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Home » Sailing » Volvo Ocean Race: planning the food menu for over 20 days at sea

Volvo Ocean Race: planning the food menu for over 20 days at sea


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Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15. Team SCA daily food bags being prepared. Each bag has two days of food. Credit: Rick Tomlinson / Team SCA; .

Consuming enough food and drink during an offshore race is a prerequisite for high performance and to maintain body weight, both crucial success factors in this kind of race. Dee Caffari gives us a brief summary of what a 24-hour food and drink cycle onboard looks like.

“First of all, I want to talk the importance of staying hydrated: Water is truly the liquid of life, since our bodies consist of roughly 60 percent water. So remaining hydrated is very important in an offshore race like the one we are participating in. We drink lots of desalinated water throughout, and we put an electrolyte tablet in about every third water bottle.

As you can imagine, it is important to eat enough calories every day to avoid losing weight despite the hard work. According to Volvo rules we are only allowed enough food, including snacks, for the calculated days at sea plus for two extra days.

The food routine is quite repetitive, but we try to make it a bit more interesting by having a variety of flavours.

In summary, we get three main meals every day, every eight hours.

This means that dinner is served when a few of us are supposed to be sleeping, but that is just the way it is, I am afraid…

“But let us start with breakfast: it is either muesli or hot porridge, and with that we get coffee, tea, hot chocolate, or ready-mixed cappuccino. The cappuccino has become something of a favorite, probably because it is a bit sweet.

We eat freeze-dried food for both lunch and dinner. We have a variety, and we are overall quite happy with the meals. It varies from Pasta Bolognese to Chicken Curry, from the not so spicy to quite spicy. Depending on what people like, and how they feel on the boat, it is important to have some bland alternatives as well.

Our three snacks a day is a blessing;, two high-protein bars and one chocolate bar. This is important to keep us going as well as to get something with a bit of a comfort factor. Surprisingly, we have no chocolate thieves onboard. Besides that we have trail mix consisting of a variety of salted nuts and chocolate M&M’s, which some have a tendency of picking out of the mix!”

The SCA navigation and weather team assess the route and make a call regarding estimated time at sea, they compare this with the race organisers estimate and make a call as to whether they want to take more or less food.

For the first leg, which is estimated to take the 12 crew onboard SCA 24 days to race from Alicante, Spain to Cape Town in South Africa, the team has decided to take two additional days of food. As the race organisers are also predicting 24 days, any additional food onboard must be sealed and controlled in terms of its location on the boat, essentially anything over the amount recommended by Volvo Ocean Race is sealed and controlled so it cannot be used as part of the ‘stack’ to allow teams to bring extra weight onboard to assist with the weight balance onboard to an advantage over anyone else.

By Team SCA


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