View Full Version : Sailing - after effects

20th Sep 2008, 23:18
I've been sailing today (as I do this most weekends). Despite having packed the boat away over 6 hours ago, I'm still getting that "bob up and down" sensation when I sit down or stand still. Hopefully other sailng types out there will recognise this.

This happens every time I've been on a boat for extended periods, but doesn't happen when I've been doing anything else (driving/flying/riding a bike etc) for a similar length of time.

I could understand it if it was the sort of thing you only got in the few minutes after stepping back on terra firma. Anyone know why this effect lasts so long after I've come off the water?

20th Sep 2008, 23:22
Are you wearing those shoes with springs in the heels?

20th Sep 2008, 23:32
I know the feeling. The strongest I felt it was after sailing non stop from Portsmouth to Gibraltar. It took 11 days, with 2 days crossing the Bay of Biscay in rather rough conditions! It took a couple days to feel steady again.

20th Sep 2008, 23:47
I used to get it after a long train ride.

21st Sep 2008, 00:07
It's nothing to do with having been sailing. It's the mandatory, prolonged visit made to the nearest pub immediately on stepping ashore after any long passage that causes the swaying sensation. :\ :ok:

Too Short
21st Sep 2008, 00:21
Yes, I can definitely sympathise with this, being a salty sea dog-ess myself (actually, does that make me a salty sea-bitch?! :confused:) I can recall many a time, having the post-sail shower after a long passage with one hand on the wall!

The only cure I have found for this is to sail daily for at least a couple of weeks at a time. Sadly not always practical in the real world though...

21st Sep 2008, 00:28
Aye, happens here as well.

also known as tour-bus syndrome in my house. ;)

Happens to me after either prolonged sailing, lots of long ferry crossings or a long 'bus journey. I guess that the body acclimatises to the motion and then tries to continue the 'correction' even once one steps ashore.

Always takes me a few days to get my land legs back again.

21st Sep 2008, 00:43
Reliving personal experiences that involve a lot of motion sensation seems to be part of the brain's very oldest learning mechanisms working overtime to enhance your survival.

One tends to experience this after heavy driving, skiing, surfing and similar action-reaction activities. As a teen, I found my skiing actually improved noticeably during off-season periods, as the old noodle gradually reprocessed the edges off the clumsy bits. Never reached anything approaching greatness, however - was just too long and gangly. Credit to those off-line rehearsals for finally having achieved a modest ability to ski unstylishly through almost anything.

Loose rivets
21st Sep 2008, 01:26
I used to get a lot of Land Sickness when I went back onto piston aircraft for my first command. Plodding along at 8,000 feet with the tail wagging used to leave me walking to the hotel like a drunken sailor. One of 'my girls' thought I was making up to her cos I kept...erm, rubbing up against her. :uhoh:

"That's the daftest excuse I ever heard!!!" she said to my explanation.

Scooby Don't
21st Sep 2008, 03:19
I spent a week in HMS Invincible as a 16-year old potential officer. Got used to the rolling of the ship quite quickly, but felt queezy when back on dry land. On the way home, had to change railway stations in London, and felt right as rain on the tube train with its steady rocking!

21st Sep 2008, 05:16
I've always experienced this myself. I was told by a doctor that it's an inner ear thing and is considered a phase before motion sickness, which ironically, those of us who expereince this, seldom progress to the next phase.

I've learned to avoid the kitchen, after returning to dry land. Dangerous place. :{

Rather be Gardening
21st Sep 2008, 08:10

Yep, I get it occasionally after sailing. Not always, but sometimes it has lasted for a couple of days. Here's a link about it: Mal de Debarquement Syndrome - Welcome (http://www.mdds.org.uk/)

tony draper
21st Sep 2008, 08:28
We big ship blue water chaps just developed what was known as the Western Ocean Roll in our gait as we wandered dry land,it were the silence that disturbed me when home on leave,no thrum of Doxfords or swish swish of screw blades or hiss of Punka louvers to lull one to sleep at night.

21st Sep 2008, 11:37
Thanks for all the replies! So I'm not a nutcase then?

I have never had seasickness, car sickness or flight sickness even in bad conditions. In fact on a crossing from Holyhead to Ireland one stormy night on a car ferry, I was the only person sitting down in the bar tucking into a bacon and egg sandwich while all those around were being sick and going green. I've only ever felt nauseous on a small minority of fairground rides, and then only quite recently (last 10 years or so).

I don't find the bobbing up and down sensation uncomfortable, just mildly amusing. One of the things I love about sailing is the unsteady motion of the boat!

21st Sep 2008, 12:22
I get this weird throbbing pain in my head after sailing. Apparently it's to do with not avoiding the boom as we come about.:ugh:

21st Sep 2008, 17:19
I always get that wobbly feeling too after a days sailing the beautiful Carrick Roads in Cornwall where we are based. It is however not noticable when I think of the empty feeling in the wallet having just forked out for a major engine rebuild, new suite of sails and this years marina fees.

21st Sep 2008, 18:19
Guys I sail with just call it 'Boat Head'.

Run around the boat for a day or two, or maybe seven, get to the marina, step across umpteen rails, carrying a huge bag of wet gear, wearing knackered gloves, sunglasses on a bit of string, well you have to look the part.

Get to the bar.
'I feel really sick. Like honestly, sick'.
Then a doctor pipes up (there's always a doctor when you don't need one)
'You've boat head. It's your inner ear. Put a hand on the bar.'

All these other guys with windburn, stubble, leaning against walls, one hand on anything solid, looking ill.
Sailing, soooo glamorous.

21st Sep 2008, 18:47
Once after seven days on a Yachet from Corfu to Naples was sick in the bathroom at home as I shaved off six days stubble, looking in the mirror. Second one, after two weeks at sea in a French submarine (no wash for 12 days) the morning after debarquement was sick in the shower as I tried to get rid of accumulated BO. On neither occasion was I sick whilst at sea. AND I've never been airsick, even though a certain red-haired flight commander on 12 Sqn did his damndest in a Buccaneer up the Spey valley.
The Ancient Mariner

21st Sep 2008, 18:53
My first North Sea crossing was pretty rough (in all respects).
Twenty hours, and after ten I'd have willingly stepped off onto the smallest rock . . .
On reaching the other side I had three days of head-swimming and difficulty when lying down. It really did feel as if my brain was swishing around loose in my head bone.
Never happened again during three years of regular commuting (and some even rougher crossings). Not all boats had effective stabilisers either. I found the moderate side-to-side motion more disturbing than violent fore-and-aft up-and-down movements.
The worst for me was the smell of the fuel oil combined with rolling, so it was better to be either inside or out in the breeze rather than sheltered near a vent from below.

tony draper
21st Sep 2008, 19:14
Have a friend who did his Navy time on the Nuke Polaris boats,he reckons a lot of the crew used to toss their cookies when the hatch was cracked at the end of the patrol,they had been breathing canned air for so long the real stuff tasted foul.

21st Sep 2008, 19:20
Recycled pharts . . .

21st Sep 2008, 19:20
Ads for boats always have a granite jawed hunk captain, with a big watch, and a blonde wearing sunglasses on her head.
Try shouting 'YOU, yes YOU, pack that'
Then once you take the winch handle out of your head..

Say again s l o w l y
21st Sep 2008, 19:22
I get this weird throbbing pain in my head after sailing.

Me too, but it's nothing to do with getting whacked on the head. It's beer and rum in the yacht club afterwards that causes the problems.

Ken Wells
21st Sep 2008, 20:00
I remeber a few years ago sailing from Potamao to Vigo two weeks, and when we came I shore I found it difficucult not swaying while sitting in the toilet in the hotel. rather wierd.

22nd Sep 2008, 05:42
Foss... you've obviously seen this condition before? From a far away perpective, no doubt? ;):p

Fortunately for me....when not sailing for any length of time and I come aboard, I'm no use to be able to get in the way. It's as if someone has given me a Valium the first day out. Lovely time, really. Once I get my 'sea legs', I'm a perfectly trainable wench, capable of rough seas and then am okay on land even.

Give me 2 days sailing, skiing, snow mobiling, roller coasters, etc...my mind adjusts to it and it fades away. Go figure?

22nd Sep 2008, 06:58
I frequently "hit a wave" while standing in the supermarket checkout queue resupplying after we've been down to our boat! You get some funny looks in Sainsburys hanging on to the side of the checkout. Glad it's not just me...oh, and it can happen 3-4 days after we've finished sailing.

cockney steve
22nd Sep 2008, 10:03
I found it difficucult not swaying while sitting in the toilet in the hotel. rather wierd.

Feet apart and sit ON it.....works for me! :}

S.A.S That wouldn't be Benfleet Y.C.? would it? Attemded one or 2 stag-nights there when the clubhouse was a converted former light-ship.

We had an annual junket to Upnor and having drunk the local pub completely dry (and educated the local populace about "sea shanties" ,) they insisted on being forewarned of the date.......then there was the occasion, when a group decided it would be a good idea to board HMS Arethusa and liberate their pennant....unfortunately a surfeit of alcohol and silence are not compatible...a red-faced, bleary-eyed officer of the Watch,eventually repelled the boarders and the Commodore received a stern letter as a result......ahh happy days!

Summer fun was had when the tide was up,by a group of us youths running from one side of the deck to the other and then returning....a goodly wallow could be induced...very unsettling if you were down below in the main bar.

22nd Sep 2008, 10:32
Getting sick onboard
'Who wants to do foredeck? Well? Anyone?
I did 12 hours of spinny crap yesterday, someone else can have a go.'

'Hello? Are we away again?'

The most junior member of the team. Sleeping under about four sails downstairs.
He had his gear, he'd paid his hotel bill, super.
'Right, let's be careful getting out of here.'
Very busy, lots of boats.
So this is from Scotland back to Ireland. Big island, can't miss it. Big swell.

'Coming through, coming through BLUURGGHH.'
Sick off the back of the boat. Repeatedly.

22nd Sep 2008, 12:21
can recall many a time, having the post-sail shower after a long passage with one hand on the wall!
Not an unknown occurrence, but rarely connected to sailing.

I've had similar feelings after flying what to me were reasonably long distances. Maybe I should learn to trim properly.

22nd Sep 2008, 13:10
Zig zagging from the B&B in Troon at God Almighty Early is always a winner.
Get on the boat, fine.
Then just untie it.
'Turn on the radio.'
'Sod this, follow him (point vaguely towards someone in the same class)'
'Sails, I'm pretty sure sails would be a good idea.'
'Which one? No.1?'
'No, the new No.1'

The a huge amount of rustling and clanking.

'Does anyone have a race card? Mine's ruined.'

But once you get going, all you have to do is not bump into the SeaCat.

22nd Sep 2008, 15:01
One can get the sailing experience with a lot less hassle by standing under a freezing cold shower tearing up 50 notes while occasionally bashing your head on the wall, slamming your fingers in the door, stubbing your toes and skinning your shins. ;)

Too Short
22nd Sep 2008, 16:51

Re: the shower - care to explain...? :}


Not to mention trying to drink (without getting it down one's oilies or in one's hair) awful watered down, salty chicken cup-a-soup which tasted nothing like chicken before the spray and rain got into it, and now even less so...

tony draper
22nd Sep 2008, 17:00
Don't suppose you peeps were ever at sea long enough to get the Channels.:rolleyes:

22nd Sep 2008, 18:04
Good piece in the Times today by Libby Purves about Donald Crowhurst.

22nd Sep 2008, 20:59
I also suffer from land sickness - guys at the sailing club seem to reckon you either get sea sick or land sick but never both.

I tend to suffer from the mystery bruise more though. Or at least OH does. Normally after a few weeks into the sailing season I look like a victim of domestic abuse. I spend the whole summer not being able to wear shorts as my legs are in such bad shape , bruise wise.

I have gotten to the stage where I can identify the actual shape of the fixtures on the boat by the bruises they leave - two point bruises about 10cm apart on lower leg , Ah that'll be the horn cleat for the foresail sheet. especially when I have identical\ones on each side!

My best one was the two parallel tracklines across my stomach as i reached out for the foresail to lower it. We had an inexperienced skipper , so we caught a gust . I ended up over the side with some one hanging on to my ankles with my entire weight being taken by the lifelines. Those lasted a few weeks!

22nd Sep 2008, 21:07
There's a crew I used to see sometimes. All retired.
All wearing lifejackets.
All wearing crash helmets.

Good idea really.

Say again s l o w l y
23rd Sep 2008, 00:17
S.A.S That wouldn't be Benfleet Y.C.? would it? Attemded one or 2 stag-nights there when the clubhouse was a converted former light-ship.

I will admit to having attended on or two drunken evenings in Benfleet, but I think I'd be run out of there by an ex if I ever set foot in Benfleet ever again. Mind you, I could say the same about Burnham or a fair few other places on the East coast.....Or France or Italy or Germany or Oz..............

I can often be found propping up the bar in West Mersea when I head down south, either at the Sailing club or Yacht pub, basically whichever is the busiest and most full of fellow alcoholics.