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 shakes violently. 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 a 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 it.
Your stomach begins to do somersaults and flips, and you start to sweat. You keep telling yourself not to 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, you fight harder and harder to keep the food down.
You try to put off the inevitable, but your mouth is dry and the spongey 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.
Living in wet, cold, washing machine-like conditions is not pleasant — it's brutal, relentless and punishing. Despite the days (or weeks) of seasickness and pounding waves, there are beautiful moments during ocean races — moments of great beauty. 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 is everlasting.