Florence Juillard: « About 5,000 calories a day »

Jean-Pierre Dick
© V.Curutchet/Dark Frame /Virbac-Paprec Sailing Team

Florence Juillard, is Jean-Pierre Dick following a specific diet as he prepares for the race?
Jean-Pierre is going through a « supplementation » phase (editor’s notes: food supplements) to balance his meals and match his athletes’ needs. When on dry land, skippers have to be careful with what they eat so their food matches the balanced requirements of a top yachtsman’s diet.

What are the energy needs during a race like the Vendée Globe?
Jean-Pierre’s menus are based on an input of 5,000 calories a day, which can vary depending on the weather conditions throughout the race. As a comparison, a man’s average daily energy input is between 2,200 and 2,700 calories a day.

What is the food preparation process like before the race? Is Jean Pierre Dick directly involved?
Jean-Pierre has been working with Eve Tiollier, a nutritionist, since the beginning of the project to come up with menus that would match both his needs and his tastes. Once menus have been determined, the nutritionist sends them to me and I order all the products needed for the Vendée Globe. When I have everything I need, I prepare the daily portions following her instructions and the number of days Jean-Pierre thinks he is going to spend at sea.

Are some types of food highly recommended and others strictly forbidden?
No, not at all. Each type of food brings its own energy value and the choice is mostly about the skipper’s tastes and constraints created by the boat and the preservation of the food. 95% of Jean-Pierre’s food is frozen-dry, because it is much lighter, and some fresh products (dried meat, cheese, dried fruits, bread, oleaginous plants.

The pleasure of enjoying a meal must be very important to skippers. How can they have it all: good food and energy input?
Before the start, the skipper tests and validates every type of food loaded on board, every dish, even the frozen-dried ones. And then of course you have to add some of their favourite food…

Precisely, what are these little weaknesses?
Jean-Pierre is taking Saint Michel and Bonne Maman biscuits with him, chocolate from a Ploemeur chocolate factory and very good tea.


« Alcohol is not forbidden »


How do you deal with the fact it is impossible to bring too much food on board because of how heavy it would be?
We are only taking enough portions of food for the amount of time the skipper thinks he will be at sea. And to keep the weight to a minimum, we mostly stick to dried-frozen food.

What is eaten first? And last?
Fresh products that have been prepared specifically for the day of the start are eaten first – for example a fresh salad with pasta, ham, nuts, cherry tomatoes, cheese and dried sausage followed by fresh fruits. But Jean-Pierre soon has to switch to frozen-dried food until the end of the race.

Does food consumption change with the geographical position and temperature changes?
Yes, it does, absolutely. In the Southern Ocean with its cold temperatures, we had two short meals every day, one in the morning and another in the evening, with dried fruits and dried meat.

How is food prepared and cooked on board? Obviously, skippers do not really have time to cook so everything is done to make it fast and easy for them, right?
Yes, all the skipper has to do is heat some water in the « jetboil » (editor’s note : a multifunction gas ring) and ad dit to the dried-frozen food.

What is a typical meal like?
In the morning, there is a dried-frozen « cooked breakfast » with some bread, jam and honey. Lunch can be dried-frozen lamb or pasta, 50 grams of ham and dreid-frozen dessert, like custard pie. Snacks are usually an energy drink, a chocolate bar and dried fruits. As for dinner, it can be Frozen-dried Pasta Milanese, cheese and a red berries yoghurt.

What will Jean-Pierre drink?
Water, energy drinks or sports drinks, depending on what he has to do (manœuvres, etc.)

What about alcohol?
Nothing is forbidden but Jean-Pierre does not want to take alcohol with him, except for a few special occasions like Christmas, New Year’s Day or rounding the infamous Cape Horn. In this Vendée Globe, Jean-Pierre will take a small bottle of Mumm Champagne with him.

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