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Old 22-02-2017, 15:31   #1
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Seasickness related to boat size or something else…?

Hey Folks,

we are still relatively new to sailing (~450nm so far), though me and my girlfriend realised during our last 3 week holiday-on-water that we have to change our lives. Meaning, we are now aiming (=planning) to get a live-aboard cruiser in a few years and start life afloat. (Budget is still an issue, but we are working on that.)

However, so far we have sailed only two different boats:
1) Bavaria 39 (twice, Netherlands and Canaries) and 2) a Beneteau First 50 (Canaries).

In both cases on the Bavaria I felt (when going below) quickly “very uncomfortable", making me to get back on deck within seconds. In some occasions the results was even "eating backwards”… Though I was in most cases quickly feeling okay again when getting back on deck and/or taking over the helm, I am sometimes worried whether this might render our plans unrealistic. (I keep telling myself that one just has to get used to it. If there is a will, there should be a way. Right?!)

However, when we sailed the First 50 I never had an issue with that. I could go below do chart work, prepare some food, or do what ever is up. So in short, the First 50 was a pleasure to sail in all regards.

So, since our experience is so far rather limited (~450nm only on these two vessels), I am obviously not in the position to make a proper and final judgement on the situation. Hence this post.

Though I am not sure yet, my impression was that not only the absolute size (LOA) 39 vs 50ft plays a role here, but also the "space inside" makes a difference. (The First 50 has a relatively spacious saloon while the Bavaria 39 is more like dark shoebox. No offence to Bav-owners, I am just trying to emphasise my point here.) Furthermore the First 50 did not roll so much, but that might be a subjective misjudgement. I reckon also the absolute weight, centre of gravity and type of keel (and/or draught?) or the beam could be relevant here. But again, I have no sufficient experience/knowledge what parameters have to be considered in this context. Nor do I know what to look for specifically when comparing different boats. Maybe there is even no answer to this, except for "you need to try out different boats and different sizes, only then you can decide."
Anyhow, so far a 40-45 foot boat is what we currently see also in terms of space for a permanent liveabord as the minimum. But this issue here makes me want to have a ~50 footer. (Be this a reasonable reason or not. I dunno.)

All I have so far is a comment from a well experienced sailor saying: “Well, then you obviously need a (larger) boat around the 50ft mark. Then you will be fine." While this seems to be an "easy answer", I am not yet comfortable with settling this issue just with that.

Maybe it is just the way a Bavaria 40-footer is manufactured, maybe the Bavaria keel is just the “wrong one for me”, and perhaps I could be very happy with just another 40ft boat from a different manufacturer. (Perhaps we just need to look for a specific type of keel or what ever.) We are currently looking around for the next holiday, and of course chartering a 40-footer or a 50-footer makes a significant difference with respect to the costs. (Depending on where and when you go, you can go 2 weeks on a 40 or 1 week on a 50 for the same money. Not even mentioning the financial difference when it comes to buying our own vessel in a few years.)

So, currently we are just thinking we should try out different boats and then decide. (Which is certainly the smartest approach, especially when it comes to buying one. But on the other hand, we would prefer to avoid chartering another 40-footer for a week in vain, just to confirm that I need a bigger boat.)
Bavaria’s are however very common in the charter business it seems, so we are sometimes wondering whether we should try a Bavaria 50, just to figure out whether it is related to the size - or - vice verse to try out for example a 40ft Jeanneau or Beneteau to proof that it is not the LOA but instead another parameter needs consideration. (However, we both don't really like the touch&feel of the Bavaria's, so they are probably not an option for us to buy anyway, but for now we are for financial reasons bound to chartering.)

Well, we are wondering wether anyone could give us some advice on this matter. Perhaps someone has even made a similar experience and can share his point of view. Either way, any input or comment is much appreciated. We really enjoy reading here, since most sailors are apparently a very friendly species.

Best regards,
Patric
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Old 22-02-2017, 15:43   #2
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Re: Seasickness related to boat size or something else…?

it has been said " It's not the size of the boat, it's the motion of the ocean."
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Old 22-02-2017, 15:45   #3
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Re: Seasickness related to boat size or something else…?

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Originally Posted by luckychucky View Post
it has been said " It's not the size of the boat, it's the motion of the ocean."
Well, in fact this came already into mind as well.

Though, this might raise the question, whether a larger boat is perhaps still more comfortable in larger seas.
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Old 22-02-2017, 15:48   #4
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Re: Seasickness related to boat size or something else…?

Firstly, generally speaking, larger boats are more stable than smaller ones.

Motion sickness varies among people. Some are always seasick, poor devils, others never or almost never, and the rest of us are somewhere in between.

If you do a CF Google Custom Search on seasickness, you'll find a lot written about it.
I still get seasick the first 3 days we go to sea, if we've been in quiet anchorages a long time. It has to do with your inner ears sloshing around and your brain trying to resolve the messages it gets from your inner ears, and others balance proprioceptors. I medicate against it, and what works best for me is cinnarizine HCl (Stugeron), it does not make me sleepy, or give me a dry mouth: I feel normal when using it.

There are lots of remedies, most available over the counter, some plant based.

Because there is such a variety of treatments for the condition, I would definitely not let the possibility of seasickness drive the choice for size of boat. In fact, I would suit the size of boat to the use you intend to put it, and pick the smallest you are satisfied with, because boats are an anti-investment for most people, they only depreciate, plus there's insurance, mooring, and upkeep costs.

Let me repeat, you have a motion sickness problem here, not a boat size one.

Ann
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Old 22-02-2017, 15:53   #5
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Re: Seasickness related to boat size or something else…?

Howdy Patric! Welcome Aboard CF!

Your question is a complex one, because of several variables. I don't have time to cover in depth, so I will post a few quick comments below. I hope you find them helpful.

1. Your post is a good one, with enough detail to help others understand your concerns, your experience level, and your goals. Good job!

2. Seasickness is a topic that every new ocean sailor worries about. It is a popular topic here on CF too. I will post a link to previous discussions you can read.

Seasickness on CF
https://cse.google.com/cse?cx=011403...ness&gsc.sort=

3. Even "Lord Nelson" got seasick. So, even experienced sailors can get seasick. It can happen to anyone, even those who have gone years without feeling ill.

4. Seasick newbies often decide that sailing is NOT for them. Sometimes they don't know this until after they bought a boat or into the "dream."

5. There is wisdom in the advice to "Sail on several different boats, in different conditions" in order to see IF you have a chronic problem with seasickness, or if it was just a combination of factors that caused it.

6. I suggest you read everything you can about "seasickness" prior to buying a boat or making a big investment, AND before you decide it is something that will affect you frequently.

7. Your observations about one boat's comfort and "light" inside the saloon, leads me to suggest you consider a catamaran if you can afford to buy one. They are known for "light saloons" and relatively flat sailing. Another, less expensive possibly, alternative would be a boat with a Pilot House so you can stay up in the PH and see the horizon while sailing or resting or cooking, etc.

Good luck on your decisions.
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Old 22-02-2017, 16:02   #6
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Re: Seasickness related to boat size or something else…?

Hello Ann, and thanks for your reply.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
Firstly, generally speaking, larger boats are more stable than smaller ones.
Agreed, which is essentially the essence of my post.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
Motion sickness varies among people. Some are always seasick, poor devils, others never or almost never, and the rest of us are somewhere in between.

If you do a CF Google Custom Search on seasickness, you'll find a lot written about it.
I still get seasick the first 3 days we go to sea, if we've been in quiet anchorages a long time. It has to do with your inner ears sloshing around and your brain trying to resolve the messages it gets from your inner ears, and others balance proprioceptors. I medicate against it, and what works best for me is cinnarizine HCl (Stugeron), it does not make me sleepy, or give me a dry mouth: I feel normal when using it.
Yes, thank you I am aware of that, and in fact this was how I got along with the Bavaria, taking one pill on departure every morning. While on the First 50, in fact I completely forgot about the pill and everything was fine. Never had an issue. I think, the spacious saloon made me cope better with the difference between my visual and the info from my balance-system.
However, while a pill is acceptable for a week holiday, this is IMHO not a solution for permanent livaboard.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post

There are lots of remedies, most available over the counter, some plant based.

Because there is such a variety of treatments for the condition, I would definitely not let the possibility of seasickness drive the choice for size of boat. In fact, I would suit the size of boat to the use you intend to put it, and pick the smallest you are satisfied with, because boats are an anti-investment for most people, they only depreciate, plus there's insurance, mooring, and upkeep costs.
This sounds in deed very reasonable, and of course the financial aspect is one thing that made me write this post. However, as mentioned above, on the First 50 I was feeling fine all the time and never had to even think about a pill.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post

Let me repeat, you have a motion sickness problem here, not a boat size one.

Ann
Okay, so while I do in essence agree with you, the "generally speaking, larger boats are more stable than smaller ones." is part of what makes me wonder, wether a 50 would be the better choice for us. (Though of course, I do agree that it has also some downsides wrt to the financial consequences.)

Cheers, Patric
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Old 22-02-2017, 16:13   #7
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Re: Seasickness related to boat size or something else…?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steady Hand View Post
Howdy Patric! Welcome Aboard CF!

Your question is a complex one, because of several variables. I don't have time to cover in depth, so I will post a few quick comments below. I hope you find them helpful.

1. Your post is a good one, with enough detail to help others understand your concerns, your experience level, and your goals. Good job!

2. Seasickness is a topic that every new ocean sailor worries about. It is a popular topic here on CF too. I will post a link to previous discussions you can read.

Seasickness on CF
https://cse.google.com/cse?cx=011403...ness&gsc.sort=

3. Even "Lord Nelson" got seasick. So, even experienced sailors can get seasick. It can happen to anyone, even those who have gone years without feeling ill.

4. Seasick newbies often decide that sailing is NOT for them. Sometimes they don't know this until after they bought a boat or into the "dream."

5. There is wisdom in the advice to "Sail on several different boats, in different conditions" in order to see IF you have a chronic problem with seasickness, or if it was just a combination of factors that caused it.

6. I suggest you read everything you can about "seasickness" prior to buying a boat or making a big investment, AND before you decide it is something that will affect you frequently.

7. Your observations about one boat's comfort and "light" inside the saloon, leads me to suggest you consider a catamaran if you can afford to buy one. They are known for "light saloons" and relatively flat sailing. Another, less expensive possibly, alternative would be a boat with a Pilot House so you can stay up in the PH and see the horizon while sailing or resting or cooking, etc.

Good luck on your decisions.
Thank you very much for your comments. I do agree more than my girlfriend will like. Being specifically the Cat-suggestion.
I do in fact fancy a cat also for other reasons, but since my meermaid keeps saying "a cat is no real sailing", it appears unlikely to convince her to get a cat. (Though I keep pointing out the Pro's... Also, money is also an issue to be addressed here.)

One thing I guess I can already rule out already, is that it doesn't seem to me to be a chronic issue. Otherwise I would not have had no problems on the First 50. (Currently I reckon is was a combination of the larger boat and lighter and more spacious saloon that allowed me to fully enjoy the ride.)

Anyhow, I guess, unless someone can tell whether I should look for a specific keel or type or boat, we will end up just trying out different models.
So far, this seems to be the only option. (Which is also why I wrote the above post.)

Thanks again, all the best.
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Old 22-02-2017, 16:26   #8
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Re: Seasickness related to boat size or something else…?

The mind plays a large part in seasickness: one is more exposed when worried, tired or bored. I also noticed I am much less seasick when I am the skipper because I feel the pressure of responsibility: I am convinced that adrenalin (in the correct dose) is effective against seasickness.

People are sensitive to the direction of the motions: for most people, it's the vertical motion that makes them sick. Most are also sensitive to the frequency. I met a man who was fine when beating upwind but was sick when running with the waves.

Alain
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Old 22-02-2017, 16:36   #9
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Re: Seasickness related to boat size or something else…?

I have thankfully never been seasick, or even mildly green, but I have been around a lot of people who were seasick. In general, it always seemed to be a function of the sea state and the motion of the boat, and had little to do with the boat's size.

That said, I think a bigger boat will obviously help. I recall being on a distance race on the Chesapeake on a really nasty day, on a long leg beating into a nasty chop. One of the crew became severely seasick. Along the way, the largest boat in the fleet, a 90' ocean racing sled passed us, steaming along smooth as silk. The crew member looked up bleakly and hissed "what I'd give to be with them..." You could have put a teacup down on that boat and not worried about it.

Out in the ocean, with bigger longer swells, the advantages of a larger boat as far as motion start to melt away. There are a lot of people who are far more prone to seasickness from that long slow pitching and yawing motion than they are from what you get in chop, and for them, a larger boat is almost worse...the whole thing is a bigger frame of reference, too, and one of the ways to combat motion sickness is to keep your eyes out of the boat, so to speak. That and keep a full stomach, counterintuitively.
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Old 22-02-2017, 16:55   #10
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Re: Seasickness related to boat size or something else…?

What Hydra said. Much of it MAY be a mind issue. My Wife would get seasick standing on a dock. If it moved she puked. Over the years and much to her suprise it has greatly diminished, not gone, but much more manageable. Actually she likes smaller boats better, or thinks she does, I'm not convienced.

But there as just so many variables in play including you attitude, emotional state, previous meals, rest, rate of rise and fall, lighting conditions, temperature, and so on that its EXTREAMLY difficult to give advice.

The good news, for us anyway, is that we are now full time live aboards and active cruisers with several thousand miles under her belt, not all in nice conditions.
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Old 22-02-2017, 16:56   #11
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Re: Seasickness related to boat size or something else…?

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Originally Posted by Suijin View Post
I have thankfully never been seasick, or even mildly green, but I have been around a lot of people who were seasick. In general, it always seemed to be a function of the sea state and the motion of the boat, and had little to do with the boat's size.

Thanks Suijin, this makes again a bit more confident to perhaps try our another (non Bavaria) 40 footer.


@all: My intention was not to start yet another threat about the general reasons for seasickness, though it is obviously related. (I have read already many threads on that topic. This is why I suspect that the light and more spacious salon on the First 50 allowed to better cope with the movements.)
Anyway, I wanted to narrow down the discussion primarily towards the role the boat plays here. In regards to its size (LOA, beam, draught), but also type of keel or what ever you guys might consider relevant.) As this is something I could not yet really evaluate based on the thread I came across so far.

Anyhow. I appreciate all your feedback. It's good to know I am not alone "in this boat."
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Old 22-02-2017, 17:04   #12
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Re: Seasickness related to boat size or something else…?

Sea sickness isn't your only concern. Those big saloons look great, until you get is a nasty seaway. There is something to be said about having not too much room to accelerate in before stopping abruptly. I taken a couple of personal knock down inside the boat, they hurt.

All I'm saying is to not let one single feature control your decision. And rest assured, no matter what desks ion you make, it will be far from perfect.
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Old 22-02-2017, 17:05   #13
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Re: Seasickness related to boat size or something else…?

IMO, 50 feet isn't enough to be *sure* of not being sick in serious conditions: I have seen sailors going green in large warships: frigates, LHD, aircraft carrier...

I don't like the motions of multihulls in a seaway: they heel less but they have a sharp roll that I find tiring and unpleasant for sleeping.

But I note I become more and more resistant as I get older Recently, I was in a surfaced submarine rolling in the SW monsoon and I didn't feel any discomfort while part of the crew queued to access the heads.

Alain
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Old 22-02-2017, 17:09   #14
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Re: Seasickness related to boat size or something else…?

Suijin brings up the very interesting issue that different types of motion affect bodies differently. Mine objects to jerky motion (which is why I don't think a cat would work for me), but others' object to the uuuuuP and doooooown of a flat sea swell, or the rolling common with sailing DDW.

I do not think most people are ever seasick just living aboard in a marina. They'd quit doing that. But, if you sail, say, almost every weekend while you are employed, you will only get seasick occasionally. You do start to understand ways to move and various other physiological behaviors that help. Also, attitude helps: I used to tell my body that it was coping better and better with seasickness, and it did. Still, even after being at sea for a few days, if the seas get up and my bod doesn't like the motion, that's what the drug is for. Or, if we haven't been sailing so much, visiting, or exploring, then I am more at risk. Over the years I've gotten so I rarely take one, but I feel no compunction about it if I need it, because I'm better crew if I take it. To some extent, my taking it will depend on if we're taking off on a long passage or not, because with shorthanded sailing, one needs to be careful to stay well rested, and on what the weather forecast is. Example, if you really want to leave somewhere, and there is a severe thunderstorm warning out, and a big SE swell running, against a south flowing current, that is one time I'd take one prophylactically, knowing that the wind against the tide will bring up steep square seas.

Seasickness is manageable, less pleasant if you just tough it out. But for the OP, who only sails on vacations at the present time, I'd think he might do well with meclizine HCl, sold as Marezine or Bonine, of course, he has to trial them in a known-to-set-him-off set of circumstances. If tempted to try the patches, be sure to trial them ashore, some people hallucinate from the scopalamine.

Ann
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Old 22-02-2017, 17:19   #15
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Re: Seasickness related to boat size or something else…?

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If tempted to try the patches, be sure to trial them ashore, some people hallucinate from the scopalamine.
That would add yet another degree of freedom to the issue. Not sure though whether this would make it better or worse.

Ok, lets stay serious. I agree so far, that for the current weekend or 1-2 week holidays afloat medication does in deed help. However, I have a tendency to think a bit further which made me wonder whether there are (for the long term) also other aspects that might help to better cope with the issue.

In fact, I could even imagine that the "nice feel of the First 50" versus the "acceptable but not really lovable Bav39" also made its contribution with respect to the "mental aspect" here. - I never thought if that yet, but somehow it seems also logic.
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