Posted by: Dawna Bate | July 20, 2017

Keeping My Balance

IMG_1501Every season, it takes me a while to remember how to keep my balance on a moving boat. That’s an extra challenge when the boat can move in three directions – up and down; left and right; back and forth – all at the same time. Over the winter, my muscle memory, my inner ears and my brain forget what it is like to adjust to all of that movement. So at the beginning of the season, I look a bit like a drunken sailor, swaying from side to side as I move from one spot to another, and grabbing for support from whatever is close at hand. Believe me – no alcohol is consumed in the performing of these acrobatics.

Last year, that balance seemed easier to develop. That’s probably because we spent almost three months living on the boat. We were here for most of July, August, and September with the occasional trip back to dry land for doctors’ appointments, laundry and catching up with friends and family.

On the boat, I was balanced. I was feeling agile. I was acclimated. And back on land, I was woozy, off balance and clumsy. That’s called land sickness or mal de débarquement. I felt it no matter what I was doing, but it was worst in the shower. The whole bathroom felt like it was floating in very rocky seas and I would have to wash my hair with one hand while the other hand was touching the wall, to give me stability and a steady reference. After we came back from the three months on the boat, it took me a few weeks to totally adjust to land life again.

This year, it seems to be taking me longer to adjust to the boat movement. It could be because we aren’t spending as much extended time on the boat this year. We usually spend a day or two – our longest stay has been five days. Just long enough to start to get used to the motion and then we’re back on land, adjusting our inner ears again. It could be because I have a slight inner ear problem. It could be because this year has been incredibly windy and rocky. There have been some crazy wind storms this year. At least once, winds were clocked at 48 knots. That’s almost 90 kph. Today, we had 26 knots when we checked. That’s 48 kph. Then it got windier but I wasn’t going to go out in the driving rain to check again. Let’s just say – I was having problems keeping my balance and I was sitting down.

I’m looking forward to when we can spend more time on the boat. To when my body can adjust and I don’t have to focus on how to move and how to balance. Until then, I’ll be watching my steps and taking it easy. And making sure I have something to grab – just in case.


[Check out my other blog Second Thoughts. Here’s a link to the companion post “Finding My Balance“.



  1. I got slightly dizzy just reading this!! I guess it would take me forever to adjust from land to boat to land – specially because sometimes I already feel dizzy on land!!!

    • I’m happy if you can join us at the dock. I won’t expect you to run across the deck. 🙂

  2. […] [I have a companion blog – Second Wind Sailing. See a related post “Keeping My Balance“.] […]

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