Top 10 Ways To Stay In Shape On A Sailing Trip

Via on Jan 19, 2010

I recently returned from a sailing trip down the Southern Pacific Coast of Baja with my friends.

Sailboats in Magdalena Bay in Baja, Mexico.
Sailboats in Magdalena Bay in Baja, Mexico.

It’s hard to find extra space on a 30-foot sailboat with five people on board, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up your morning run or skimp on healthy, delicious food. If you’re a little creative and have the motivation, it’s actually quite easy to eat well and stay active even in tight quarters.

Below are the top 10 ways we found to stay in shape on a sailing trip.

Tree pose on Belcher's Cove in Magdalena Bay in southern Baja, Mexico.

6.    Sea kayak — Paddling gives you access to many secluded island spots. We often dropped our kayak into the water for a quick paddle to shore, or in search of a new beach, or cove. On a sailboat you spend so much of your time being powered by the wind, but when you’re in a kayak, it’s up to you to provide the power and it’s a nice change of pace after a few days of sailing. If you don’t have a kayak on board, ask around and I guarantee you can find one to rent for a day trip.

7.    Find some waves — For my friend, a surfboard is an absolute necessity on a sailing trip. While the big surf is further north on the Baja Peninsula this time of year, we managed to find plenty of waves to ride. Surfing is an excellent way to stay active and feel the power of the ocean. We also took the kayak out to catch some waves.

Taking down the sail on the way to Cabo San Lucas.
Taking down the sail on the way to Cabo San Lucas.

8.    Sail — Just straight up sailing is active. Sure there’s plenty of down time, but putting up the sails and taking them down can keep you busy — especially when you’re trying to find the right wind.

Fishermen coming into Man O' War Cove with their catch of the day.
Fishermen coming into Man O’ War Cove with their catch of the day.

9.    Eat local — To fuel all of this activity, make sure to stock up on delicious local food. It’s easy to drop a line in the water to catch fresh fish for dinner, or chat it up with the locals to find a yummy catch of the day. One evening, after a successful day fishing, my friends made Bonito fish kabobs with pineapple and lime.

Being a vegetarian, I couldn’t get my fill of avocados, tomatoes and fresh pineapple! Each time we went into town to resupply, I would come out of the tienda with my arms full of fresh, local produce and warm, corn tortillas. I also found the best veggie tacos I have ever eaten in a little town outside of San Jose Del Cabo, so when in Baja, make sure to visit your local taqueria regularly.

10.    Make your own food — While we savored many, many tacos on dry land, we made some of our most delicious meals on the boat. For breakfast, we ate everything from banana pancakes with honey to Huevos Rancheros — always with a cup of coffee or tea. When sailing, we’d keep it simple with homemade granola, yogurt and fresh fruit. And we had a constant pot of beans and rice on the stove, as well as fresh salsa, avocados and fruit. We also got creative with spices and chilis to cook up curries and lentil dahl.

And why stop at cooking? If you’re feeling up to it, grow your own herbs and vegetables on board. We met a sweet couple from Vancouver, BC who had a thriving herb and lettuce garden. Also, no need to buy salt when you’re swimming in it! Set a shallow pan of salt water in the sun and you’ll have sea salt by dinnertime, we also experimented with cooking beans and rice in a bit of salt water. Turned out delicious!