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Ben9000
19-04-12, 20:18
You won't have heard this one before, so do bear with me. I'm buying a yacht and sailing around the world. I've given myself three years (summers for practical, winters for classroom) to get the experience and knowledge I need, and I see that th RYA prescribes courses as follows:

Start Yachting - practical
Essential Navigation & Seamanship (shorebased)
Competent Crew - practical
Day Skipper (shorebased)
Day Skipper - practical
Coastal Skipper and Yachtmaster (shorebased)
Coastal Skipper - practical

Then the real stuff of:

Yachtmaster Coastal/Offshore/Ocean
as well as oral and shorebased exams.


This summer I will be learning to dinghy, as well as pitching in a the yacht club on race days when there is space. I'll be taking the competent crew course abroad in August, but that's about as far as I've thought.

What advice would you offer in getting the skills I need (not necessarily the bits of paper) to make this a reality?

Thanks in advance.

r_h
20-04-12, 17:02
Sail as many different boats, with as many different people, in as many different places as possible.

That will give you depth of experience that will prove invaluable, as well as helping to inform the choice of boat you end up buying. Do some winter sailing as well - that way you're likely to get a wider variety of weather as well as many night hours.

Although others here may disagree, in my view you are also correct to include formal training -- done well, and combined with a rich variety of other experience, this greatly accelerates learning and helps to minimise gaps in knowledge.

gavin_lacey
20-04-12, 18:20
It is hard to get sufficient experience in other people's boats. School boats are expensive. Buy a cheap boat as soon as possible. £3K or less spent on a 21 foot boat could save you a fortune and give you experience not just of sailing but also of boat ownership - not the same thing. 25 years ago it it was how most people started. Recently the route is frequently school boats and charters in 36+ foot boats and then the first purchase of a similar size. I freely admit to being a grumpy old dinosaur but the old way worked for a lot of people. Sailing round the world is a massive undertaking. Try sailing round Britain in a small boat first. Suggest reading Ellen McArthur biography.

LadyInBed
20-04-12, 18:40
You won't have heard this one before

Ah! The innocence (probably) of youth.


What advice would you offer in getting the skills I need (not necessarily the bits of paper) to make this a reality?
You obviously need some training to get started, but getting sea time in is much more important than getting bits of paper, and you will need an amount of sea time to get Yachtmaster Coastal /Offshore /Ocean

Conachair
20-04-12, 19:31
You won't have heard this one before, so do bear with me. I'm buying a yacht and sailing around the world. I've given myself three years (summers for practical, winters for classroom) to get the experience and knowledge I need,

As others have said, get out on the water as much as poss. One thing to bear in mind is that the RYA way is very good, but cruising is a different set of skills of which sailing is just one bit. And it´s not something you ever learn, maybe just get used to not knowing what´s around the corner.
Dinghy sounds a very good idea, get a good feel for how boats behave. So they say anyway, never sailed one meself:o
I think what I´m trying to say is that don´t think you´ll walk away from an RYA course "knowing how to sail". Great though they are, the learning really starts once you go out on your own on your own boat. It´s a never ending process of gaining in confidence and lessening of fear:)

And cruising´s all about maintenance - how big is your tool kit?;)

Ludd
20-04-12, 20:09
You won't have heard this one before, so do bear with me. I'm buying a yacht and sailing around the world. I've given myself three years (summers for practical, winters for classroom) to get the experience and knowledge I need, and I see that th RYA prescribes courses as follows:

Start Yachting - practical
Essential Navigation & Seamanship (shorebased)
Competent Crew - practical
Day Skipper (shorebased)
Day Skipper - practical
Coastal Skipper and Yachtmaster (shorebased)
Coastal Skipper - practical

Then the real stuff of:

Yachtmaster Coastal/Offshore/Ocean
as well as oral and shorebased exams.


This summer I will be learning to dinghy, as well as pitching in a the yacht club on race days when there is space. I'll be taking the competent crew course abroad in August, but that's about as far as I've thought.

What advice would you offer in getting the skills I need (not necessarily the bits of paper) to make this a reality?

Thanks in advance.
Don't waste time and money on the competent crew course. Save it for the day skipper practical. If you're sailing dinghies and crewing in races you'll have learned more than the comp crew course teaches.

little_roundtop
21-04-12, 10:13
Experience, experience, experience. Training is accelerated experience but there's nothing like the real thing. Get as much as you can.


I'll be taking the competent crew course abroad in August

I would recommend compcrew, we did it and found it very useful - we were total novices than too. BUT I'd advise against doing it in the Med (you don't say where abroad but I've a good idea you mean in the Med). You won't experience tides there, and whilst tidal experience is not that important for compcrew you want to get used to tidal effects and planning for them from the get-go.

In addition there's a general feeling that if you can sail in the UK you can sail pretty much anywhere!

tom_sail
21-04-12, 10:31
The problem with RYA courses is that you learn in a false environment. You can all to easily leave a course, waving your piece paper.

I have always felt RYA courses make you feel over confident. The instructor will be planning his course days in advance, he will know which ports your going to, the tides for that day (off by heart) and the weather. Of course he/she will sit there "pretending" to know nothing.
The result can be you are given a destination "now get the boat there safely by working out the tides, getting told the dangers and who cares about the weather-it can do what ever it likes.

You won't be given a chance to make a mistake because you'll be corrected well in advance. So for example if you got the tidal stream an hour out which result in you pushing 2 knots of tide which is not a life threating mistake just an inconvenience, the instructor would correct you and you wouldn't experience your mistake.

I would be inclined to get a 20 footer boat with a lid, learn the ropes and how to use the motor. Start by letting go of the mooring and quickly picking the line with the boat hook to get practice. Then let go completely, drift back and motor back to mooring buoy. Then take it in small steps just motoring up and down a quite stretch of water progressing to using the sails.

Read as many books as possible before hand, watch YouTube videos (but take with a pinch of salt)

Once you can sail on all angles of the wind, motor and pick up a buoy, navigate down an estuary and work out the weather and tides for a particular day, then take the RYA day skipper course.

telford_mike
21-04-12, 10:34
You won't have heard this one before, so do bear with me. I'm buying a yacht and sailing around the world. I've given myself three years (summers for practical, winters for classroom) to get the experience and knowledge I need, and I see that th RYA prescribes courses as follows:

Start Yachting - practical
Essential Navigation & Seamanship (shorebased)
Competent Crew - practical
Day Skipper (shorebased)
Day Skipper - practical
Coastal Skipper and Yachtmaster (shorebased)
Coastal Skipper - practical

Then the real stuff of:

Yachtmaster Coastal/Offshore/Ocean
as well as oral and shorebased exams.


This summer I will be learning to dinghy, as well as pitching in a the yacht club on race days when there is space. I'll be taking the competent crew course abroad in August, but that's about as far as I've thought.
?

Thanks in advance.

I learned to sail dinghys as a child. Did nothing more until I was mid-forties, then found myself doing a 3 day yacht course whilst on a Sunsail beach holiday in Greece. I got the bug! Came home and did Day Skipper Theory at local college, followed this up with the practical at a sailing school in Devon. Back to college the following September and did the Coastal Skipper / Yachtmaster theory.

Atfer this, things get a bit trickier. You need lots of miles, and plenty of them as skipper. You can get miles easily enough by doing flotillas etc, but a club will be a real plus as this will get you night hours and tidal waters, and you really need this stuff.

So I think you need to do both the RYA stuff and as much sailing as you can get. I do find that a package holiday flotilla Or charter is a good reminder of what I really wanted when it all started - sun and sparkling sea! I'm still learning needless to say, but looking forward to getting my first boat soon.

curlysue
22-04-12, 07:16
Agree with most of the advice so far. You do need bits of paper but most of all you need experience on the water. I also would advise against courses abroad, unless its Gib as you need tidal qualifications if you are to undertake what you are talking about. Don't be put off by doubters, but failing to plan is planning to fail. Live the dream !!!

markwilde
22-04-12, 08:23
It is hard to get sufficient experience in other people's boats. School boats are expensive. Buy a cheap boat as soon as possible. £3K or less spent on a 21 foot boat could save you a fortune and give you experience not just of sailing but also of boat ownership - not the same thing. 25 years ago it it was how most people started. Recently the route is frequently school boats and charters in 36+ foot boats and then the first purchase of a similar size. I freely admit to being a grumpy old dinosaur but the old way worked for a lot of people. Sailing round the world is a massive undertaking. Try sailing round Britain in a small boat first. Suggest reading Ellen McArthur biography.


+1
Depending on your final plans, experience knowing how to fix things on an older boat could turn out to be the most important experience you gain. Mind you, with that list of courses, budget does not appear to be a big issue. Add a diesel course if you don't have experience in that area, learn everything you can about electrics.

Good luck.

chanelyacht
22-04-12, 08:35
As others have said, spend as much time out there as you can.

At the risk of increasing your list, you also need to plan what communications you'll have on the boat - in which case, a VHF course or possibly the full GMDSS version will be needed depending on what you're carrying. If your boat has / will have an engine, you'll need to know how to maintain that, especially in parts of the world where getting a new part may be a challenge. If you're carrying radar, the radar course can be of help too.

But the knowledge to make decisions like what to fit the boat with, will only come from seeing others and being out there.

Having said all of that, there have been some memorable circumnavigations with none of the above!

MAURICE
22-04-12, 09:23
I think the only course that you really need is a day skippers course. You can then obtain an ICC which is recognised throughout Europe unlike the RYA bits of paper which are not. The other would be a radio course for a radio certificate which you will need for VHF. The rest is vast amounts of experience which you can only really get by going out on boats and reading books.
Maurice

jordanbasset
22-04-12, 10:07
In addition to the other good advice would suggest a diesel engine course, will pay for itself by your first service.

Edit just seen it has already been recommended

GrahamM376
22-04-12, 10:14
This summer I will be learning to dinghy, as well as pitching in a the yacht club on race days when there is space. I'll be taking the competent crew course abroad in August, but that's about as far as I've thought.

What advice would you offer in getting the skills I need (not necessarily the bits of paper) to make this a reality?

Thanks in advance.

As already mentioned, if you will already have dinghy and a bit of keel boat crewing experience by August, the comp crew is a waste of time. However, if starting from scratch it's possibly worth while.

Before doing the day skipper practical, you will need some basic knowledge of tides, navigation, colregs and buoyage so, I would suggest you do the shore based course ASAP, some schools will do it over a few weekends.

I started from scratch so did the comp crew to see if I liked sailing, bought a Centaur and then got some onboard tuition - one to one. My day skipper practical was sailing from Hamble to Conwy. From then on it was mile and experience building around the Irish Sea.

syfuga
22-04-12, 10:35
Its already been said.. sail with other people and on different boats, but not necessarily so easy.

Join a club with a lot of cruising people.. going places and needing crew

Or join the Cruising Association who run a crewing service matching skippers with potential crew.

Another is to investigate crewseekers and findacrew.net

FWIW we have been happily sailing around the Med for the last eight years and I have no paperwork other than the Long range comms certificate and expired first aid. SWIMBO on the other hand has done shore based and Day skipper, and holds an ICC.

Carolwildbird
22-04-12, 10:36
Yes, its eminently possible and some of us have done it your way...

I hadn't really sailed.. other than as a passenger, until 2006. After three weeks on the Caribbean on my brother's boat I really got the bug, and went off and did just what you are proposing: several courses (day skipper, diesel engine, yacht maintenance, yachtmaster, VhF, long range radio, sea survival, first aid.. I think that was it?) , plus crewing through crewseekers and elsewhere.

Before I took the plunge, I did one of those extended sailing courses.. 6 weeks sailing round Britain (via the Orkneys, not through the canal).. all weathers and lots of good (and bad) experiences.. just to check out whether the life of living on a boat was for me.

Then bought my boat (late 2007) and after one summer's test sailing (over to SW Ireland) set off for the Med (2009). The first year was, shall I say, "interesting" - when I realized what I didn't know from the courses (pranged my boat on the first day going into a marina!) and I had some quite "challenging" experiences (unexpected, but fortunately short lived F9 in Irish sea--F8 fine!.....for example!).. but all was well... had a friendly YM instructor on board a few times to help me, as well as one or two very helpful people from here on ybw.

So if you are really up for it... do it! Get as much crewing experience as possible, and also as much skippering, later on, as you can.

Carol

Grehan
22-04-12, 10:58
The thing is, it's all useful especially if it's enjoyable (even the - ahem - tricky bits) - courses and experience. Serious experience and just fooling around a bit. Experience teaches you that the courses don't teach you everything, the courses should teach you that experience doesn't teach you everything either.
Sailing generally, teaches you that the unexpected can pop up at almost any time and bite you in the bottom. :rolleyes:

Tomahawk
22-04-12, 15:28
I learned a lot by racing... First round the cans then overnight races. (although when I stopped I began to enjoy my sailing a lot more)

Racing forces you to navigate accurately.. If you will miss your mark by half a mile you loose the race..It forces you to learn to trim sails.. Or the other boat will simply overtake you.. It teaches you how to do things like put in shake in a reef and take it out quickly and efficiently. You have to stand watch and stay alert in the middle of the night.. And be efficient... All these come into play when you are on your own...

Above all else it gives you confidence that you have done it before so can do it again... a lesson I appreciated when on passage two up from Brighton to Dover. After a long day and getting cold we were half a mile from the harbour entrance when a squall blew up to a 6. It was wind against tide and dark and raining. With the boat leaping up and down quite laarge wavess I climbed into the coach roof and put in the reef feeling very glad I had done it many times and was not in the leat bit scared...

KellysEye
22-04-12, 16:13
As Carol and others have said experience is the way to go. We didn't go long distance sailing until we had sailed 3,500 miles in all conditions together. The other thing is everything will break except rigging (hopefully). When you buy a boat it's worth taking things apart and and fitting a service pack. That will stand you in good stead in the future. Also a marine disel course is good.

V1701
22-04-12, 19:31
The money you'll save by not doing all those courses will buy you a boat to get started with but don't forget about mooring fees. Start singlehanding as soon as you can, but do everything nice and slow. Do your DS practical at some point to get ICC. Good luck...:)

jimbaerselman
23-04-12, 10:24
A radical approach which no one has mentioned so far is to get together with two or four friends, and book a Neilson "Stay and Sail" holiday with an "Introduction to Yachting" course in Greece.

The first week one or more of you will undergo four days of intensive training. The second week, you'll be in charge of your boat sailing in a group with help available from another yacht (the "lead boat") if needed. This works because sailing conditions in the Med are easy - no tides, light winds (in their chosen areas). And you gain all important experience of being in charge - in simple conditions.

Next time, go on a flotilla holiday for two weeks. The lead boat is still there to help out. Simple sailing . . .

Now do some theory courses to learn much more about navigation, tides, weather, collision regulations (or rather, rules for preventing collisions!) and so on. Now try a bareboat charter in non-tidal conditions, and take a practical course in tidal conditions (day skipper) and do some crewing (can I do some Navigation please skipper?) in tidal waters. Try a channel crossing or two .

Now you may be ready for a tidal waters charter . . .

Ben9000
23-04-12, 19:58
Thanks to everyone for sharing your knowledge - it's very much appreciated. I've been thinking about this since January and read a load of books but hadn't actually been on a yacht ... until yesterday!

I'd been hassling my local club for a novice place on a yacht and finally got a call on Saturday as most of the students were still at home for Easter. Needless to say I jumped at it, despite being very nervous. I was expecting to be cold, wet and seasick, but the experience was awesome. The boat was a Prima 38. Even though I did little else but swap from side to side on each tack or gybe!

We crashed on the way out (keel snagged a pontoon chain which was out of position) and on the way back in (erm.. same chain.) This feels like the most important lesson I learnt - boats are expensive and the spending nevr stops!

I'm definitely going to pay for the competent crew course within the next month - there was no time to go through anything on the day, so I feel i would benefit from some basic tuition. After that, I'll do the Day Skipper Theory at my local RYA place, then on to Day Skipper Practical at the end of the summer.

With a bit of luck, I'll have my ICCC by the end of the summer, so the real learning can start early next year!

I've deliberatley not revealed my local club in case people can identify me in the future, as I'll probably look back on this and be a bit embarrassed at my naiveté.

Thannks again everyone.

marklucas
23-04-12, 22:49
The problem with RYA courses is that you learn in a false environment. You can all to easily leave a course, waving your piece paper.

I have always felt RYA courses make you feel over confident. The instructor will be planning his course days in advance, he will know which ports your going to, the tides for that day (off by heart) and the weather. Of course he/she will sit there "pretending" to know nothing.
The result can be you are given a destination "now get the boat there safely by working out the tides, getting told the dangers and who cares about the weather-it can do what ever it likes.

You won't be given a chance to make a mistake because you'll be corrected well in advance. So for example if you got the tidal stream an hour out which result in you pushing 2 knots of tide which is not a life threating mistake just an inconvenience, the instructor would correct you and you wouldn't experience your mistake.



I couldn't disagree more. When I plan courses I deliberately plan to allow mistakes to be made safely. A classic example in The Solent would be to enter Lymington just after low water -even after a discussion about how important the depth sounder is to pilotage it's 50/50 that they will run aground. A gentle comment about depth may keep them afloat, but do they notice the gentle slowing? And what a great opportunity to teach all the students how to get off.

As my instructor examiner said, you need to be at least two mistakes ahead of the student so that you can manage the "safe" ones and stop the nasty onones.

As has been said, experience is king - some instruction is a very valuable input but not the complete answer. You have to be out there on your own and realise you have made a mistake but know what to do. An extreme example for me was when I'd just gone solo a glider pilot. I hit sink and was getting low downwind of the Aerodrome -I won't be doing that again!

tom_sail
24-04-12, 07:55
I couldn't disagree more. When I plan courses I deliberately plan to allow mistakes to be made safely. A classic example in The Solent would be to enter Lymington just after low water -even after a discussion about how important the depth sounder is to pilotage it's 50/50 that they will run aground. A gentle comment about depth may keep them afloat, but do they notice the gentle slowing? And what a great opportunity to teach all the students how to get off.

As my instructor examiner said, you need to be at least two mistakes ahead of the student so that you can manage the "safe" ones and stop the nasty onones.

As has been said, experience is king - some instruction is a very valuable input but not the complete answer. You have to be out there on your own and realise you have made a mistake but know what to do. An extreme example for me was when I'd just gone solo a glider pilot. I hit sink and was getting low downwind of the Aerodrome -I won't be doing that again!

You seem to have to found the right balance between experience and tuition which makes a good RYA instructor.

Tomahawk
24-04-12, 10:44
I couldn't disagree more. When I plan courses I deliberately plan to allow mistakes to be made safely.

In which case they are not mistakes. They are part of a lesson plan. There is no danger to the student.. as any real danger has been planned away by the instructor.. Whilst that is an important aspect of sailing the student has to learn it for themselves. If they learn only what they are allowed to learn they may finish a course feeling they know more than they do and be over confident.. After all they have done an RYA course ..

Then they call out the lifeboat..

Croak
24-04-12, 11:22
In which case they are not mistakes.

They are mistakes, because when they happen he starts shouting at everyone. :)

laika
24-04-12, 14:21
Consider crewing on a long-distance delivery, at least once. You'll not necessarily learn a wide range of skills and the skipper is unlikely to let you "have a go" at take-offs or landings, but if your goal is to sail round the world it's good to know what weeks offshore on a yacht, sometimes in deeply unpleasant weather, is all about. This is something you probably won't find out from a course / holiday / crewing for yacht club members on the weekend. Good to know sooner rather than later and (hopefully) with an experienced offshore skipper on board if it might not be what you want to do.

Given the choice, delivery companies/skippers will want crew with a Dayskipper/Watch Leader certificate. However, given the limited number of people willing to work for free outside of college holidays I know that some companies at least are rather less picky about crew qualifications than would be expected from claims on their web sites, especially during peak times (ie spring deliveries to the med and autumn to the caribbean). You need to be flexible for this though: starts can be delayed and you may not end up where you were told you would.

Ben9000
24-04-12, 14:40
thanks laika. I should have been more descriptive in my original post, but I didn't want to make it too long. What I'm really looking to do is spend several years travelling/working around the world by yacht, not break any records.

Unfortunately, I'm not going to get chance to do any long journeys as I run my own business, so my only options are day or weekend sailing at the club and a few weeks per year either doing courses or chartering when I'm competent enough. If I'd have thought about this ten years ago I'd have been off like a shot on anyone's boat! Not sure if I'd still have a wife if I did that now though...

marklucas
24-04-12, 21:58
They are mistakes, because when they happen he starts shouting at everyone. :)

As we all know a good skipper only raises his / her voice to be heard.

Calm control earns respect. ;)

Wife of Lofticus
25-04-12, 06:36
Hi Ben,
Have read this thread with interest. We did the Jim B route of villa/flotilla with the training and seemed to have followed the rest of his advice over the last 12 years. It was Lofticus's dream to do what you are talking about but it was vital that I wanted to live that dream too. You mention you have a wife but you have not mentioned whether she is also part of your training/experience plans.;)
We did the intro to yachting with Neilson and a week flotilla. Then a fortnight flotilla, bareboat charters in Greece, Croatia and BVI. Nearer to actually going, we did day skipper theory together over the winter and then day skipper paractical in the spring. We both then had ICC at which point I stopped formal qualies. Lofticus went on to do more ending up with YM offshore. He also raced some of the Fastnet qualifiers. We then joined a boatshare scheme in the UK which gave us 50 sailing days a year on different boats, about as much as we could manage whilst still working. We also did the VHF course and diesel engine course together.
Spread out over time whilst enjoying any sailing we could get, whilst working, the expense was manageable.
Being around boats, talking to owners, especially liveaboards abroad and reading all the books and forums we could find kept us going until we bought our boat in 2010. Working on her and preparing to leave the UK was a huge learning curve and we left last May.
We have been living aboard for nearly a year now and we love it. We have learnt so much along the way and, as with everything, you never stop learning, that's part of the fun.
Good luck with your plans and I hope you can enjoy learning together, starting in Greece where it is warm and non-tidal definetely got me hooked!:D

BobPrell
25-04-12, 14:27
Unfortunately, I'm not going to get chance to do any long journeys as I run my own business, so my only options are day or weekend sailing at the club and a few weeks per year either doing courses or chartering when I'm competent enough. If I'd have thought about this ten years ago I'd have been off like a shot on anyone's boat! Not sure if I'd still have a wife if I did that now though...

I have read your 3 posts, skimmed the rest, there will be something there for you sure.

BUT. ESSENTIAL.

You need to find out how sea-sick you get. Can you cope with your level of incapacity?

If your wife is to be involved the same ruthless assessment will be needed on her.

If either of you are prone you may need to take up horse-trekking instead.

Best of luck.

Ben9000
25-04-12, 15:15
Hi Bob,

Racing last week the conditions were pretty good (to me at least), and we were only on the boat for three hours or so. This weekend, I've been invited on an eleven hour race, and the weather looks pretty rough where I am, so I guess I'll find out....

As a side note, I've bought some Boots own and a brand-name seasickness tablet, so I may try one this weekend.

Ben9000
25-04-12, 15:23
Hi Wife of Lofticus!

Of course it's vital for me that Mrs Ben is a part of things, but I'm aware that I have to stage-manage the process very carefully. Too many wet and cold UK experiences will scupper my plans for good! What I'm trying to achive (Med, equator, south pacific) she will love I'm sure, but it's essential we both know what we are doing.

She is on the verge of agreeing to do the competent crew and day skipper this summer, as it means she won't have to do any more formal qualifications. I'll want to do some more though, like Mr Lofticas. Plus, we're hoping to have some children next year so it's best to get any training for her out of the way now! With the ICC we can then spend the next couple of summers on flotilla/bareboat holidays so the memory of cold and wet will be distant for her...

jimbaerselman
25-04-12, 17:03
Hi Wife of Lofticus!
<snip>
Of course it's vital for me that Mrs Ben is a part of things, but I'm aware that I have to stage-manage the process very carefully.With the ICC we can then spend the next couple of summers on flotilla/bareboat holidays so the memory of cold and wet will be distant for her... The Cruising Association (http://cruising.org.uk/) offers discounts for some charter and flotilla companies that more than repay membership fees . . . and have training programmes and loads of information about all aspects of cruising, preparing the boat etc.

little_roundtop
26-04-12, 07:02
The Cruising Association (http://cruising.org.uk/) offers discounts for some charter and flotilla companies that more than repay membership fees . . . and have training programmes and loads of information about all aspects of cruising, preparing the boat etc.

+1

r_h
26-04-12, 11:44
You need to find out how sea-sick you get. Can you cope with your level of incapacity?

If your wife is to be involved the same ruthless assessment will be needed on her.

If either of you are prone you may need to take up horse-trekking instead.

Best of luck.

Agreed - but don't be too put off if you find you're seasick on your first lumpy passage. As you get more accustomed to the motion of a boat you'll find your resistance to sickness builds. Also as you gain experience you can also learn what you can do to mitigate its effects.