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Popping pills on the Volvo Ocean Race

Jan 1, 2003

Getting enough nutrition aboard a Volvo Ocean Race boat is a serious concern. The sailors need energy, but the freeze-dried food is often less than substantial enough to keep the crew healthy. A partial answer to this problem is nutrition pills, which are described by Amer Sports One skipper Paul Cayard:

"Beef dill with mashed potatoes was the menu for lunch with 6 pills as an appetizer. What we eat and drink out here is freeze-dried and desalinated water and as such is lacking in the necessary electrolytes and minerals that we all get ashore. Furthermore, our bodies are sleep deprived and we burn more calories than we take in … I think I have lost five kilos in the three weeks we have been out here. The pills are to replenish the magnesium, zinc and a few other million things that we are lacking out here. People have lost their hair out here due to these depletions! On the last lap with EF [in the previous Round the World Race] we had a doctor, Stefan Branth, who did research on us by taking blood and hair samples before and after the legs and through that he found out all of our depletions. So the recipe of pills we are taking this time is his concoction. We take 12 pills per day."