Route du Rhum 2022
Lorient, October 2022
A very particular sense of excitement has hit the pontoons these last few days. The twelfth edition of the Route du Rhum is on everyone’s lips. With a departure from Saint-Malo on 6 November, the fleet has never been so large with a record 138 skippers who will set sail for Pointe-à-Pitre in Guadeloupe. In the meantime, the teams are busy with the many preparations, with one obligatory step: the provisioning of food for both the outward and the return journey. A mission that many of them entrust toFreezedried & Co.
Offshore racing means a diet subjected to severe tests
A rough start in winter conditions, a finish with higher temperatures and often highly changeable weather, that’s the program! This thermal shock needs to be anticipated when making food plans. The skippers will have richer meals when leaving Brittany (with an intake of approximately 3,000 kcal daily). The heat, during the second part of the race, will reduce some of the participants’ need for energy (depending on the size, the range varies from 2,000 to 2,500 kcal consumed per day) and appetite. As far as provisions are concerned, first of all there’s fresh food to cover the first few days, and then the rest of the crossing will be made with food that has nothing to fear from humidity and the absence of a refrigerator (the duration of a Route du Rhum varies from 7 days (‘Ultime’ class) to 1 month at sea for the oldest boats in the ‘Rhum’ class)
In order to stock up on shelf-stable foodstuffs, the sailors and their staff are constantly on the phone or in the shop located at the Pôle Course au Large in Lorient. With an equipment rate fluctuating between 70% and 100% during previous races, the Lyophilise & Co team has become well established since its creation in 2010. ‘And the pace will intensify in the coming days,’ says Managing Director Ariane Pehrson.
The key to successful provisioning: variety and flavour
Alone in the outdoor and survival food sector, the Breton company offers offshore racing enthusiasts and professionals the largest catalogue in Europe of freeze-dried (meals dried by the cold) and dehydrated (dried by heat) meals, as well as many sterilised recipes (like those in the jars of yesteryear but in a vacuum bag). While freeze-dried is a lightweight solution on board, heavier sterilised options are also popular. The reason? Boats not equipped with a watermaker (a system that makes seawater drinkable) avoid overloading themselves with water intended for rehydrating meals. Many therefore choose the sterilised, ‘ready-to-eat’ options which can be reheated in a bain-marie, even with non-potable water.
Because after a few days of sailing, ‘everything tastes the same’, the employees of Lyophilise & Co work on the variety, quality and flavours of the meals to avoid food fatigue for the solo sailors of the seas. On the menu, recipes that hit the mark when it comes to tantalising taste buds include: risotto with porcini mushrooms, pulled pork, ham on the bone with potatoes dauphinoise, and even apple tart tatin! In order to meet the demand of those who wanted ready-to-go provisions, packs developed with valuable feedback from sailors, bring together safe nutritional values, while taking into account the weather conditions mentioned above. Packaged per day, these kits offer around twenty days of autonomy, with or without a snack depending on need.
Meal tests for the Ocean Race
And once arrived? Options vary by boat, navigator and programme. Some remain sailing in the West Indies during the winter, others return by cargo ship, and the last go to their home port. Lyophilise & Co also supplies some vessels for ‘this after Rhum’ period. A container chartered by the race’s organisers will be sent to Guadeloupe in October, partly loaded with precious food.
During the return delivery, the skippers are often surrounded by teammates. They carry out technical tests, shore up various systems, and you have to feed them! It’s also an opportunity for the IMOCAs taking part in the Ocean Race to evaluate new recipes and brands in real sailing conditions. This crewed race round the world with a stopover will set off from Alicante, on the Spanish coast next January and ‘Team Lyo’ would not miss this meeting for anything in the world since it has supplied the entire fleet for the last two expeditions!
Find out more
With a workforce of around fifteen people, the company has just exceeded 5 million Euro in turnover and will start work on its new building in October (right beside its store and its offices) which will be entirely dedicated to logistics to keep up with the pace of orders.
Contact : Ariane Pehrson –General Manager