Race to Alaska: #R2AKgourmet
We made a few agreements as a team before race start: anybody has veto power; when given the option, we choose the safe course (or: course completion over speed); and, eating well is important to our success.
These agreements have served us very well. Marking food in particular as important has been a critical part of morale and team cohesion. And we’ve scheduled in rotating cook shifts to support six meals a day, so there is a lot of opportunity to shine.
Everybody has different food styles, and as a team we didn’t really know each other setting out. Liam owns the boat, Ert used to work with Liam, I went to college with Ert, Rick is my dad, and Rick plays soccer with Graham’s uncle. I’d met Graham once before Port Townsend, and Liam only on the Sundays we used in the leadup months fixing up the boat.
Our food planning, almost a lack of planning, was well suited to making sure everyone’s food needs are met. Graham offered up a huge stash of backpacker meals. Rick, who spent a lot of time on the PCT last year, specialized in quick foods: couscous, oats, Greenbelly meal bars. Ert planned specific entrees and brought all the components: dried shiitake in great quantity, mixes for soups and rice dishes, pancake mix. I, with years of planning around no refrigeration for Alaska trips, bought grapefruits, apples, carrots, Dave’s bread- fresh stuff that keeps. Liam, clearly a follower of sugar-salt-flavor, is in charge of snacks.
Ert made a spreadsheet so we could check appropriate calorie counts: we should be able to feed five hungry people for a couple of weeks without resupply.
We’ve needed all of it: Oreos, fresh sweet peppers, the cayenne/paprika/cumin above-average sailing spice kit Liam keeps on board, granola bars to have something to shove in your mouth while on an active shift.
I’m instagramming our meals with the hashtag #R2AKgourmet partly in a bid to see what other teams are eating, but it also serves to raise our own team’s bar just a little bit: add some flair, take a moment to plate. Absurdity is fun (which is why we’re here). Why not play with food while under sail, and eat unnecessarily well in the process?