Induction Sail - Day 2

Cambridge, 15th March 2001
The second day in my battle against sea-sickness started well. We rigged the boat up after the usual cleaning up job - my watch had below decks this time, and left Plymouth sometime mid-morning. All the way through, the skipper - Cal - and mate were encouraging us to think about why we had to do things, and the order we did them in. Most of the time at sea was spent being asked to do things - hoist the mainsail, change head sails, etc. - and Peanut getting more and more frustrated that we couldn't remember what we had to do next. By the last day we were beginning to get the hang of it, but there's a long way to go!

Anyway, we spent the morning doing the same kind of thing as the day before; I wasn't feeling too good, but coping with the whole thing. People who were brave enough had some lunch; pre-prepared sandwiches. We had our first man over board drill, and took ages to get everything sorted. I think the dan buoy was in the water for about 35 minutes, and we were about a mile away before we managed to stop the boat and turn it around. We then compounded our victim's plight by running him over and getting the rope stuck in the propeller. Not nice...

I did some helming, which was going really well, but as soon as I stopped things suddenly got much worse and very soon after I was heaving over the side. Not much came out, since I hadn't had any lunch, but I just kept on retching every so often. One of the things about feeling like that is that you don't have much regard for personal safety - as soon as I got that bad, Paul came over and clipped my safety harness onto the pushpit so that I couldn't go anywhere. Given we were still right in the middle of nowhere, I just didn't improve much the rest of the trip. I was vaguely aware of the rest of the crew learning how to reef the mainsail, and how to signal sail trim from one end of the boat to the other, but mainly I was just aware of how cold and miserable I felt. I had in my pockets a hat and warming pair of gloves, but really didn't have the energy to get them out to stop myself getting so cold!

So the most of that afternoon was spent sat in a ball at the stern feeling pretty shit. I think a couple of actual thoughts were going through my head. I was letting everyone else down; I was very conscious of not being able to do the job I was given in the crew on the port yankee winch. The other main thought was just that I might be a terminal case - we'd talked quite a bit the evening before about sea sickness, and I've read lots of journal entries by other crew volunteers about it. Some people are just sick badly for a few days, then clear up, some just never get any better. After I'd recovered when we were returning to Plymouth that evening Cal and Paul both said not to give up, and to persevere - however, when you're feeling shit it's hard to think positively. I was dreading the next day, since the plan was to spend the last two days at sea, on a four hour watch system. After all the build up to this week, and the challenge in general, to feel that I all might be out of my reach was really hard to bear.

Anyway, once the boat had settled down a bit on the return journey I perked up a bit, and was able to help moor and clear everything up. I think I fairly jumped at the chance to actually be able to help. I was also encouraged to discover that other people in the crew had also been sick - it wasn't just me! Anyway, that night was taken up with more safety talks about the man over board recovery - what went wrong before, etc, and with plans for the next day.