

  • Prepare as per usual with the Pancake Shaker Mix.
  • Grease the cake tin and bake until firm. Both kiddies and adults will enjoy!

Breakfast Wraps

(by Sue Comley)

3-4 rashers of rindless middle bacon, 1/2 punnet of mushrooms, 4 eggs, 4 soft wraps, a packet of halloumi.


  • Chop bacon and mushrooms into bite-size pieces, fry until golden.
  • Soft scramble the eggs. Divide it all between the wraps and roll up.
  • Put on a baking tray and heat in the oven while you fry the sliced haloumi.
  • Delicious with your favourite sauce – we like HP!

End of the sailing holiday Tuna Pasta

by Emily McLindon

1 x packet of pasta (any sort). 425g tin tuna in oil, 2 Tbl pesto, 1 x 400g tin tomato, 1 bottle passata, 1 x 125g tin sweet corn, 1 x brown onion, garlic. Parmesan.
optional – capsicum, grated carrots and/or zucchini

This is the emergency meal I have ready to go. The main ingredients are in cans, so it will keep for your last days sailing.

  • Boil water and cook passata.
  • Fry garlic and onion in oil.
  • Add the tin tomatoes, passata, tuna and grated veggies if on hand.
  • Once veggies are cooked, add corn, stir and serve with grated parmesan on top.

meal sailing

Ways to cook seafood on a boat

For those who are catching fresh fish, you can consider cooking it in these ways:

Or keep it simple, Cook a whole fish on the BBQ. Check out this video from the Hook and the Cook.

Cocktails anyone?

It’s loads of fun to add some little touches to your siling holiday meal plan. How about adding some Nautical-themed cocktails? We’ve got you covered: 10 Cocktails for your sailing holiday

woman drinking cocktail on the boat. concept about leisure, summer, vacations and people

We hope you’ve enjoyed this eclectic bunch of meals to add to your sailing menu. We are always open to adding to the list, so shoot through any meal ideas!

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