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Dave Selby: One of these remedies cures seasickness, I’m just not sure which one…

from Practical Boat Owner, September 1, 2021


It’s worth trying any seasickness cure once, but what if you try them all at the same time? Dave Selby shares the results of his experiment...



My mate Sea Sick Dave knows more about seasickness than anybody I’ve ever come across. In fact he’s an expert, and his partner Kate says he suffers so acutely that just the sight of water with washing-up liquid in it makes him have to lie down, start moaning, roll his eyes and break out in sweats.


He finds that watching TV programmes about very fast cars is the only thing that alleviates his suffering. Indeed, if you’ve ever suffered from seasickness you’d do well to learn from Dave’s exhaustive – and exhausting – experience, and apply the techniques he’s developed, many of them unique, to overcome this most unpleasant of maladies, which Dave has completely conquered through the application of science, art, mysticism and mindfulness.


Here’s how. Mal de mer, as its name implies, was invented by the French, but even though Dave’s English, he’s embraced it to the point of cultural appropriation, such that when he’s afflicted – as for example by Kate waving washing-up gloves in front of him – he makes noises that sound remarkably French, but rather goes over the top with his attempt at a Gallic shrug, which is more like a convulsion brought on by strychnine or an electric chair.


The curious thing is that for the first 45 years of his life Dave never once suffered – with seasickness or anything else. Being a man of means he just bought more plates when the sink was full, but that all changed when he met Kate, who had a very nice yacht indeed, which she kept in Spain.


Meeting for one of our regular catch-ups at the Driftwood Coffee House in Maldon, Dave’s presence was announced 10 minutes before he arrived. This in itself was not unusual, as back in the days when Dave was known as Dapper Dave, his cologne normally preceded him, though for obvious reasons he never wore Chanel, as it made him queasy on account of its connotations of a similar word with two ‘n’s.


On this occasion though, the aroma was an overpowering sickly melange of herbs, spice, glands, roots and essential oils… and something else. At first I thought it was Old Spice, but that seemed unlikely as there’s a ship on the bottle.


And again, I got that whiff of something else, something strange and other worldly. “Blimey,” I said. “Is it Kate’s birthday?” “No… ooh, why… agh, do you…ouch, ask?” he replied, grimacing oddly. “You smell like you’ve been to a candle shop,” I said, ignoring what seemed to be disturbing involuntary twitches.


Then I looked at some very odd bangles, beads and bands on Dave’s wrists and finally put two and two together. “Cripes, Dave, you haven’t become a hippy, have you?” I asked with alarm. “No, mate, we’re off to Spain to sail the boat back,” Dave explained, again with these worrying and odd little exclamations and winces between most words. “I’ve been eating my own body weight in ginger every day, among other things.”


Judging by the eye-stinging aroma, the other things included lavender, spearmint, patchouli, pot-pourri, bouquet garni, cumin, coriander, frankincense and myrrh, WD40, Worcester Sauce, tabasco, hydrogen sulphide, a Pot Noodle of some kind, and some other smell I couldn’t quite nail, and queried. “Oh, ouch, that’ll be fear,” Dave explained, but that wasn’t all.


And it was then that I noticed as well as the bangles, beads and bands extending half way up both arms, lower down where Dave normally has an Oyster – a Rolex, not the shellfish – there was some kind of electronic wrist tag. “Blimey, Dave, you’re not in trouble, are you?” I asked. “N-n-n-no,” he stuttered unconvincingly, adding even less plausibly: “It works by giving you an electric sh-sh-shock to desensitize you.” So that explained the intermittent tics and the coffee all over his shirt.

Dave also had patches behind his ears, prescription tablets, vitamin pills, and had undergone hypnosis and acupuncture, as well as learning how to breathe, which comes in handy in all sorts of situations. Three weeks later when I caught up with Dave he was back to his old self and said, grinning from ear to ear: “I wasn’t sick once, it worked brilliantly.” Eager to learn more about the greatest contribution to seasickness remedies since the invention of land, I excitedly quizzed him: “Which one?” “That’s hard to say, but one of them definitely worked.”

And if that doesn’t help fellow seasickness sufferers I don’t know what will!

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