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food for thought

Leg 2, Day 2
13 December 2011
Amory Ross, MCM, PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG

Victories are hard to come by out here. It’s a long race and achievements go unnoticed, forgotten, or just plain lost in the mayhem. But they do happen, and when they do – however big or small – they deserve some recognition:

Halfway through Leg 1, I knew the food needed some attention during the Cape Town stopover. It was too heavy, too repetitive, and the quantities of certain items were incorrect. Lo and behold, we lose our rig and show up on the morning of the seventh with four days until the restart and no time to fix it. Enter Tim, Felix and the rest of the PUMA shore team, along with Mike Cecchi, our trainer nutritionist.

Not only did they work overtime to vacuum seal all of our meals, getting quantities, supplies, and directions over a span of emails from the boat, they also managed to make everything better. This morning from Ken (maybe the hardest customer on the boat): “This is the best oatmeal I’ve ever had.” And it was, I’ll attest, really good (caramel and cranberry). There’s way more diversity in the bars and candy, and it’s made a huge difference in the level of complaining. Volvo sailors might be a tough crowd but they sure take their food seriously!

Our “food bags” are somewhat of a science, each one carrying two days of food (three meals per day plus snacks and sanitary supplies). They are carefully weighed and their contents documented in a progressive Excel spreadsheet. During the last leg, our bags weighed an average of 27 kg; this leg that number is down to about 23 or 24. That’s 3 or 4 kg saved per bag, and it adds up quickly. So job well done guys, it’s been a huge success already.

What’s that? Enough about the food? Right, we’re in a race. Okay – things are good. Quiet night: light air, flat water. We’re going fast. Faster than the guys in front, slower than the guys behind. The fleet’s compressed again and just about everyone is in sight. The mood onboard is best described as quiet. Lots of moving things around for perfect boat trim, lots of tiptoeing, but almost no casual talking and loud personal noises are discouraged. More sea breeze is expected today as the sun rises and the land heats up. It’s 180 miles to Port Elizabeth, then we go south southeast, but not before Tom dictates an important point of tactical current crossing later this evening. Got it?

 

December 13th, 2011

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