2015-05-05-seasick3

Seasickness Stinks!

It’s always sad when a person who is clearly excited as we pull from the dock, starts to turn an unhealthy shade of yellow as the first ocean swells make their presence felt. We pretend not to notice, because talking about it only makes it worse for the poor soul, but our formally gregarious guest has now fallen quiet – eyes glued to the horizon because they read somewhere that will help. They don’t want to spoil anyone else’s day but they will be vomiting in front of their friends in about, ummm, 20-minutes. It’s fine and even a little funny to talk about it later, but seasickness is horrible. It defines misery and can be dangerous if it incapacitates at the wrong time.

It’s not completely clear why some people are amazingly unaffected and others so sensitive but many doctors feel that diet, particularly hydration is a key component to not becoming sick onboard.

“What’s happening is that the brain is receiving a lot of information that it can’t resolve,” said Michael Mellman a doctor of Internal Medicine and avid sailor. There’s an overwhelming amount of sensory input to the brain that tries to keep us upright. What the eyes see is motion and the horizon and then there’s a balance center in the ears that tells the head its position relative to the body. There is also the sensation of the bottom of the feet that tells the brain what type of surface you’re on and what it’s doing and whether it’s moving or not.”

The good doctor recommends that if possible, let the “patient” take the helm, for that often times refocuses the brain on something other than the misery they are feeling. Some believe that this action tends to override all the other input.

Of course medications like Dramamine are effective for many sailors but it’s important to remember to take the pill(s) long before heading out. For those who have never taken the drug, the doctor recommends trying one on a day when they’re not getting on a boat, to ensure all is well. Another thing to pay attention to is if the sick person happens to be wearing bifocals or progressive lenses – this focus switching can sometimes wreak havoc on the unsuspecting passenger.

Seasickness is a bummer to be sure, but with the proper preparations and/or medications it doesn’t have to enter into a great day of sailing.

Here’s some tips to avoid the dreaded plague!

  • Hydrate! Something as simple as drinking a good amount of water before and during the trip can go a long way.
  • Take the helm! The brain works in mysterious ways – many people feel great relief once they grab the helm and refocus their minds on other things.
  • Take off them bifoclers! Bifocals and progressive lenses can confuse equilibrium.
  • Don’t talk about it! Asking someone who is sick if they’re “still sick” is no help – its the express train to “more sick”.
  • Drop a pill! For many, over the counter Dramamine taken an hour before the voyage is all that’s needed.
  • Ginger! For those who don’t like medications, ginger is a proven winner for fighting seasickness.
Outstanding Instructor - Yonatan Bresler

From the Navy to Owning His Own Sailing School

Outstanding Instructor  Spotlight 

Outstanding Instructor - Yonatan Bresler

As a child, sailing instructor Yonatan Bresler found his love for sailing aboard Lasers and catamarans with his father in the waters of Israel. As he grew older and his sailing skills developed, they moved up to chartering yachts in Greece almost every summer. It was a sailing upbringing like this that has formed Yonatan into one of the American Sailing Association’s Outstanding Instructors.

After serving in the Navy as an officer for seven-years and then as a sailing instructor for a few more, he and a friend founded Sea Time Sailing Club in Tel Aviv. Continue reading

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Big Opportunity to Sail and Help Clean the Ocean at the Same Time

 ASA Boyan Slat Interview (part 2)

Young Boyan Slat made a splash when he announced a year and a half ago he had a plan to rid the oceans of plastic pollution. After a recently published feasibility study Slat feels confident he can make a giant difference with his organization The Ocean Cleanup in cleaning the oceans. Now he’s looking for sailors to pitch in and help by sailing their boats in the Mega Expedition – a voyage from Hawaii to the mainland that will help understand the amount of plastics that are out there. Participating sailors will be paid for their efforts and they will get the satisfaction of helping with this global problem. Here is the second part of ASA’s exclusive interview with this 20-year-old Dutch engineer (read the first part here).

ASA: Does sailing/sailors play a part in the Ocean Cleanup?

Slat: For sure. The majority of the expeditions we’re doing we use sailboats. We use a boat called the Sea Dragon, which is a 72-foot [steel] vessel that was designed for [the Global Challenge Race], a race around the South Pole and we just finished an expedition using the tall ship Wyldeswan – a Dutch vessel. In general I think it would be a fair observation, if you look at the whole team we have, out of the 12 people we have as staff, all of them are either a diver or a sailor. Sailors have also been a great base of support for the project so far.

ASA: Is it because of the low cost, low carbon footprint and range that you use sailboats?

Slat: There’s certainly a cost benefit. What we [try to] do with these expeditions is to piggyback on existing cruises. The ones we organize ourselves are sailboats – it’s a cost effective and sustainable way to travel. So yeah, we have positive experience with using sailing vessels. Continue reading

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This Kid Says He Can Rid the Ocean of Plastic Pollution! ASA Interview With the Amazing Boyan Slat (part 1)

Sailors Called Upon to Help With Ocean Clean Up!

ASA caught up for an interview with Dutchman Boyan Slat, Founder of The Ocean Cleanup. Slat is an amazing young guy who, at 19, announced he had a solid plan to clean the world’s oceans of harmful plastic pollution faster and more efficiently than any have proposed before. In 2012, the skinny longhaired teenager spoke on a TED Talk stage of a plan that would harness the existing tendencies of the ocean and, in essence, coral the garbage for a manageable and cost-effective removal. 

Fast-forward a year and half later and the ambitious environmentalist has begun the operation. Last year he published a feasibility report that confirmed his concept indeed had legs. From there, he has formed a team, raised funds and is now creating pilot phases that will actually test his theories in the real world.

Part of the process involves more accurately understanding just how much waste is out there and that’s where sailors come in. Slat is organizing what they’re calling the Mega Expedition. – up to 50 vessels will cross the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in parallel, in what will be the largest ocean research expedition in history. They have yet to sign up 50 boats, but he is confident that he will reach that goal before August.

ASA:  What is the Mega Expedition? It’s not a clean up effort, but more of a research expedition, correct?

Slat: The Mega Expedition isn’t to clean up the oceans – it’s to determine how much plastic is in the ocean. Using computer models we determined we would be able to clean up half the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in 10-years time using a single 100-kilometer system. The question however is how much, exactly, is half the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? Is it 100,000 tons, is it 1-million tons; is it 10-million tons? Nobody really knows. There have been many estimates about how much is out there, but they vary. This is quite important for us to know for primarily two reasons. One of them is economic. If there are ten times the amount of kilos [than we thought] in the ocean to extract, obviously the cost per kilo (to extract)  goes down almost to a factor of ten considering that the plastic we extract we will reuse and recycle. That’s quite important for the business model. Although it doesn’t fully rely on it, it would make things easier.

The second reason is – to design the extraction equipment, to scale them correctly, we need to know if they have to process a ton of plastic or ten tons per hour…things like that. So that’s why we came up with this thing called the Mega Expedition. It’s a project taking place in August of this year. Using 50 sailboats, we will cross the great Pacific Garbage Patch in parallel. We’ll do more measurements in the course of three weeks than have been collected in the past 40-years combined. This should enable us to give an accurate estimate of the plastics in the ocean.

ASA: How is the Transpac [race from LA to Hawaii} involved in this?

Slat: Yes – many boats are participating –  not all of them because some are being shipped back, but most of them will be. It will be the boats that are doing the delivery voyage back to Los Angeles. Since there is a lot of motoring being done anyway, we can use those vessels to go through the more southern latitudes. Our research area is 25-north – up to 40 north. It will allow us to cover three and a half million square-kilometers. The important thing is that the vessels leave around the same time, this will provide us with a high resolution snap shot of what’s in the ocean. What organizations like NOAA and some other non-profits do is they go out to the ocean take a few measurements, come back and repeat the same thing year after year. There are problems with that. For instance, the patch is moving around. If you take a measurement of one spot and come back a week later, you would get an entirely different reading. Therefore it’s important to get a lot of measurements in a very short time and the only way we felt that was possible was doing the Mega Expedition. Continue reading

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He Owes It All to a Garbage Bag

Outstanding Instructor Spotlight

Outstanding Instructor Steve Klump

Few men can credit a garbage bag for leading them towards the career of their dreams, but Steve Klump does just that.

“I became instantly hooked on sailing through an ‘ah-ha’ moment while canoeing downwind in Everglades National Park using a garbage bag as a sail,” Steve says of the inspiration. “From that day forward I progressed through all sorts of sailing craft.”

Always an outdoorsman, Klump is a former Ranger with the National Park Service where he spent many an afternoon hiking in the serenity of the deep woods and mountains. Continue reading

Ocean Cleanup Mega Expedition

The Ocean Cleanup Mega Expedition

As sailors we should all support efforts to protect our oceans and keep them clean. The Ocean Cleanup Mega Expedition, which will involve sailboats returning from Hawaii after the Transpac, will collect more plastic measurements in three weeks than have been collected in the past 40 years combined. This project is part of The Ocean Cleanup​ – a non profit foundation, pioneered by a 19 year old from The Netherlands, that is developing technologies to extract, prevent and intercept plastic pollution.

Click through for a video and the official press release
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Black Rock Sailing School

Fair Winds and at Least Two Cup Holders!

Outstanding Instructor Spotlight

Paul SullivanBlack Rock Sailing School’s twenty-four-year-old ASA Sailing Instructor Paul Sullivan caught the sailing bug young, sailing his Sunfish around the small lake of his hometown. A self-described sailing addict, Sullivan lived for sailing.

As his skilled progressed he raced in high school and college but after countless bruises on his knees and shins, the young sailaholic started to appreciate boats with a bit more room and comfort.

“I had outgrown the Vanguard 420 and all the knee and shin bumping associated with it,” Sullivan says. “I left the world of roll tacks and team racing to enjoy the good life, establishing my new mantra; I will only sail a boat with at least two cup-holders.”

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Outstanding Instructor - Matthew Holt

Living the Dream!

Outstanding Instructor Spotlight

There are a lucky few people in this world who get to live their life just as they had hoped – ASA sailing instructor at Sunsail BVI, Matthew Holt, or Big Red as he is also known, is one of these people.

Matthew teaches sailing in one of the most beautiful places in the world, the British Virgin Islands and fully understands and appreciates how fortunate a person he is. BVI, consisting of four main islands and over 50 smaller islands, is truly an incredible cruising ground for sailors who seek out the idyllic.

“I consider myself very lucky to call the British Virgin Islands home. As a boy, I dreamed of getting paid to take people sailing,” Holt says. “Now I do.”

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News-11-First 22-03

On-Board Sailing Workshop Partnership

SailTime Logo

SailTime North America , Beneteau America, The American Sailing Association partner together to introduce new Sailors to the Beneteau ASA First 22 at the Annapolis Spring Sailboat Show.

April 3, 2015 (Annapolis, MD) – SailTime Group LLC, the world’s largest boat membership company, announced a partnership with Beneteau America, and the American Sailing Association to conduct an On-Board Sailing Workshop at the 2015 Annapolis Spring Sailboat Show April 24th through April 26th.

The registered students will get to participate in a 30 minute in-class basic briefing followed by a 90 minute on water intro to sailing lesson. This clinic has been developed by the American Sailing Association and is part of their Small Boat Workshop for New Sailor Series.

Designed for the beginning sailor, this clinic will be taught on the new ASA First 22, which is manufactured by Beneteau America in Marion, SC. The ASA First 22 is a result of collaboration between Beneteau America and the American Sailing Association and was specifically designed for teaching ASA courses.
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