This article looks at preparing for proper hydration and testing what is actually sufficient hydration.
No doubt drinking sufficient water is a key to day to day life, good performance in sailing situations and ultimately for survival.
I’ll begin by offering this test: true or false you need to drink 8 eight ounce glasses of water per day? The majority of folks would answer yes to this.
A more accurate answer is nobody’s sure how much water you need to take in. A recent study found no scientific evidence to support the 8 X 8 plan at least not for people in temperate climates, leading sedentary lives.
In circumstances such as “strenuous physical work or exercise, & especially in hot climates” the 8×8 consumption plan may not be enough. So, maybe you need not drink 64 ounces of water, but you may need to do so in situations like racing sailboats, or anytime you’re sailing in warm summer weather. In warmer weather you can easily drink a gallon per day, which is 128 ounces.
The consequences of the 64 ounce per day goal for sailors can be seen in tankage requirements and containers. For instance a 9 person crew sailing the Chicago Mac race would require 576 ounces of water per day, 1728 ounces/13.5 gallons of water over the course of a 3 day race. This water would weigh 112 pounds. This is a lot of weight for weight conscious racing sailors. On the other hand a dehydrated crew will not perform up to snuff. A basic to track hydration level is to check your urine. Dark yellow urine can mean dehydration.
Interestingly, the Offshore Special regualations call for 2.4 gallons per 1000 miles. As the Mac is 333 miles this is 104 ounces of water.
In this age of the water bottle, and bottled water it shouldn’t be hard to find containers for each person on a boat. Certainly a bottled water container can become an onboard water bottle. A more durable container is a bottle made of Nalegene plastic. These are widely available and cost under $ 10.00. Many come in a 32 ounce size. So, drinking 2 of these bottles a day should keep you properly hydrated.
The final phase of this might be to keep a ‘water diary’. See how much water your body needs in certain situations. Use this to ensure you have enough water when you need it. Another source for how much water you should drink can be found here.
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