Skandia crews to benefit from new drink created by the University of Aberdeen

Twenty sailors at this year’s Skandia Cowes Week, which starts this Saturday 30 July, will have a distinct advantage over the other 8,000 competitors in the form of a scientifically formulated energy drink.

Branded ‘Skandia Cowes Juice’, the drink has been created by the University of Aberdeen. Unlike off-the-shelf energy drinks, ‘Skandia Cowes Juice’ has been specifically formulated to maximise brain, as well as muscle, performance.

“We looked at several existing sailing studies and calculated the approximate carbohydrate utilisation in each,” says Dr Derek Ball, a lecturer at the University’s School of Medical Sciences, who led the research. “We then formulated a drink that would match the energy demands made during simulated sailing and examined the effect on two markers of cognitive function: reaction time and propensity not to make errors. The results showed that, over a three-hour period, the reaction time improved and the average number of errors decreased among those who consumed our formula. This was not the case for those who consumed a placebo drink.”

Racing in the crowded waters around Cowes is challenging for any crew and during Skandia Cowes Week up to 1,000 boats compete in 37 different classes. Add to this around 1,000 other boats out on the water to spectate and it’s plain to see why crews need to have their wits about them.

Twenty sailors from the five boats that make up the Skandia Squad will be given ‘Skandia Cowes Juice’ every day of racing. For maximum effect, the sailors will need to drink half a litre of the energy drink per hour of each race.