Miami gives sailors time to regain strength

© Yann Riou / Groupama Sailing Team / Volvo Ocean Race
© Yann Riou / Groupama Sailing Team / Volvo Ocean Race

The weary Volvo Ocean Race sailors should return to action in Miami in better shape than in months after finally getting a chance to rebuild physical strength that has been ebbing away over half a year of sailing.

CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand physiotherapist Paul Wilson said recent stopovers that have been cut short by slower than expected racing and damage-delays have limited the time sailors have had to recuperate.

Wilson said the upshot was that most sailors had lost between four and eight kilos of body weight, including muscle mass, since the start of the race in November last year.

“On the hard legs they’re losing weight and some have lost up to 10 kilos from the start,’’ he said. “With that they lose a lot of strength. The sails don’t get any lighter, and as the guys get weaker it gets harder.”

Wilson said for the first time in months his team have the time to do more than just rest. In Miami, they have been able to hit the gym for solid cardio and strength work while.

“In the stopover the first four to five days you have to get the body back together, you have to rest and feed it,’’ he said. “Then after they’ve recovered you can work on the muscle mass again.

“In Auckland we had six days; you have no time for strength. This stopover we’ve had four days to recover, then we’re able to do a good two to three days of strength work.”

Those couple of days’ workout is enough to give the sailors a much needed power boost ahead of the remaining seven scoring bouts.

“This training now will given them a bit of a jump, it’ll bump them up another 10 to 15 per cent, they’ll be fresher,’’ he said. “Right now, they’ve got to be about 20 to 30 per cent down on their initial strength.”

Groupama sailing team bowman Brad Marsh said at the start of the race the sailors start with maximum energy, strength and mental capacity. But as the race goes on, it all slowly drains away.

For Marsh, the Miami stopover has been the best stopover “pit-stop” yet.

“The stopovers to now have been brutal on everybody,’’ he said. 

“They have been very, very short and I think for everyone this has been the best stopover in terms of mental and physical recovery and relaxation. It has been a nice boost here in Miami. An energy pep to get us going for the next three legs.”

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