Whether you’re a beginner or professional skipper, seasickness makes no distinction. Skipper Tanguy De Lamotte, who is taking part in the Vendée Globe, admitted to us that even he sometimes suffers from this illness. Your sailing ability, then, makes no difference whatsoever. Here are a few tips for making sure that your stomach doesn’t start churning.
SEASICKNESS... WHAT IS IT?
It’s a type of motion sickness, and its scientific name is ‘naupathia’.
When you’re unwell, it’s because there’s a disconnect between what you’re seeing and what you’re feeling. Your body moves to the rhythm of the boat as it pitches, but your eyes only see the stable parts of the boat. This has a negative impact on your inner ear, causing the cold sweats, dizzy spells, feeling of heavy limbs and nausea that you might experience.
THE 5 THINGS TO REMEMBER
Well known by sailors, these five things are the main causes of seasickness: tiredness, cold, hunger, thirst and fear.
A good night’s sleep, a decent jacket/salopette, a good meal, a bottle of water and being comfortable with what you’re doing and the conditions should help you keep seasickness at bay.
WHAT TO DO TO AVOID SEASICKNESS
While you’re waiting for your body to get used to the sea, there are a few things you can do to avoid the dizzyness.
LOOK AT THE SEA
Seasickness is a type of motion sickness. Just like it helps to look at the road when you’re in a car, looking at the sea helps when you’re on deck.
Being able to see the movement of the sea allows your body to synchronise what it’s seeing with what it’s feeling. This reduces the effect seasickness has on the inner ear.
AVOID ANYTHING THAT MIGHT INCREASE YOUR NAUSEA
The smell of diesel, the sight of people throwing up etc. What might usually just be off-putting or make you feel a little queasy obviously needs to be avoided when you’re on board.
The same goes for the heat of the cabin. Fresh air does you good, so it’s best to stay out on deck once you start experiencing any symptoms.
Keeping active will help draw your attention away from your seasickness…
STAY RELAXED TO AVOID SEASICKNESS
Before going sailing, whether on a long or short journey, make sure you’re well rested. A good night’s sleep is much better than a short one and can help limit the risk. Tiredness and stress are two factors that can worsen the symptoms of seasickness.
Once on board, make sure you’re as relaxed as possible. Don’t think about being seasick. If you think about the last time you had your head over the side of the boat, you may well end up feeling just as ill and repeating the experience.
WHAT YOU CAN TAKE TO AVOID SEASICKNESS
From lemon juice to chewing gum and even ginger, there are all kinds of remedies. Just find out what works for you. One thing that’s good to know: banana tastes the same going down as it does coming up...
Apart from the unofficial remedies, there are also various treatments for fighting seasickness, highly recommended for the amateur yachtsman.
Herbal medicine, homeopathy, antiemetics, antihistamines and other patches should, however, be avoided by regular sailors, as they can have unwanted side effects which could be dangerous for professional yachtsmen.
For available medicines, ask your local GP. He or she will be able to prescribe you the option that’s best for you.
EQUIPMENT YOU CAN USE TO COMBAT SEASICKNESS
If you’d prefer to steer clear of medical treatment, you should know that there are various sailing products designed to limit or even stop the effects of seasickness on your body. These innovations, which include a pair of glasses with a blue liquid in the frame that moves with the pitch of the boat, are meant to help your inner ear get accustomed to sailing. However, there’s no real way of testing the effectiveness of these products.
If you’re sceptical, even just having the right clothing and equipment can put you in a better frame of mind, and that’s already going to help stave off seasickness.