Getting Your Health Onboard

Sailing non stop across the ocean for six weeks is no easy task. Consider all the preparations that have to be made; the integrity of the yacht, meeting race specifications, spare parts, food, water, clothing for the various weather conditions to name just a few.

And what about the crew to run the boats? The Melbourne to Osaka race being a two-handed, non-stop marathon, those two pairs of hands are heavily relied upon to achieve successful completion of the race. So starting psychologically and physically fit for the journey and having the capacity to work long hours around the clock with only one other person for company, is integral to staying healthy throughout the race. And you need to add to this, the capacity to manage a range of medical illnesses or injuries which may arise at sea.

ORCV member, Dr. Rosie Colahan is the ORCV’s Medical Advisor and will be Race Medical Officer for the third time for the Sundance Marine Melbourne Osaka Cup in 2018. Rosie completed the Melbourne to Osaka race herself in 2007 alongside her pharmacist husband David James and recommends the following ‘early warning’ advice to all competitors –

‘Make sure you have a GP check up at least six weeks prior to the race, a review of chronic medical conditions and emergency medication, a travel consultation for possible immunizations, a dental checkup and stocking up on regular medication, personal seasickness remedies and sunscreen.’

 Back on the boat, as every possible thing that could go wrong has to be accounted for, so does everything that is required to fix that problem. It’s no different on the topic of health and medicine. So equipment required onboard includes medical manuals, medical kits, dental kit and suturing kits. Medications for medical kits are controlled by legislative regulations that must be met in regards to access, storage, administration and disposal of the drugs in the medical kit and can differ from state to state and from country to country.

Like all other preparations for the event, training is vital. Knowing how to assess a casualty and how to utilize the contents of your Medical Kit effectively is essential for staying in the race. To ensure all competitors are confident in managing medical incidents on board, Dr. Rosie will provide a hands-on seminar for Osaka competitors at Sandringham Yacht Club on 28 February 2018 with ‘Sewing and Suturing’ training, management of simple dislocations and fractures and tips for managing wounds and illness.

The forthcoming amendment to the Notice of Race will contain a tailored Cat 1 Plus Medical Kit and Equipment list which lists all medical equipment that competitors will need to carry as well as links to the regulatory requirements for carrying and administering prescription drugs and a copy of the ORCV Medical Incident form.

If you have any queries with regards to health issues or medical kits, contact Rosie Colahan.


-Zoe Horn