Seasick when Sailing
People occasionally ask if they’re likely to get seasick when sailing on a three-hour charter along the York River. The answer is No, for several reasons.
1. We sail in a river, which almost never gets enough chop to make the boat pitch forward and backward. High seas with seven-foot waves (measured from top to bottom) are found 20 miles out in the Chesapeake Bay, and then only rarely.
2. High winds churn up the water, but trees on land tend to block that churn in a river. Northeast winds can be blowing 15 mph on one side of the Coleman Bridge and 10 mph on the other because of the tree line.
3. A mid-size sailboat will roll slightly from side to side as the boat tacks in another direction. But such rolling should not occur when routinely under sail in one direction.
4. Nor will the boat pitch up and down while in the river, unless there are extreme winds. Pitch is what tends to make people queasy, but a smooth run at a 10-15 degree lean becomes comfortable. Rookie sailors find themselves eager to get to 15 degrees after they’ve sailed for just an hour or so because they quickly realize it connotes speed.
5. Limited alcohol content the night before ensures safe passage. The typical person who gets seasick has a hangover.
6. Those who are apprehensive about getting seasick should take Dramamine the night before sailing. It works if you take it within an hour of departure, but it works better if it’s already in your system. We also have wristbands on board that work with acupuncture pressure to minimize the queasy effect. They work magically.
Bottom Line on Seasick when Sailing
Get plenty of rest the night before sailing, and take Dramamine before bedtime. Eat breakfast normally. Everything will be fine in the hands of a good skipper on a sailboat charter.
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