Seasickness? On a Dinghy? How often / why?

fastyacht

Super Anarchist
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I just came in an hour ago from a great sail on the 13 foot two hander. 15 knots with some bigger gusts 18. The 20 never really appeared. Lots of beating out through steep chop typical. Then off on a beam reach ripping along with some big (2 foot) occasional rolling in. Typical southerly conditions on the connectcut shore in the thick part of the Sound.

At the half way point for turning around, my wife said she felt seasick. Now, she hasn't stepped foot in a sailing dinghy in over 5 years, but she used to do it all the time and I don't eve remember her being seasick before.

So it got me thinking. I have never been sick on a dinghy. But I have on a keelboat. Once in the Round Block Island Race, once on the continental shelf on the way to Bermuda. Twice onboard big ships but those times were mild.

So why is it that dinghy sailing *seems* unlikely for this? I came up with an explanation involving wave periods and dinghy motion but I an entirely unconvinced by my own logic.

 

TBW

Member
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I would guess the reason you don't get sea sick on a dinghy is because your eye is always on the Horizon.  Stare at the interior of the boat and you will be swimming.

Think sea sickness happens on ships and keelboats more when you are down below.

Stay up on deck on a keel boat looking out at the horizon, probably won't get seasick.  Go down to make some food, fix the engine or rest and your eyes lose sight if the hirizon and I think  that's when it starts to hit you a lot of the time.

 

PB2207

Member
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Chicago
So I've had issues with my inner ear since as far back as I can remember. For me it's called Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo  and can happen when when head is in certain head positions, certain movement, jostling etc. It can create a feeling of vertigo similar to seasickness because something in the inner ear puts pressure on the balance part of the inner ear.

For me it usually goes away in a couple minutes by itself but sometimes it can be debilitating and I have to lay down and do certain head movements to "reset" everything in there. Sorry for the layman's terms, I'm in no way a doctor and obviously don't want to imply this as a diagnosis, just a suggested possibility. I've been told it's usually more prevalent in older populations but I've had this issue since I was in my teens so it's nothing new to me. 

 

TeamFugu

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I have never had seasickness on a dinghy. For me, I have to be below deck on a leadmine where the air is stale and I can't see the horizon. Working with my head low bakes it worse. Sometimes I can clear it by looking out windows. If someone else looses it, all bets are off and I'm joining in.

 

Dex Sawash

Demi Anarchrist
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NC USA
That thing where you get in the shower after being on the boat and tip your head back with eyes closed and almost fall over, I never get that from dinghies. Can happen after a weekend in the slip on bigger boats.

 

fastyacht

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I have never had seasickness on a dinghy. For me, I have to be below deck on a leadmine where the air is stale and I can't see the horizon. Working with my head low bakes it worse. Sometimes I can clear it by looking out windows. If someone else looses it, all bets are off and I'm joining in.
So I had a similar theory --- this boat has no vacuum bailers, and she had to do a lot of bailing. I was thinking that she got queasy from looking down at the bilge over and over.

 

El Borracho

Verified User
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So I had a similar theory --- this boat has no vacuum bailers, and she had to do a lot of bailing. I was thinking that she got queasy from looking down at the bilge over and over.
I have strong immunity to sea sickness. Like never happens. But only because I do not tempt it by doing things like watching bilge water slosh. 

 

Autonomous

Turgid Member
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So I've had issues with my inner ear since as far back as I can remember. For me it's called Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo  and can happen when when head is in certain head positions, certain movement, jostling etc. It can create a feeling of vertigo similar to seasickness because something in the inner ear puts pressure on the balance part of the inner ear.
Interesting. About a year or two ago the wife and I were on the porch when lightning hit a tree about 150' away. She got very seasick for a day afterword  and now has vertigo spells occasionally. She had an MRI yesterday, we'll see if-what they find.

 
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Steam Flyer

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Eastern NC
I have never had seasickness on a dinghy. For me, I have to be below deck on a leadmine where the air is stale and I can't see the horizon. Working with my head low bakes it worse. Sometimes I can clear it by looking out windows. If someone else looses it, all bets are off and I'm joining in.
So I had a similar theory --- this boat has no vacuum bailers, and she had to do a lot of bailing. I was thinking that she got queasy from looking down at the bilge over and over.
That sounds plausible... one of the very few times I was seasick in the Navy (~7 years riding tin cans) was sitting on the boiler room lower level which had almost the least motion of anywhere in the ship, but looking down at the bilge water sloshing back and forth seemed to produce an effect in my head that connected directly to my guts.

Worse than hunching over dimly-lit nav table, tightly enclosed in the belly of a leadmine. I've done that many a time and occasionally felt a bit queasy... OK once or twice I got the point of dashing upstairs to hurl... but the visual of water sloshing was much worse.

I hope your wife doesn't associate this with dinghy sailing, now.

FB- Doug

 

fastyacht

Super Anarchist
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Interesting. About a year or two ago the wife and I were on the porch when lightning hit a tree about 150' away. She got very seasick for a day afterword  and now has vertigo spells occasionally. She had an MRI yesterday, we'll see if-what they find.
This is both interesting and troibling

 

Mirror16

Member
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34
Tennessee
The only time I've have been seasick on a dinghy is out at sea in a dead calm for a couple of hours. Not a breath of wind. We rolled up the jib and pulled down the main to stop them crashing uselessly around in the swell. Didn't take long for me to feel queasy. But I managed to lie down under the thwart and actually fell asleep in the sun and felt better when I woke. Then the wind picked up a bit and off we went. 

 

The Q

Super Anarchist
Never been sea sick on a dinghy or keel boat for that matter... N=However after a long regatta week of 4 to 6 one hour races per day. I wish someone would stop the sailing club island from rocking and rolling..

 

Couta

Super Anarchist
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Australia
8 years ago a small group of adventurers (certifiable crazies) decided to paddle surfskis across the infamous Bass Strait...360kms island hopping...but with 118km of open ocean being the longest hop. These people were pretty hardcore (one notable exception), well prepped and seriously "conditioned". They were the first to attempt it on such craft. On day 2, one of the hardest buggers I've ever met was unable to continue because of seasickness...yes, the swell & waves were pretty daunting (40-70kts for 3 previous days) but this bloke had a serious pedigree of hard adventure and was 'bullet proof'. Regardless, he was done and unable to continue...so called for a rescue/support boat (we had a safety boat on call but it had to be 5 km away for the 'record'). He'd never experienced it before...and not since...it was just 'one of those things". He rejoined the other 4 skis the following day and didn't have a problem...but he couldn't claim to have finished the challenge unsupported. Seasickness can be like that...random. As the oldest member of the "Clean Across Bass Strait" team, I was very satisfied with completing the challenge....but like altitude sickness, sea sickness can strike without history or warning....

 

dogwatch

Super Anarchist
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South Coast, UK
Never been or felt sea-sick on a dinghy or day-sailing on a keelboat. I have often felt sick offshore dressing in the dark to come on watch. I try to make sure I know exactly where my kit is going to be when the alarm goes off so I'm not hunting, while feeling increasingly ill, for a lost boot that slid around the boat during a tack.

 

skslr

Member
217
42
Germany
By now I basically get sea sick as soon as the yacht leaves the harbour, even in perfect weather. On the other hand I have no problems at all on our skiff-type dinghy even in more waves/wind. My explanation kind of is that the movements of such a light/fast dinghy are much faster/more abrupt and do not touch some slower "critical frequencies".  Then again it has got an open transom and there would be no time to watch water sloshing around anyway :)

 

European Bloke

Super Anarchist
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I've been very lucky never to get sea sick. I've been on lots of yachts with lots of sick people. I've been aware of many fewer people being sick on dinghies.

Where people are sick on dinghies it's almost always the crew not the driver.

As expected it's usually windy rough days, but sometimes light days with a big swell left over.

It's almost always triggered before the race or between the races, probably because the crew is sat in the bottom of the boat not focused outside of the boat. It usually gets better once you're racing with the crew up on the deck and distracted. The light days are difficult because even when you get racing the crew is still stuck in the bottom of the boat.

Probably need to work to keep those susceptible focused outside the boat on problem days.

 

Rainbow Spirit

Anarchist
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Sydney, Aus
We had an NS 14 state title some years back at Manly, in Sydney. The courses took us across the heads to Sydney Harbour.

One of the boats had to come back to shore so that their crew could lay down on the grass for an hour to recover from seasickness. The swells were pretty big, sometimes if you were down in the bottom of the swell all you could see was the top of the mast of a boat down in another swell dip about 100m away. I didn't like the courses, but I never got seasick.

 

NSBen

New member
I was seasick on a dinghy once in my life. 2018 Canadian youth champs, it was blowing 20-25 overnight on Lake Ontario. We sailed out to the race course in good breeze and by the time the course was set, we had about 4 knots with 10ft rollers as leftovers. I remember getting especially seasick when I looked down to adjust the settings in our boat. First starting sequence of the day, I threw up as we were lined up with about 45 seconds to first gun. 

 

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