#3 & 4. Optimized Nutrition and Ocean Going Farming

The task of maintaining stocks of fresh produce on oceangoing vessels has plagued sailors for centuries. Until a few decades ago, the thought of fresh produce beyond the second or third day at sea was optimistic. 25 years of advancement in refrigeration has helped the situation, but only modestly. Class 40s have a large cooler, but no refrigeration. To attempt to have fresh produce beyond 4-5 days after leaving France is a major improvement in both nutrition and technological innovation.  

By growing microgreens Team 11th Hour Racing will save energy and enjoy fresh produce during the month-long trip. The Team will grow arugula by adding water to harvested seedlings, applying them to the jute and then keeping them in a dark space while they germinate. Shortly after germination the jute will be moved to a hydroponic box that sits on the back of the boat, and within four days the seedlings will be ready to eat.

In 2011, the last Team 11th Hour Racing boat to sail in the Transat Jacques Vabre carried the world’s first carbon fiber oceanic hydroponic system.

Carbon Fiber Hydroponic Microgreens Box that will live on board Team 11th Hour Racing

This first iteration of the Cityblooms Aquatic Project was an effort to grow edible and nutritious produce in the harsh and unforgiving environment that is a shorthanded race boat. Cityblooms founder and former Team 11th Hour Racing member, Nick Halmos demonstrated that it was possible to sprout and enjoy fresh microgreens thousands of miles from land.

Microgreens that Team 11th Hour Racing will attempt to grow while racing in the TJV.

The lessons the 2011 team learned will be passed on to Hannah and Rob so that they may be able to grow approximately 1/3 lb of fresh greens per week. 

While having some form of fresh produce will be aid in Rob & Hannah's nutrition it will not ensure sufficient protein in their daily meals. In addition to the microgreens, Hannah and Rob will subsist on a diet of freeze dried food. Freeze drying food removes approximately 98% of water content and then vacuum packs what remains, thus effectively eliminating bacteria and the possibility for decomposition. Additionally, by removing the water content from the food, freeze dried food is significantly lighter in weight which in racing is important as a heavy boat is a slow boat.

Be Well Expeditions Food will supply Team 11th Hour with bulk freeze dried which will help eliminate packaging waste. Hannah and Rob will take four varieties and eat two, high energy servings (800 calories each) of freeze dried per day.

Sample Freeze Dried Food Package from Be Well Expeditions.

They will supplement the remainder of their diet with snacks, noodles, chocolate (Rob's favorite thing to eat offshore) and salami (Hannah's favorite offshore food). One of the downsides to freeze dried food is that it will not provide enough protein for Hannah and Rob. They are currently working with a fitness coach and nutritionist to build a plan to supplement their protein and energy needs while burning through 4,000+ calories each per day.