We found Receta in Maine and bought her in 1995.
Check back soon – we’ll be posting additions to these lists and more about Receta's systems regularly.


About Receta

Receta is a 1981 Tartan 42, designed by Sparkman & Stephens and built in Ohio. She’s hull #14 of the 34 boats of this design that were built between 1980 and 1984.

The Tartan 42 was developed from the Tartan 41 hull of the mid-’70s, an early IOR racing design. She is a fast, fabulous sailor: a cutter-rigged sloop (with a removable inner forestay). But truth be told, we usually fly only our high-cut, roller-furling 110% genoa. It and our 305-square-foot main (most frequently with 2 deep reefs tucked in) give us a great sailing combination. (I=54 ft. J=16.75 ft. P=47 ft. E=13ft.)

Receta has a Scheel keel, which gives her a 5-foot draft. To our eyes, she has beautiful, classic lines; she looks to us the way a sailing yacht should.

She has an aft cabin and an aft cockpit.

Displacement: 23,000 lbs. Steve says this is only before I go shopping.

Beam: 12 feet, 3 inches – but she carries this for only a few feet. The rest of her is much much narrower, with a transom that’s only about 30 inches wide. (She’s too narrow for davits, so our dinghy, Snack, travels upside down on our foredeck.)

Waterline: 31 feet. Her ample tumblehome provides extra length when we’re heeled.


Engine: Yanmar 56 (4JH3E); repowered in 2004

Fuel: She carries 50 US gallons of fuel – the tank is under the port settee – plus 18 additional gallons in jerry jugs on deck.

Water: Receta currently carries about 75 gallons of water in two separate tanks: a main 50-gal tank under the salon’s starboard settee, and a 25-gal tank in the forepeak. (She had two additional water tanks when we bought her. The second forepeak tank was replaced by a holding tank; and Steve converted a smaller tank aft to much-needed storage.) We carry an additional 18 gallons of water in jugs on deck. We don’t have a watermaker….yet. Steve is still figuring out the best configuration for squeezing one into Receta.


About My Galley

Receta’s tiny U-shaped galley is to port at the bottom of the companionway steps. With floor space of about 2 ft. x 2 ft., the galley can accommodate only one person comfortably at a time. (Two cooks would definitely spill the broth long before they spoiled it.)

One arm of the U is occupied by the top-opening fridge/freezer, which uses a 12-volt Isotherm water-cooled cold-plate system to “spill” cold from a small freezer section to the rest of the fridge. We made closed-cell foam pads to fit on top – one for the fridge side, one for the freezer side – to provide additional insulation, topping the foam with melamine so they can be used as a work surface.

The other arm of the U has a double-sink and a dry locker. We have three fresh-water taps in the galley: hot and cold water direct from the tank, plus a tap attached to a General Ecology/Seagull filter. There is also a freshwater hand pump. At the base of the U is a HilleRange three-burner propane stove and oven, and a propane barbecue is mounted on Receta’s stern rail.

A cutting board fits overtop of half of the double sink, which creates my main galley prep area. Next to the sink is a small, hinged, fold-down countertop, which also provides key space to put stuff when I’m cooking and serving. It’s also where we rest our folding dish drainer when it comes time for cleanup. (I wash, Steve dries, we listen to soca and pan.)

We have a 1000-watt inverter, so I can use small conventional electric appliances, but I usually do most of my galley work by hand and have just one small kitchen appliance onboard: a Cuisinart “stick”/wand blender with a small food-processor attachment.

Pots and pans, dishes, glasses, spices, and frequently used non-perishables (olive oil, vinegar, honey, etc.) are stored in lockers in the galley for convenient access. Other provisions are stored in lockers throughout the boat. When we first started living aboard, I kept a written inventory of what was stored where, and consulted it regularly. But after a couple of years of liveaboard life, I’ve developed a mental map and dispensed with the formal inventory. The first step each time I start to cook or bake is to gather the necessary ingredients from various nooks and crannies.


10 Things I Can’t Live Without in my Galley

1. A good pressure cooker: cuts cooking time of everything from chicken to conch, goat to seacat (octopus), making whatever’s in the pot extremely tender and flavorful while reducing heat in the galley (and conserving propane).

2. A big stock pot: essential for cooking lobster and crabs, or pasta/stews for a group. Doubles as a cockpit wash basin for fruit and veg (and occasionally even a bit of hand laundry).

3. Good knives, including one for filleting fish, and a proper knife sharpener.

4. Thermal carry bags: essential when you shop in hot climates, and for carrying cold drinks (or hot dishes) to potlucks on shore/beach/another boat.

5. The cutting board that fits overtop of half my double sink, providing additional work surface.

6. A microplane: great for zesting limes and other citrus fruit, as well as grating cheeses, garlic, onion – and, of course, nutmeg for dusting on top of rum punch. One simple tool does several jobs well and takes little storage space; there’s no room for one-purpose gizmos (such as a garlic press) on Receta.

7. My digital kitchen scale: I almost didn’t move this aboard, thinking it wouldn’t earn its keep. But I use it to weigh seafood that we catch (and buy) as I package it for the fridge/freezer, as well as to weigh other ingredients. The scale is pressed into service much more frequently than I imagined it would be.

8. An instant-read thermometer and an oven thermometer.

9. Leakproof, spillproof Nalgene bottles in various sizes keep water, lemonade, iced tea, coconut water etc. cold in our fridge in a space-efficient manner – and can move to a backpack to take on shore excursions.

10. Nesting everything: bowls, plates, glasses, pots, Rubbermaid food storage containers. Essential when space is at a premium!


Gear We Love

1. Our two Kyocera 85-watt solar panels, which are mounted on a stainless-steel arch over our bimini. We added these to Receta in 2006, to supplement the power brought in by Floyd, our 1997 Four Winds II wind generator (which we also love). Together, the solar and wind systems provide all the power Receta needs at anchor. (We don’t have a generator; very rarely, if there is a string of windless, cloudy days, we might have to run our engine to top up the batteries.)

2. Receta’s Yanmar 56 engine (4JH3E). We repowered in 2004, sending the almost 25-year-old “Mr. Engine, Sir” (as I respectfully called the boat’s original Westerbeke 50) to a well-deserved retirement.

3. Our venerable Ideal Windlass, circa 1980. Like the proverbial Energizer bunny, it just keeps going – and so does the manufacturer’s support, when maintenance and retrofits are required.

4. Our RadioLabs WaveRV marine wifi antenna: Arrive in an anchorage, screw it onto the simple mount on our dodger, plug the connector into a USB port on one of our laptops – and if there’s a signal anywhere nearby, we’re in business. Makes staying connected easy.

Stay tuned – we’ll be posting additions to these lists and more about Receta’s systems soon.


Gear That’s Disappointed Us

1. Our Globalstar satellite phone. Although the system is usable for sporadic sending and picking up of email, it has been a total bust for telephone conversations. With insufficient satellites in orbit, the signal invariably cuts out during even the shortest conversation, and often there’s a long wait even to upload or download email. We turn to it only as a last resort, relying instead on wifi, Skype, and pay-as-you-go Simm cards for our cells.

Stay tuned – we’ll be posting additions to these lists and more about Receta’s systems soon.