So it’s happened. The inevitable occurred about seven hours into a twenty hour overnight sail to Cherbourg. It was fairly rough and we were being chucked around quite a bit. I was fine, actually quite enjoying myself, until I went down below- the enemy of the uninitiated. The warm bosom of the heated cabin instantly becomes a hot, sweaty, disgusting sick bucket. I clinged to the bowl of the stinking Jabsco almost immediately, boat heeled over to one side, after a good hour and a bit admitting quietly to myself between chunders that if I didn’t figure my way out of this incapacitated position, my idea of sailing for a living was most certainly over -depressingly not far out of sight of the Isle of White. Pathetic.
Another crew member pretty much pulled me out of the sick tardis and put me to bed in the aft cabin with a bucket I requested. I pulled my sleeping bag over myself and closed my eyes. After ten minutes I felt alright but was by this time ‘off-watch’ anyway. Laying on my back I couldn’t quite believe how quickly I had recovered from the most awful feeling. Three hours later I got up, immediately feeling rough again, pulled my oilies on quickly and heaved myself into the cockpit; now in a rougher sea. Our skipper put me on the helm immediately and an hour later I was reminded why I love sailing; my previous state almost forgotten. My appalling helming was being tamed by Rich, our skipper, I was learning to ride the biggest waves I’d ever sailed in with Rich standing in the companionway yelling ‘left, left, LEFT HARD OVER…..RIGHT RIGHT RIGHT!’ followed by a bang as we struck the sister wave of the first one I just managed to dodge. Water coming into the cockpit, taste of salt on my lips, and crap crashing around the cabin of our boat that was really designed for farting around the med as opposed to scrapping it’s way across the English Channel- brilliant!
Over the next ten hours I learned very quickly that I can manage sea sickness if I am careful. Concentrating on chart work for example I am fine, if I start doing something not necessary and get distracted, I quickly feel queazy. It was also, albeit slightly cruel to say it, good to see I wasn’t the only one as later on Craig came flying up into the cockpit half dressed and gave the English Channel the good news in a scene fresh out of Little Britain- though not quite so fresh.