Part of the fun of cruising is meeting other fellow yachties and hearing their stories and top tips for good places to visit. Whether it is on their boat, yours or ashore – it is a great, relaxing time of day. Whilst the name is indicative of the time of day to start sipping your favourite tipple… as the sun is setting over the yard arm….well unless you are in the Baltic and it will still be broad day light at 10pm….
When we were sailing around Britain, we always made a point of inviting other sailors, moored near to us, over for drinks. We had some great evenings and made some good friends. However, according to one seasoned sailor we met, it was, surprisingly rare to be invited over for drinks. On several occasions we pooled our food with neighbouring boats and had a slap up feast. We also invited local people on board for a drink if they were interested in our boat. Twice we were then invited back for a meal at their home. Further away from our shores inviting others onboard is far more normal amongst long term cruisers.
So you have been invited onboard what do you bring? Well the standard present is a bottle of wine or some cans of beer. But you can make it more interesting with some easy to make canapés or a dip. Also now that we have moved to boxed wine – it is a little more difficult if we have run out of bottles of wine. So we now bring either a plate of canapés or a jar of Carra High Seas Hummus. We have made up labels to make them unique. We save all our jars onboard and repurpose them.
Here you can find our favourite canapés and dips, recipes are linked:
- Caramelised onion or smoked salmon on blinis with crème fresh. You can make the caramelised onion in bulk and keep it in a jar ready for the next sundowners. With a high sugar content it keeps well.
- Cucumber islands
- Hummus or Tzatziki and a bowl of carrots/cucumber/peppers or crisps.
- Friends Gordon and Irene (SV Fereale) who when we met them in 2006, had been full time liveaboards for over 10 years brought a bottle of their Chateau Bilge – a wine bottle with their own label replacing the original label.
Are there any rules?
- It is polite to take your shoes off if going down below
- Don’t stand on cockpit cushion with your shoes.
- Don’t over stay your welcome!
If you are hosting then here are some here are some other drink options:
- Cranberry crush mojitos
- Raspberry crush (non alcoholic)
Yet another phrase I had assumed the wrong origin…
Sundowner and sun over the yard arm have nothing to do with sunset. The original meaning of sundowner was a bully on a ship and sun over the yard arm referred to “elevenses” when the sun in the northern hemisphere was over the foreyard and the officers would slip down for their first drink of the day.