Meals and Nutrition for Ocean Rowing

Eat. Sleep. Row. Repeat.

"When people get over their initial surprise that my friends Jess, Caroline and I are rowing the Atlantic they very quickly turn to the practicalities – what do you eat?! It’s a great question because with a monotonous routine of two hours rowing, two hours sleeping - all day… every day… for 50 days - food will be a highlight!" says ocean rower Susan Ronaldson

Susan goes on to explain a bit about the Talisker Whiskey Challenge...

"I’m part of all female trio Status Row who will be competing in the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge - the world’s toughest row - this December. We’re aiming to be the second female trio to row 3000 miles across the Atlantic, from the Canaries to the Caribbean. In the process we want to smash the world record."

And why they decided to take on such an epic race...

"We’re doing it to prove that ordinary women like us can do extraordinary things. We met on an indoor climbing course and, whilst two years later we were still terrible at climbing, we became great friends, looking for a challenge to undertake together. We’d never done anything like this before and hadn’t even rowed! But we hope we can inspire others to get active, get outside or take on their own challenge.

As we undertake the row we’ll face storms, 40ft waves, sleep deprivation, salt sores, and isolation, but we’re also hoping for stunning sunrises and sunsets, incredible marine wildlife, nights under a blanket of stars and crossing the finish line to achieve something epic with your close friends."

Asking Susan about the nutrition they need for their ocean row, she explains:

"The rules of the race mean that we will be unsupported. We must take all we need with us including everything we’ll eat. And we’ll eat plenty – around 6000 calories a day! Our food must therefore give us the calories we need, be nutritious, taste good and be practical.

Practical means it must last and be easy to prepare. We’ll be out there for seven weeks with no fridge or freezer, and we can’t cook - only boil the water that we will desalinate onboard. We’ve found Tent Meals tick all the boxes – tasty, nutritious, easy to prepare and lots of calories packed in to small packages; which is really important with the limited space we have on the boat. My favourite is the subtly cinnamon breakfast with the Italian meal a close second. We’ve also found it a challenge to get vegan meals for Caroline who will be fully plant powered for the race and so Tent Meals are great for her."




For Susan and the team though it isn't just about the challenge itself... 

"We are also using the platform of the race to raise awareness of plastic pollution. With 8 million tonnes of plastic going into our oceans each year, at this rate there will be more plastic in the seas than fish by 2050. As rowing the Atlantic seems a big challenge, you can break it down into a series of small actions: strokes of the oar. Tackling plastic pollution also seems impossible but if we all make small changes - such as reusable bottles and coffee cups - they individually and collectively make a difference and are a catalyst for sustainable change."



Some final words...

"With just four months to the start of the race, we’re now into the final stages of our preparation. It’s hard work as we aren’t just preparing physically but also are learning how everything on the boat works, navigation, first aid and sea survival - alongside fundraising and spreading our message of reducing single use plastic! Hard work, but incredibly rewarding. If you’d like to follow our journey to the start line and then across the Atlantic, then check us out at or @statusrow on social media!"


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