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The effects of fatigue on vigilance in sailing Thomas, David William


The Effects of Fatigue on Vigilance in Sailing. Twelve male subjects were tested to determine if increasing amounts of physical fatigue are related to the attention paid to sail trim during sailing. A sailing simulator was used to determine if fatigue, either mental or physical, caused vigilance to vary while the subject was sitting on the side deck, hiking or hiking with weight. Each subject responded to 45 windshifts by adjusting the main sheet to provide proper sail trim for three separate sessions, each one being fifteen minutes long. Telltale deflection was videotaped to provide a vigilance score with deflection time starting when the telltales lifted and ending when adjustment of the sail stopped. Five fitness tests, number of sit-ups in one minute, percent body fat, isometric strength in the hiking position, isometric endurance in the hiking position and maximum oxygen uptake were administered on a separate day to determine if fitness scores were related to vigilance capacity. It was found that neither mental nor physical fatigue caused a decrease in vigilance over the fifteen minute test session. There was a learning effect associated with the apparatus as mean vigilance score for each successive sailing simulator session decreased regardless of the treatment used. Only one of the physical fitness tests was related to vigilance capacity as maximum oxygen uptake values were inversely correlated with mean vigilance scores. Subjects with high aerobic capacity were faster at responding to windshifts, thus supporting the use of a large aerobic component in dry land fitness programs.

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