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Old 05-07-2019, 17:22   #1
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Seasickness Prevention

I just took my family for an overnight sail in San Francisco Bay. The first leg was a 2 hour close haul into a 20+ knot cold and foggy breeze. I did my best to make it comfortable for them but they all got sick.

Our overnight anchorage was cold, foggy and a little rolly so no one really recovered, and we headed back a little earlier than planned.

Is there something I can do so they don’t get sick? Was it the cold, point of sail, heeling that caused it? Maybe after a few more times it will get easier for them or maybe its better to skip San Francisco and take them someplace warm? Maybe switch to a catamaran?

Thanks for the help!
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Old 05-07-2019, 17:39   #2
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Re: Seasickness Prevention

You can still get seasick in warm climates and on catamarans
(I still get queasy at times for the first 24 hours or so offshore in the tropics on both monohulls and cats after many years of sailing)

The only way to avoid it is to take medication beforehand if you are prone to it and expect conditions that will bring it on.

Unfortunately my preferred medication (Stugeron) apparently isn't available in the US. I'll leave it to others to make suitable recommendations.
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Old 05-07-2019, 17:51   #3
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Re: Seasickness Prevention

Lots of things make seasickness worse or more likely. Being hungry, cold, thirsty, tired, having strange food, being hungover, staying below decks, the smell of diesel, reading or concentrating on something within the boat, a lumpy uneven sea, excessive heeling due to too much sail up. The more you have, the worse it gets.

Things that can help include drugs (Stugeron is way the best, but most need taking before you leave), other remedies such as having a single earplug in or using sea-bands (particularly good as a placebo for younger kids if you tell them they work), plain crackers or ginger biscuits, staying up and in the fresh air, looking at the horizon (give people lookout jobs for shore features or other boats), being on the helm (having two wheels is particularly good for this as you can let even the smallest kids helm but have the boat safely in hand). If it gets worse then lying down below, as low and near the centre of the boat as possible, feet first and horizontal with eyes shut.

You can’t fix all of these, but the more you can the less likely people are to suffer. Seasickness is a thing the skipper should take very seriously as it’s easy for it to become a significant safety issue. If someone is seasick and on deck you should insist they are harnessed on.
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Old 05-07-2019, 17:53   #4
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Re: Seasickness Prevention

And be prepared to change your plan to make your family more comfortable. Stay at anchor and go somewhere else in the morning, or the other way if it’s easier on the wind. Or stay at home and go next weekend. If your family start to associate the boat with being cold and seasick you’re going to end up singlehanding or selling before you know it.
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Old 05-07-2019, 17:56   #5
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Re: Seasickness Prevention

I think sleeping on the boat the night before departure if docked where protected to acclimate seems to help, and diet, no eggs benedict and mimosas for breakfast, oatmeal or gruel for historical accuracy . Also keep them out of the salon and up on the windward side of the cockpit, preferably at the helm. Gives them something to concentrate on and they are looking at the horizon.

Most time I've spent in SF was a month (August) others here like Stu J. (a Canadian but still somewhat trustworthy) have an intimate knowledge of bay weather patterns.

My impression was the mornings start out nice and sunny, then it gets to about 100 degrees in the valley and sucks the fog and 55 degree winds at 20 knots thru the gate.
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Old 05-07-2019, 18:16   #6
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Re: Seasickness Prevention

Go in September. There's a lot of wind in the summer and big tidal fluctuations in the current and snow melt that make everything feel even more rolly than you'd find during the Fall season on the bay. And maybe avoid the city at all costs. Any swell along with current make most people sick just sitting at the dock there!

Oh, and once everyone gets used to the conditions on SF Bay in the summer, they may not want to sail anywhere else
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Old 05-07-2019, 22:09   #7
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Re: Seasickness Prevention

Quote:
Originally Posted by comesatime View Post
I just took my family for an overnight sail in San Francisco Bay. The first leg was a 2 hour close haul into a 20+ knot cold and foggy breeze. I did my best to make it comfortable for them but they all got sick.

Okay, you learned they get seasick beating. Especially if it's kids, use "Dramamine", or meclizine HCl, trade name Bonine. It will make them drowsy, but if you're going to anchor overnight, probably not too detrimental. In the future, try to go somewhere you don't have to beat into 20 kn. to get to. Choices depend a lot on where you keep your boat.


Our overnight anchorage was cold, foggy and a little rolly so no one really recovered, and we headed back a little earlier than planned.

Well, you clearly tried, but nobody got to have very much fun. Maybe it would help to have a "family meeting" and de-brief everybody.
Evaluate what they think might have helped them, and try and provide it?Fwiw, with adults it does help to keep their heads level, like looking at the horizon and giving them a chore to take their mind off their discomfort.
It is helpful to have to concentrate on something like helming. For some, taking down the sails and motoring SLOWLY to windward may help. The boat being horizontal helps them keep their ears in the same relation to the horizon.


Is there something I can do so they don’t get sick?

It is my understanding that Stugeron is available in Canada, and can be shipped into the US from there. To my mind, it has the least side effects of any anti-emetic, and only a short lived drowsiness, occasionally. Otherwise, fall back on car sickness remedies available over the counter.

Was it the cold, point of sail, heeling that caused it? In my experience, cold and fear both make motion sickness worse.

Maybe after a few more times it will get easier for them or maybe its better to skip San Francisco and take them someplace warm? Maybe switch to a catamaran?

Thanks for the help!
People can help their bodies cope with motion sickness. What I said about keeping your ears level helps, letting the lower body move, keeping the ears level helps me a lot. If your boat is one that one stands at the helm, rather than sitting sidewise on a cockpit seat, standing at the helm is a good place to do that, and so they have to helm the boat. Lots of people get motion sick from jerky motion; others are more sensitive to swoopy motion, like rolling downwind. Still others simply suffer no matter what you do. Usually they are rare. Your kids may "get used to it", or just take a nap. Closing the eyes, and lying below with the eyes closed (for sensory deprivation, which actually helps) will help children. Your adult partner deserves to start finding out what medication will help. Jim and I use Stugeron. Have used the ear patches, my doc made me try one on land, to see if it made me hallucinate, but they give me a dry mouth that tastes terrible, and the stugeron makes it like i am naturally resistant to motion sickness, a way better deal for me. My body does not like jerky motion, and it doesn't like the twitchiness of catamaran motion, and I really don't know if I could ever "get used to that". But, I have learned, over time, to cope pretty well with our mono's motion.

If you want a cat, go ahead and give it a go, but I wouldn't think to do it as like some sort of guarantee. People who get motion sick are likely to do so any time their body doesn't like the motion, and unless they've already found out, it can be an expensive experiment to change boats.

Ann
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Old 05-07-2019, 22:26   #8
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Re: Seasickness Prevention

I was seasick all the way down the west coast last year, so I sympathise. It sucks.

For me, not being able to see the horizon (fog or nighttime) made it worse and I got sicker way quicker.

Try a bunch of different medications - everyone has something different that will work for them. Stugeron doesn't work for me but does for most people, Gravol is about the only thing that does for me but puts me to sleep (not great as I singlehand). meclizine works for a lot of people too!
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Old 06-07-2019, 00:20   #9
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Re: Seasickness Prevention

Lots of good advice. From my experience with guests onboard:

1) Ginger, any form. They have ginger pills, but you can steep some crushed in boiling water to put in water bottles instead of water. Candied ginger, sushi ginger, don't matter what kind. Ginger is the only 'herbal' or 'alternative' remedy that actually got proven in scientific studies as well as Mythbusters
2) Defo drinking less, no hangover.
3) Having something in your stomach at all times. Not too much, not too little. Not greasy. Chewing on fresh baked bread seems good, crackers.
4) Limit coffee...acid stomach is not good.
5) Singing out loud. It works.
6) Being at the right temperature. Not too hot, not too cold.
7) Stay on deck.
8) Stand up. Helm if they can, but just standing isolates a few directions of motion from the head.
9) Lay on your back.
10) A cool pill type I got turned onto for guests: Metoclopramide. It's nonprescription and dirt cheap in the EU, available lots of countries. It's for nausea from radiation sickness and chemo. Take a pill every 4-8 hours anytime and the queasies go away. No side effects that I can tell the few times I popped one or anyone else did, no sleepiness etc.
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Old 06-07-2019, 01:17   #10
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Re: Seasickness Prevention

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Originally Posted by alctel View Post
I was seasick all the way down the west coast last year, so I sympathise. It sucks.

For me, not being able to see the horizon (fog or nighttime) made it worse and I got sicker way quicker.
Yep. If you can avoid night time sailing, it's a lot easier for people to stay in the cockpit and keep watching the horizon during the day. In time they may become used to the motion.
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Old 12-07-2019, 06:41   #11
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Re: Seasickness Prevention

Tired
Hungry
Cold
Fright
Fuel
These factors all make seasickness more possible.
Elliminate these factors will help.
Nobody can garanty no one will get seasick, but you can garanty it will eventually stop.
Also, i find that people that are getting the onser of seaickness tend to become very stiff. Instead of going with the motion of the boat they try and dught it. They wont win
Get them busy ateering the boat or looking far away at landmarks or anything to get them not fighting. Overdress better to be hot then cold, eat, eat eat and drink. Stay busy. Maybe not sail upwind on the first day....
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Old 12-07-2019, 08:01   #12
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Re: Seasickness Prevention

> Nobody can garanty [sic] no one will get seasick, but you can garanty it will eventually stop.


The best way to get it to stop is to sit under a tree
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Old 12-07-2019, 08:03   #13
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Re: Seasickness Prevention

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Unfortunately my preferred medication (Stugeron) apparently isn't available in the US. I'll leave it to others to make suitable recommendations.
Stugeron is what my wife and I use. We keep a stash of it and always have friends bring some back from trips to the UK.
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Old 12-07-2019, 08:11   #14
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Re: Seasickness Prevention

Lying down with eyes closed offers maximum protection.
Standing up, view of the horizon, a task and use your legs to balance your head/body. Don’t just lean up against the boat and flow with it. Actively steady yourself.

Catamarans in the tropics up wind make people sick too.

We keep cute throw up bags with the puke emoji on them.
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