The crew of the Volvo Open 70 movistar was given a full medical check in Sanxenso

The crew of the Volvo Open 70 movistar was given a full medical check in Sanxenso, to certify their fitness just over a month before the start of the Volvo Ocean Race 2005-2006.

Ruth McIlruth, the movistar team doctor commented: “This race is so physically demanding that it is essential to know the state of fitness of the crew. These tests are an exhaustive health check on each of the boys, from blood tests to stress tests so that we know exactly where they are before the race starts, to find out if they may have a problem during the race and, hence anticipate it.

“Maybe the most demanding of all the tests that we do on the crew members, and at the same time, the most indicative for us, is the stress. Basically, what we do is put them on an exercise bicycle and measure their response to tiredness and their capacity for making a continued effort with a set of electrodes that we connect to a computer. I am accustomed to working with Olympic athletes, and I must admit that the crew has surprised me: they are much stronger and endure far more than I had expected!”

Sam Brovender, fitness trainer adds: “To tell you the truth, the stereo-type of Round the World sailor has changed enormously with these new boats. Before, teams used to focus more on preparing the boat, the sails and the design, and not so much on the fitness of the crew. These boats are bigger, faster and more demanding than ever, but there are fewer hands aboard, so the work load is much higher and the crew members have to be prepared for it. Most people would be surprised to find real athletes aboard these boats at the start next November.

“Our challenge is to ensure that they all leave Galicia in the best physical form possible, because we are aware that it will be down hill all the way from then on, and they will start to loose muscle mass, weight and strength. The training and eating programme has been developed to guarantee that this loss is as gradual and as mild as possible over the weeks that each stage lasts, seeking a balance between food intake, weight and physical fitness, which is particularly difficult. To do this, we have prepared a custom made programme for each member of the crew, because they are all different in weight, muscle mass, strength, etc. and we have to find the best formula for each one of them.”