Solar Cooking: Testing the Go Sun Stove and the Sun Flair Solar Oven for BWS

Think that solar cooking means one pot meals and reheating frozen meals? This is my Squid Stuffed with Saffron Rice in a Spicy Tomato Sauce. It was cooked in a solar oven.

Stuffed Squid with Saffron Rice in a Spicy Tomato Sauce

Think that solar cooking requires you to live in the tropics? Wondering if solar cooking is a pracitical cooking method? Curious about different designs of solar ovens and how they perform?

I answered all question and more in my February Galley Guide, published by Blue Water Sailing. You can read all about it HERE:

Galley Guide; Solar Cooking, Heather Francis

And if you’re interested in the Stuffed Squid recipe you can find it here.




Boat Writers International Writing Contest 2018 Winner: Boating Travel & Destination

Exciting news! This arrived in the mail this week!!

Heather Francis, Boat Writers International Writing Contest Winner, Travel & Destination


It seems appropriate that my submission was an article about Vanuatu, a place I have described as my “unicorn of the South Pacific”, as I had to wait 8 long years before we finally sailed into Port Villa Harbour. The wait, however, was certainly worth it. Vanuatu and it’s people captured our hearts.

Published in Cruising Helmsman, Black Sands, Black Magic; Vanuatu by Sail was described by judge Gary Beckett as, “A compelling, detailed and at times riveting first-hand account of the writer’s adventures cruising waters of the Vanuatu Islands chain.”

You can find the complete listing of winners for all 17 categories in the Boat Writers International Writing competition HERE.  (You’ll also find me under Seamanship, Rescue & Safety, Merit Award.)

And you can read my winning article Black Sands and Black Magic, Vanuatu by Sail  here.




Abandoning Ship, Cooking up a Storm, Keeping Your Cool and Solar Gadgets to Keep you Connected; Article Roundup

There is an old sailors mantra that says you should always step up into the liferaft, or in other words abandoning the vessel should be the very last resort. We had a chance to inspect our Viking life raft when we had it serviced in Fiji. Sitting inside the small, orange inflatable compartment was sobering; we would be expecting a bouncy castle to save our lives. However, your life raft deserves some consideration, so take a few minutes to read about the Small Boat for Big Emergencies.

A ditch bag is boat speak for the last thing you grab before abandoning said ship and the first you should review before leaving port on a passage. So, What’s in you ditch bag? Find out what’s in mine by reading that one.

A few solar gadgets will never go astray during an emergency, and can make everyday life on board a little more emjoyable too.  I tested a few and wrote about them for  Blue Water Sailing.

Hot days beg for cold beer, but many sailors struggle with the refrigeration unit on board. Want to know how to keep your cool and learn how the fridge works? Check out my September column in BWS, includes a delicious recipe for Leftover Rice Salad!

Or, maybe you are curious about the difference between an alcohol stove and an LPG stove on a boat, and want some tips about using them safely, whether at anchor or at sea. Cruising Helmsman in Australia published an article about that in October. You can read  it here.

I hope you enjoy the read!



Trying to Reach teh Bottom of the Icebox, HF.jpg

Had your head down and missed a few articles?




Keep Fit and Have Fun Onboard!

Looking for a way to keep fit and have fun onboard?

Fitness Afloat Heather FrancisIn my June BWS column, Heather Francis Onboard, I talk about how to stay fit afloat. If you missed it on the news stands you can check it out here, or get a digital subscription via Zinio and never miss an issue.


Fitness Afloat

A little healthy advice for summer!

If you missed the June/July issue of Blue Water Sailing you can find my column all about staying fit while sailing here.

Fitness Afloat Heather Francis




Pressure Cookers; A Galley Essential?

Almost everyone will tell you that a pressure cooker is a ‘must have’  in your galley, but is it really?  Sure they are economical, a great way to save time and very trendy right now but like any cooking technique pressure cooking does have it’s limitations.

This month in my Blue Water Sailing column I explore pressure cookers; how they work, what they cook and do you really need one. Plus there is a scrumptious recipe for my Curry Chicken Cassoulet!  If you missed the May issue on news stands you can find the article HERE.



Column 11, Pressure Cookers


How-to Make Dinghy Chaps

We just left the world of inflatable dinghies after a very frustrating and costly few years dealing with our problematic Takacat.


The Takacat and the ongoing problems of the seams coming unglued.

There will be more info about our experience and disappointments coming up, as well as our reflections on our new hard dinghy from Porta-bote. 


The New Dinghy!

But if you’re still in the blow up boat camp and are looking for a good start of the season project check out my how-to article about making a pair of stylish and practical dinghy chaps for your inflatable, as appeared in Cruising World Magazine in March 2017.

CW Dinghy Chaps







Provisioning, Passages and the Peanut Butter Princess

We are preparing for our next passage to the Philippines, which means we’ve been doing lots of schlepping of provisions. It’s not that I am worried about finding good provisions in PI, it’s just that I know there are somethings I may not be able to find. For me part of the excitement of sailing to somewhere new is the prospect of all the exciting flavours we get to explore, but there are still a few items that we would rather not live without; good tea, pasta without weevils, and, of course, all natural, no added sugar peanut butter.


I am a bit of a PB addict – in fact in certain circles I am known as the Peanut Butter Princess. Everywhere we sail I search for good PB but rarely find it, which is why when I do find it I stock up – as seen above!

On Kate PB isn’t just for breakfast and it isn’t just a sweet. Featured in the March issue of Cruising World magazine was my recipe for Beef Satay, a savory, spicy peanut sauce made from peanut butter. If you missed the issue here’s the story behind the moniker and the Beef Satay recipe.







TBT: Tales From the Crypt in Cruising Helmsman Magazine

Don’t believe it is bad luck to leave port on a Friday? Well, six years ago we tested the theory when we departed from Isla Coco’s and sailed to the Galapagos Islands. The passage was one of our worst!

If you’re near a news stand Down Under you can trip down memory lane with us and read all about our (mis)adventures in the March issue of Cruising Helmsman Magazine.



Holidays Onboard

This month in my Blue Water Sailing Column, Heather Francis Onboard, talk to several sailing families about how they celebrate holidays onboard. Check out the December Issue on news stands or today! Celebrate the holidays this year with subscription for hour favourite sailor and never miss a story!