Feeling rough? How to take the edge off seasickness – a survey of ARC crews

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Seasickness is an age-old problem, but how common is it and how can we prevent or treat it? We conducted a survey among 450 sailors taking part in the ARC rally last year, to find out how people coped with this dreaded affliction.

The 2015 ARC provided participants with an exciting start to their ocean passage. During the first few days there were 25-40-knot winds, with large seas around the wind acceleration zones to the south of the Canary Islands and bumpy seas.

With only a few days of calm conditions for most amid the downwind rolling of a typical transatlantic crossing, the chances of feeling seasick at some point was high. At the end of the rally, participants were invited to complete our survey on seasickness, asking whether they had suffered, for how long and the remedies they had used.

An age-old affliction

There are references to seasickness as far back as Ancient Greece. Briefly, seasickness will arise when the body experiences a mismatch between the information received from our vision, balance (sensed via the ear) and the anticipated model of sensory behaviour that the body has built up from normal and previous experiences.

For example, when at sea our ears tell us that we are moving, however our sight (when focused on something within the boat) suggests that we are stationary.

As so many of us know all too well, symptoms include pale skin, cold sweat, dizziness, increased saliva, vomiting, headaches and drowsiness.

Source: yachting world

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