Hydration is essential

Good Hydration is essential in Competitive sailing.

When we sail in higher temperatures we need a regular intake of fluids to maintain performance capability.

The consequences of a lack of fluids –

Effects on mental performance

  • Mental tiredness increases, and attentiveness and concentration decrease.
  • Co-ordination ability decreases; special manoeuvres don’t work anymore as they should.
  • Our decisiveness is impaired and this has negative effects on our tactical decisions.
  • Distances and angles are harder to judge and the chances of an incorrect decision increase. 

Effects on physical performance

  • Our cardiovascular and central nervous systems are affected by the lack of fluids.
  • This causes an increased pulse rate, lower blood pressure and loss of muscle strength.
  • Physical tiredness leads to lower performances in all areas and all movements become more strenuous. 
  • A reduction of the body mass, caused by a lack of fluids, reduces muscle strength by up to 6%.

The consequences of loss of water –

  • An 80kg sailor only has to lose 1.2 kg in order to feel negative effects on mental and physical performance.
  • With light physical effort in moderate conditions, say 18-22 degrees, the rate of perspiration equals 400ml per hour. Hydration is essential.
  • We assume the sailor is on the water for 2 hours including the journey to the race. The critical limit of 1.2kg loss will be reached by the end of the first race.
  • Electrolyte balance maintains muscle contraction and function while avoiding fatigue, nausea or disorientation.
  • By the second or third race in hot weather, decision-making and response time can deteriorate without electrolyte replenishment.

Normal sailing clothing and sailing in warm areas will heighten these effects. 

If you are thirsty its already too late

Research results confirm that light dehydration can affect your mood, your energy level and your ability to think. Hydration is Essential.

Thirst occurs when our body mass has been reduced by 1-2%. At this point that dehydration has already begun. 

At this stage, our mental and physical performance are generally already lowered.