Indian Ocean 8 Crew

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Ocean Rowing Cuisine by Woodvale May 11, 2009

Ocean Rowing Cuisine
11 May 2009 11:44 BST

Nutrition is a highly important part of any ocean row and certainly not something to be taken lightly.

As the event rules state that all teams must be totally self sufficient for the duration of the race, crews must carry all necessary provisions onboard their boat including enough food for the whole length of the crossing.

Ocean rowing boats are fitted with limited facilities – there is no galley, no fridge or freezer and very limited storage space. A small camping style gas stove is generally all they have and again, each team must carry enough gas canisters for the length of the race.

Fresh food becomes a distant memory and the daily menu generally consists of the nautical delicacies, freeze dried or boil in the bag meals, dried fruit, nuts, energy bars and the odd chocolate or sweet as a real treat.

As each competitor is rowing on average 12 hours a day, they are burning hundreds of calories, which need to be replaced by the food they eat. Generally, ocean rowers should be aiming to consume 6,000 – 8,000 calories per day in order to maintain strength and body weight. This in itself proves a major problem on the diet available.

Food is also a huge moral booster so it’s important that the food a crew chooses, is food that is both palatable and enjoyable. All these important factors must be weighed up against the weight that the food will add to the overall boat weight, which in turn can affect boat speed.

Of course, there are some ways to add to this bland diet. Fishing has long become an ocean rowing pastime but this can take time and requires the added weight of the fishing kit to be added to the boats inventory. Let’s hope any teams that try their hand at fishing during the Indian Ocean Rowing Race don’t catch something bigger than expected!

After only a few weeks at sea, rowers start to dream of food that we all take for granted. Cravens for freshly baked bread, fresh fruit or steak and chips can take over a rower’s mind, not to mention the thought of an ice cold cola or beer.

Food really can make the difference in an Ocean Rowing Race so please bare a thought tonight when you tuck into your dinner, for the rowers who will be forcing far less edible food down their necks.

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