70 seconds to make you feel seasick

Prepare to feel a little queasy as you and a GoPro head offshore into some big ocean swells.
© Matt Knighton/Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race
By Corinna Halloran

For the record, even the most experienced sailors get seasick.

So here's the scenario: you're rocketing along at 30 knots, thousands of miles from land in the Volvo Ocean Race. Monster waves crash over the bow and everything violently shakes. You've just finished four long hours on deck and now you can attempt to get four (short) hours of rest. First thought though: food.

You shovel out the latest freeze-dried meal (it says chicken and pasta, but the chicken looks more like pieces of sponge) and sit down to eat. Now comes the fun part. While you're inside the boat, it feels like you're being tossed around in a washing machine and, as you eat spoonful after spoonful of 'chicken', you start to feel warmer and warmer.

Your stomach begins to do flips and you start to sweat. You keep telling yourself, 'don’t get sick, don't get sick, don't get sick'. You breathe deeply, over and over, but each time the boat launches off the back of a wave and slams down on to the next, your body fights harder to keep the food down.

You try to put off the inevitable, but your mouth is dry and the spongy chicken is not helping. If only the spinning rollercoaster would stop. Finally, one bite too many, one wave too many and there goes lunch. Fortunately, you've managed to stick your head out of the companionway just in time to make sure it gets washed away by the next wave.

Team Alvimedica fight through seasick-inducing heavy seas during the Volvo Ocean Race
Team Alvimedica braces themselves for waves © Amory Ross/Team Alvimedica/Volvo Ocean Race

Living in wet, cold, washing-machine-like conditions is not pleasant – it's brutal, it's relentless, and punishing. But, despite the days (or weeks) of seasickness and pounding waves, there are beautiful moments during ocean races too – moments of great beauty and of unforgettable fun, when you feel like your team are the only people in the world. Moments when you're flying along faster than a corvette, with albatross and dolphins alongside. It's these moments that make you forget all of the seasick moments.

And it's the epic moments that keep you coming back for more. After all, seasickness is temporary but the unique perspective you gain of the world during the nine-month adventure that is the Volvo Ocean Race is everlasting.

If you're ready for that epic nine-month adventure, if you think you can handle the seasickness, the food, and the utter exhaustion. If you want to tell the story of a team and change your life, then check out the toughest job in the world.

The Dongfeng Race Team sail towards the sunrise in rough seas during the Volvo Ocean Races
Dongfeng Race Team heads into the sunrise © Sam Greenfields/Dongfeng Race Team/Volvo Ocean Race

Want to see more awesome footage from the Volvo Ocean Race? Check out nature delivering an incredible show or when the ocean is like a desert.

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