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1968 Columbia 50
Columbia 50
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So, I went out on friends Catalina 30 today on Lake Michigan. The forecast was for mild 10-15 knot winds and 2-4 foot waves. Well, it turned into 25 gusting to 32 with 4-7' waves with the occasional 10'er. We were on a beat to windward all day, and for the first time in 30 years I got really sick briefly. My question is does age increase ones susceptibility getting seasick? I am 51 btw. Otherwise, it was a great sail.
 

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Of course it has something to do with age!

Why do old people fall over?

Alcohol in the nursing home? No!

I am amazed so few sailors have one iota of knowledge about seasickness except some drug they can shove down their throats.
Google them.

For someone who has never been seasick there are also some other age related things you probably won't find on Google.
30 years ago you were fit. Now you are probably on some medication... perhaps a statin. The side effects of these powerful drugs can be quite serious for elderly people.
 

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I get seasick less often now. Age 69.
 

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I've wondered the same thing. At 67 I seem to get seasick (about once a year) where I never did before. I would like to find some research that addresses this question.
 

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I'm pretty good with seasickness, but I have been seasick many times, I sailed commercially for 20 years and I have observed all kinds of factors contribute. The worst factor for me is fatigue. If I've been up for a couple or 3 days with little to no sleep fighting adverse weather, I find seasickness eventually will work it's way just like mosquitoes, given time will find a crack to get into.

I have also observed pregnant women are highly susceptible, older people can be more susceptible. Hung over people are easy targets. Fear and uncertainty can be major contributing factors.

Sea state is a big factor too. The conditions you describe sound pretty bad for a small boat. Maybe age was one of several factors?

My worst seasickness was a long Search and Rescue operation I participated in. We were a small crew on an aluminum vessel on Lake Huron searching for a 12 year old boy who was blown offshore in a 12' boat with only a swim suit on.

I was very tired, I was cold, I definitely felt some anxiety about the boys welfare. The sea state was not bad, maybe a meter, but you couldn't see them coming in the dark. Also I was using night vision goggles, which always give me a headache.

On the second night of this, I felt so rotten I asked the permission of the Captain to go below for a nap, which he agreed to. I slept for a few hours and felt much much better.

The boy was found safe and sound, although very cold and uncomfortable.

I think it's good you are analyzing causation, it will help you to combat it in the future.

Another bad one was on a chemical tanker in the northern Atlantic, battling what would have been a survival storm for a yacht. Our ship was Hove too and taking it very well, I had ample sleep. It lasted a few days, again, I think a big factor was anxiety. Even Hove too big waves were crashing over the focsal, sweeping the full length of about 300 ft of deck and slamming into the base of the accommodations with rather frightening effect. In that storm I think the only major factor was fear, which in hind sight was probably unwarranted, but felt very real at the time.
 

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I don't know if age directly makes you more susceptible, but it may cause other changes that do. For example, do you wear glasses or contacts? Have you changed prescriptions or moved to multi-focal lenses?

I mostly do not get sea sickness. But I am very susceptible to "simulator/video game sickness", which is entirely a visual thing (false visual motion cues that don't match felt motion.) I've recently started getting mild air sickness on long flights. I suspect it's due to switching from straight (prescription) reading glasses to progressive lenses.
 

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It also has to do with the condition of your ears and semi circular canals... You will slowly imperceptibly loose your sense of balance as you age and this can assist in bringing on mal du mer. Those conditions would probably make a lot of people seasick.
 

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1968 Columbia 50
Columbia 50
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Discussion Starter #11
You guys are killing me!! LOL! I do not feel old, well, let me rephrase that, I do not feel old often. Only my 8 year old daughter and her girlfriends call me old...maybe they are right...or half right.

Of course it has something to do with age!

Why do old people fall over?

I am amazed so few sailors have one iota of knowledge about seasickness except some drug they can shove down their throats.
Google them.

For someone who has never been seasick there are also some other age related things you probably won't find on Google.
30 years ago you were fit. Now you are probably on some medication... perhaps a statin. The side effects of these powerful drugs can be quite serious for elderly people.
I actually hate to take any medication, and don't. I would prefer to remedy the cause than to treat the manifestation of the causes naturally. I have always had low blood pressure, and know that carnival rides that spin a lot will always make me sick, so I just avoid them.

I've wondered the same thing. At 67 I seem to get seasick (about once a year) where I never did before. I would like to find some research that addresses this question.
Me too, I have not found anything in terms of a study on age and seasickness, my wife is more susceptible to it more than I, so I would like to be able to help her out as well.

I don't know if age directly makes you more susceptible, but it may cause other changes that do. For example, do you wear glasses or contacts? Have you changed prescriptions or moved to multi-focal lenses?

I mostly do not get sea sickness. But I am very susceptible to "simulator/video game sickness", which is entirely a visual thing (false visual motion cues that don't match felt motion.) I've recently started getting mild air sickness on long flights. I suspect it's due to switching from straight (prescription) reading glasses to progressive lenses.
I do wear glasses, and have a new prescription with bi-focals now. I do have to admit that I now drink coffee where I did not previously. I have heard that coffee can make mal du mer more pronounced, or a possibility. I have never had to use any drugs for seasickness, but now I might have to give ginger a try. Mary Jane is not a possibility, although I have heard it works.. :)

Does anyone have any other suggestions for something natural that I could try?? Personal experience is a plus..
 

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I do NOT usually get motion sickness. But I also need to sail a bit to get my "sea legs". Doesn't take much but I do have to adjust to being on a boat. Once that happens I don't have much problem unless it's really a nasty bumpy ride for a few hrs. My step daughter claims if she steps on the boat at dock she get seasick... go figure. I don't do drugs... wife sometimes uses sea bands... Her sea sickness was pretty regular and she refused to go below when underway. Now she will and doesn't complain about sea sickness but she doesn't like when we heel more than a few degrees. Using her as an example... it was simply repeated exposure to being on the boat and sailing which allowed her to adjust. And that confirms my own experience although I am no where near where she is with queasiness.
 

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Age is not a factor except those below 2years are immune and children have increased risk up to age 15. Loss of otlithic function if symmetrical decreases risk. Those with dysfunction of cerebellar roof nuclei are at increased risk as are those with vestibular dysfunction whether peripheral or central. Women have increased risk especially if pregnant or around period. H/o migraine increases risk.

Above is evidence based. Don't have citations readily available but you could search to find them.

Everyone, yes everyone, with a vestibular system can get motion sick. Just takes right set of stimuli. I ask folks to take something the day before and first two days of passage. I ask that a week before they try it to R/O side effects.
 

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Habituation is so common that some sailors intentionally make themselves sick with the thought they will then have decreased risk. Unfortunately this is not the same as habituation which occurs best with gradual constant stimulation. Hence for motion sickness most will habituate in 2-3 d. This is the rationale for pretreatment and continuing it for the first few days of passage.
I once was on a very difficult passage. Was sick for ~2h then cleared. But after >a week of rough conditions was land sick for 3 days. The land sickness was worse than the seasickness by orders of magnitude.
 

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Ginger is of benefit. There is evidence to support its use. Of interest many antibiotic, HTN drugs, antidepressants increase risk as do hormones. Smell, hence taste, stomach acidity/reflux, fatigue and stress may increase risk in some. Recent change in vision or corrective lenses are as well. Triggers are quite individual. Have a no coffee friend and another who will get sick if caffeine withdrawing.
 

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Disappointed in much modern sailboat design. No thought to seasickness. Forward facing nav stations near the rotational axis of the boat are important even if you are a screen navigator. Reading is a common trigger. Think about needing to read that manual while under way. Our largest screen is at the nav station for that reason. Best berth for a seasick sailor is amidships. Think about the current three stateroom layout with the forward stateroom worthless underway. A snug berth, ideally near center of the boat and low down, allowing a good sleep will "cure" many.
 

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Age is not a factor except those below 2years are immune and children have increased risk up to age 15. Loss of otlithic function if symmetrical decreases risk. Those with dysfunction of cerebellar roof nuclei are at increased risk as are those with vestibular dysfunction whether peripheral or central. Women have increased risk especially if pregnant or around period. H/o migraine increases risk.

Above is evidence based. Don't have citations readily available but you could search to find them.

Everyone, yes everyone, with a vestibular system can get motion sick. Just takes right set of stimuli. I ask folks to take something the day before and first two days of passage. I ask that a week before they try it to R/O side effects.


I always get sea sick. Somewhere between 23 and 25 hours out I will be puking my guts out over the rail for about an hour. Then I feel fine. I used to worry about it, but this type of sea sickness is apparently common. Even the great Ellen McArthur suffered from it.
 

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HANUMAN
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So, I went out on friends Catalina 30 today on Lake Michigan. The forecast was for mild 10-15 knot winds and 2-4 foot waves. Well, it turned into 25 gusting to 32 with 4-7' waves with the occasional 10'er. We were on a beat to windward all day, and for the first time in 30 years I got really sick briefly. My question is does age increase ones susceptibility getting seasick? I am 51 btw. Otherwise, it was a great sail.
I know this thread is about sea sickness, but what I noticed straight away is that you are surprised by the wave height based on the predictions.

Wave forecasts are giving you the average wave height predicted, so you should expect to see 8 ft waves with a 2-4 ft prediction. Also, when reading wave height, one also needs to take into consideration the time between swells.

I should not comment on Lake Michigan, I do understand there are some tidal and current effects, but I don't really understand how much, how regular or how often. However, understanding the effects of wind on waves based on current and tide is very important, as is factoring in the time between swells.

OK, so now I got myself going... I see that the great lakes could see currents in excess of .5 knots! Interesting stuff.

https://www.glerl.noaa.gov//res/glcfs/currents/glcfs-currents-avg.html

As a fair weather sailor, in my area, I have learned that 2-4 is the maximum I will plan to go out in. 3-5 is something I will consider, but a final decision is based upon seeing the actual conditions. 2-4 with 10 - 15 can make for a great day of sailing or absolute crap, depending on wind vs. current and wave period. I also know the crazy currents prediction in my area so I can choose a direction to day sail based on what the current and wind forecast will be in a few hours. It's not always spot on, but I'm not dealing with survival conditions either, it just gets uncomfortable. It also depends greatly on WHO is sailing with me. Taking the boss and his wife out for an afternoon or going out with your sailing buddies are two entirely different types of days. :)
 

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I always get sea sick. Somewhere between 23 and 25 hours out I will be puking my guts out over the rail for about an hour. Then I feel fine. I used to worry about it, but this type of sea sickness is apparently common. Even the great Ellen McArthur suffered from it.
YUP!!!!! 24 hours 'out' and 'Ralph' used to always meet me on the rail. Now that Im older, Ralph doesn't usually show up as often. Instead, now I get severely land-sick if I 'make land' after more than 3 days at sea.
Ginger root (fresh if possible, but 'candied' ginger is just as good) is my valued sailing companion.

FWIW/Note: If you're prone to severe Mal de Mer, be very mindful and aware of the sensation of a 'hairy ring' rising in your throat. If you experience this rising 'hairy ring' .... SWALLOW REAL HARD; as, if you don't swallow immediately you risk to have your entire body completely 'turn inside out' with your inverted intestines now where your skin used to be. :-o
 

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HANUMAN
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YUP!!!!! 24 hours 'out' and 'Ralph' used to always meet me on the rail. Now that Im older, Ralph doesn't usually show up as often. Instead, now I get severely land-sick if I 'make land' after more than 3 days at sea.
Ginger root (fresh if possible, but 'candied' ginger is just as good) is my valued sailing companion.

FWIW/Note: If you're prone to severe Mal de Mer, be very mindful and aware of the sensation of a 'hairy ring' rising in your throat. If you experience this rising 'hairy ring' .... SWALLOW REAL HARD; as, if you don't swallow immediately you risk to have your entire body completely 'turn inside out' with your inverted intestines now where your skin used to be. :-o
I also get 'land sick' very unnerving as you walk to the car and start to feel like your gonna ralph. I have never actually vomited from land sickness but it's been close a couple of times.

My sister claims that ginger beer, the real stuff, stronger the better, is good at relieving sea sickness. I keep both candied ginger and ginger beer on board at all times.
 
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