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Beat the Heat

There are six of us sitting in our cockpit, it’s 40C, there’s not a breath of wind; the men drip, the women melt.  This brings up the discussion of how we can beat the heat on our boats at times like this.  Here are some of our favourites:

  1. Number one on the hit parade….take siestas at the hottest time of day; in other words, do nothing.
  2. Make refreshing lemonade.  Dr. John Yim, my Naturopath, recommends drinking 2-3 liters of water per day to regulate body temperature, re-hydrate, and compensate for loss of water through perspiration.  As much as we love to pour icy-cold water into our hot bodies to cool down, cold water creates chaos and actually makes your body work harder to get the liquids to body temperature, thus creating more heat.
  3. Eat light meals several times a day; heavy meals create an overactive digestive system which increases body temperature. Cool salads of greens or vegetables or fruit, smoothies and chilled soups such as tomato-based gazpacho are cooling and refreshing.
  4. Stay out of the sun between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. as it is the time when you’re most likely to get burnt and dehydrated. It’s a good time for passive activities; sleep, reading, computer work, trip planning.   However, if you’re near an air-conditioned mall, go shopping or catch a movie. 
  5. If you have to go some place, don’t hurry; go as early in the day as possible, wear a wide-brimmed hat and carry a bandana to mop your face and neck, take drinking water, use a hand fan.
  6. When in town, walk on the shady side of the street; in the cockpit, put out your sun screens.
  7. Keeping your sun screen creams in the icebox makes for refreshing sun protection.
  8. Keep a water spritzer in the fridge; spray yourself all over; including your feet.
  9. Banish black during the day.  Wear light-coloured, natural clothing that reflects the heat and breathes, like cotton, silk or linen. 
  10. Wearing very fine cotton long-sleeved shirts in the sun is cooling as the air passes between the fabric and your skin rather than just heating and burning bare skin.  Choose loose clothing; boxer-style underwear, skirts instead of shorts, sundresses instead of slacks.
  11. Use cotton sheets on the beds; sleep in fine cotton or silk clothing.
  12. When leaving the boat, stop the sun’s rays from heating up your boat by dropping blinds or closing curtains.
  13. Powder up with very fine talc using a powder puff to pat on evenly.  Sprinkle talc in bras, panties and jockey shorts. Some medicated talcs help with heat rash as well.  The talc absorbs sweat, leaving your body non-sticky and fresh. 
  14. Wash your feet often to remove dirt and sweat; powder to refresh.
  15. Cool your cabin by hanging a light damp cloth under the hatch; the warm air particles are cooled from the moisture in the cloth.
  16. Pack some wet wipes in your backpack to clean hands and face.
  17. Use a deodorant.  Sweating is important to the cooling process as it regulates the body’s temperature.  Antiperspirants block this process.
  18. Save strenuous activities for early morning or, if still light, early evening.
  19. Clean the ice box.
  20. Think snow.

Laurie McDonald wrote a column for a western Canada health-related magazine before leaving on a three year journey by sea aboard Sea Whisper. Her travel adventures are published in Canadian magazines and newspapers.

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