by Oli Tweddell (Australian Finn sailor and ex. Optimist sailor)
Staying hydrated while being out on the water is critical to performance, and as you all know race days can get very long and tiring. That is why it is equally as important to get your nutrition correct at an event as you don’t want the feeling of hitting the wall half way through the day.
I tend to think of my body as an engine, just like an engine it needs fuel, with food being my main fuel I re-fuel 3-5 times a day.
It is imperative that you have a substantial breakfast on race days, preferably one that contains Low GI foods such as, Porridge, jam and toast, fruit salad and yoghurt, bananas and cereal ( try and stay away from cereals with high amounts of sugar!) If you don’t have a good breakfast you will already be running low on your body’s fuel which inevitably will run out during the day.
After breakfast your next main meal is going to be lunch, and depending on when you are racing you can either have this before you launch or while you are on the water. For lunch you want carbohydrates (rice, noodles, pasta or bread) with protein ( chicken, ham, turkey, fish etc…) and vegetables, this is always a lot easier in theory as some people can’t eat lunch out on the water ( myself included). If you are unable to eat lunch on the water it is even more vital to eat a big breakfast, and try to grab a few bananas before you launch.
While on the water try to snack after races, as we are there to race and not eat 5 star banquets there are limited foods that are good for on the water, but most people use; lollies, muesli bars and bananas and as sailors get older they use sports bars and gels (but they aren’t recommended for under 16’s).
When you get ashore you want to have some carbohydrates to replenish some of the fuel you have burnt on the water, and to help fill you up until dinner.
For dinner you want to try and have a high carbohydrate and protein meal like spaghetti bolognaise or chicken stir-fry.
A great place to get some good recipes and lists of food is the Government's AUSPORT web site CLICK HERE
I hope this information is of some use to you all!