When we bought our first racer/cruiser years ago, I took the approach of glamping for the galley. I upgraded from our backpack cookware and dinnerware, and bought melamine dishes more for car camping. To me this seemed normal. When I searched online for boat dinnerware, I found endless types of plastic plates and glassware.
After upgrading to a more comfortable cruise boat a couple years later, I didn’t want to just bring my dishes across, I felt I wanted nicer things for my new sailboat. At first I bought “nice” plastic wine glasses. I paid way to much for plastic wine glasses, which in the end the stems cracked off!
I then tried buying a stainless wine glass, which for one was not cheap, and secondly, drinking wine out of it just didn’t seem to taste the same. After learning much through this experience, one day I happened to be at Winners and saw a box set of 4 Rosenthal crystal wine glasses for $14! Compared to the prices for both the stainless and plastic wine glasses this was a bargain, and it was Rosenthal crystal. Done!
So yes, I have crystal wine glasses on my sailboat. They store perfectly in their box tucked away in the wine cellar on the boat. Super handy, pull out a bottle of Merlot and grab a crystal wine glass while you’re there.
When we upgraded to a more proper cruise boat we also wanted to reconsider our dishes. Yes, I appreciate everyone may not have an extra set of china dishes lying around, but yes, I have china plates and china bowls on my boat. I’ve had china onboard for eight years and haven’t broken anything.
There is a nice place in my galley for dinnerware storage, so just by adding a little bit of nonskid, everything stays put perfectly. We haven’t been offshore, but through all the sailing in various types of sea state over the years we’ve never had a problem. But yes, I have a small selection of plastic plates, bowls and platers etc for eating underway and for potlucks on other boats.
People are shocked when they find out I have crystal and china onboard. If you have a good place to store it why not, it’s really no big deal. When I go sailing I’m going out for fun, so why wouldn’t I want to have nice stuff? My learnings over the years:
- China cleans easier than plastic. On long cruises where water is short, eating off china actually helps us to conserve water.
- If china and crystal are stored properly they won’t break. In the past eight years I haven’t broken anything. …while I have had all my plastic wine glass stems break off!
- I can buy discount china for less than $4/glass, while nice plastic dinnerware and glassware is not cheap.
- China plates can be gently warmed in the oven if one wants a warm plate, while plastic plates cannot.
When I go boating it’s my leisure time, why would I want to have plastic dinnerware and glassware when I could have crystal and china? I originally switched to crystal wine glasses because it was cheaper, but now I’d never go back to plastic for my west coast cruising. I made the switch to china and crystal years ago and have never looked back.
If you do go on a serious ocean passage I would suggest better storage. We had a Correlle plate ‘explode’ when it hit the floor in a bad storm. Cleaning up all the shards was a very difficult task in heavy weather. We don’t like plastic and have broken many glasses over the years 😉