The hypothesis, that sailing upwind in wind speeds above 12 knots causes fatigue,
which manifests as a reduction in exerted hiking strap force and/or maximal isometric
voluntary contraction force (MVC) of the knee extensors, was evaluated. Additionally,
it was investigated if a relationship exists between maximal exerted hiking force
(hMVC) and sailing performance. In part 1 of the study, 12 national level athletes
sailed upwind for 2 × 10 min while hiking strap forces were continuously acquired.
Before, in between and after sailing periods, the MVC of the knee extensors was measured.
In part 2 of the study, hMVC was measured dry land in a hiking bench and correlated
with the overall results at a national championship. Hiking strap force decreased
from the first to the last minute in both 10 min sailing periods (430 ± 131 vs. 285 ± 130 N,
P < .001 and 369 ± 74 vs. 267 ± 97 N, P < .001, respectively), but MVC was similar
before, between and after the two 10 min sailing periods (878 ± 215 vs. 852 ± 202
vs. 844 ± 211 130 N). In part 2, a significant positive correlation (r(2) = 0.619,
P < .01) was observed between hMVC and regatta results. In conclusion, upwind sailing
in wind speeds above 12 knots causes sailing-specific fatigue as evidenced by a marked
reduction in exerted hiking strap force. However, MVC of the knee extensors was not
compromised ∼45 s after hiking was terminated. Additionally, sailing performance is
related to maximal hiking force.