Eat, Sleep, Sail Repeat!

Eat, Sleep, Sail Repeat!

The Canadian skipper of the IMOCA Be Water Positive, Scott Shawyer, is in Newport, RI, making his final preparations for the  upcoming New York Vendée Race, which will start on May 29th. Alongside ensuring his boat is in the best condition for the race ahead he is also focused on prioritising two key areas – food and sleep.

Undoubtedly, two of the biggest challenges of racing these high speed yachts alone include; managing sleep and getting adequate nutrition.  The constant and often violent movement of the boat combined with the noise of the hull hitting the waves, makes it very difficult to get any rest and sometimes makes it impossible to eat. Food and sleep are vital to the skipper being able to remain alert to help critical decision making.  It’s therefore vital to be well prepared with suitable food for the race that is easy to eat, nutritious and you like to eat! It’s also vital to have a comfortable and safe place to sleep aboard the boat, that could be moving at 30 knots through 5 metre waves.


Each skipper has to prepare their meals in a confined, moving space – using only a ‘jet boil’ to make hot water.  The importance of eating nutritious meals during this race will provide not only a morale boost, but the necessary energy and nutrients for Scott to maintain physical endurance and mental focus in the demanding conditions of offshore sailing. Offshore sailors tend to take some fresh supplies with them for the first few days, snacks and a range of freeze dried camping food that is rehydrated with hot water or vacuum packed ‘wet meals’ that can be eaten straight from the packet.  Scott ‘s preference is a mixture of these ready made meals, supplemented by his own home made recipes that he freeze dries himself for the race. Scott’s go to snacks are granola bars with nuts and chocolate.

For food, I’ve studied my nutritional needs and designed a diet adapted for on-board, while planning for possible seasicknessFor food, I snack throughout the day and try to prepare freeze-dried meals when possible.”  explains the skipper.


The constant demands of monitoring the boat’s performance and conditions leave little time for rest, requiring disciplined and efficient management to maintain performance and safety during the race. 

It’s difficult to sleep well on the boat because it’s always moving. It’s also complicated to eat well and rest. There is so much to do that time seems to fly by. So I try to plan my sleep and rest periods according to the workload and sea state, grabbing naps of 30 to 90 minutes..”

Regarding his ‘sleep’ training, the Canadian skipper jokes that his wife has been preparing him for years due to her light and restless sleep. “My wife has kind of trained me for the sleep part over the years! I sleep in a fragmented way at night, which helps me adapt offshore.” 

During the race, Scott Shawyer will increasingly try and shift into a polyphasic sleep pattern (breaking up sleep into multiple short naps throughout the day and night), rather than having one long sleep period. 

Scott Shawyer is well prepared, confident and eager to start the New York Vendée on May 29th. His goal is simple: to complete this Atlantic crossing in the best possible conditions.


About Be Water Positive

Scott’s IMOCA racing yacht proudly displays the livery of the Be Water Positive campaign, reminding everyone of the crucial issues related to sustainable water management. The “Be Water Positive” initiative aims to promote the responsible and efficient use of water resources.