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 Post subject: Fall / Winter Sailing
PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2013 7:41 pm 
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Joined: Fri May 11, 2012 3:07 pm
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So I was thinking of doing some sailing this fall, despite the cold. I'm in Utah and the temperatures are already dropping quite a bit. I was thinking of picking up a dry suit, but what do for your hands? What other considerations are there to avoid hypothermia?


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 20, 2013 4:50 am 
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Joined: Mon Jun 04, 2012 10:08 am
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Location: Prince Edward Island, Canada
I'm into a shorty wetsuit here right now, but honestly, the water here is still pretty warm. Warm day temps are starting to spread thin though.

Soon, I will have to break out the drysuit that was previously used for sea kayaking. It is ideal. You control your warmth by how much you wear underneath it so it's good for early to late cool season. Most important thing to remember is that on a warmer day, you still need to dress for the water temperature, not the air.

For feet, I strongly suggest that you spend the extra $ to get a wetsuit that has built in socks. Then wear surf shoes or something over that to protect them. Mine does not and I regret it. It stops at the ankles. I have thick neoprene booties from a diving shop that are nice and warm when immersed in the water but once they are wet and exposed to the air, they can still get cold. Wet suits need to be in the water to function as intended.

I've gone through a number of neoprene gloves. Honestly, the thin ones you will see front and center in most outdoor shops are pretty useless. They get cold as soon as they get wet in the slightest breeze. The challenge for you will be balancing something warm with the dexterity to run the sheets but there are good choices if you look around. For kayaking, nothing beats a good set of pogies attached to the paddle to slip your gloved hands into. Of course, they would be useless for sailing. Hmmmm... Actually, perhaps you could attach one or two to the tiller. Probably not convenient on the hiking stick though.

Also, once the water gets extremely cold, remember that even though your core temperature is protected by the drysuit, your limit is still probably much less than that. If your fingers freeze up, you may not be able to right your boat or maybe not even be able to climb back onto it. At this point, you want to sail where people are certain to come assist you, if need be.

That's all I can add from an old kayak hippy. The more experienced sailors will likely have more to add I'm sure.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 20, 2013 6:25 am 
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Joined: Tue May 14, 2013 10:44 am
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Location: SE Michigan
I'm also looking into gear, but more to stretch next year earlier and later. Air/water temps just dropped to the 50's for this weekend, and that's about where we'll draw the line. We started this spring with 65F+ air and 55F+ water, dressed in wind gear and water wicking layers, but the water was miserable (we dumped). Unless we get a really warm weekend soon, we're done for the year.

Most all the guides I've found apply to interscholastic dinghy sailing (APS, Sharon HS) or frostbite sailing (through ice? :o).

Would the same apply to beach cat sailing? We take quite a bit of spray at times, and I tend to get stand in water almost to the waist when we launch, land, or move to/from the trailer.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 20, 2013 8:13 am 
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Location: Delaware Coast
Murph hit the nail on the head for my experiences.

Our drysuits have built in booties. We wear thick smartwool socks on the inside and oversize crocs on the outside. This is perfect for us. If you wear shoes that are too tight, your feet will be colder.

The hands have been tougher to deal with. We dislike every neoprene solution we have tried as well. I think you are behind the 8 ball to begin with due to the drysuit wrist gasket decreasing the blood circulation in the hand. Though I can't really rate it as "good", so far the best solution for us is pictured below. It is also the cheapest. A pair of PVC gloves from the home builder supply store lined with a pair of warm work gloves. Nice-n-easy to put on and take off. The blue glove has a synthetic fleece lining so it still gives some insulation when wet. It probably isn't the safest thing to do, but my last couple cold outings I went gloveless and just pulled my hands inside the drysuit when the became uncomftable.

Image

Even with the drysuits, duofold long johns, fleece drysuit liner...we set a 50 deg air temp limit and don't go out in high wind during the winter. I have never seen the water temp drop below 38 degs here so we only factor that in deciding what to wear under the drysuits. Even at 50 degs, the face and neck can start to get cold - we may purchase something this year for coverage of those areas. The way the weather has been here lately, we might have to break the 50 deg rule if we want to get any water time in. The neck/face coverage would help a lot if we do.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2013 4:09 pm 
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Location: Plum Island, MA
I've been sailing the past two weeks and have really enjoyed myself. Hoping to sail again this coming week. Last week we capsized but the Merrimack was still feeling pretty warm. No wetsuit but 75 degree weather for October isn't bad in New England.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 11:33 am 
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Location: Plum Island, MA
Tomorrow is the first day of my weekend once I get some sleep after working until 6:00 AM. Temperature is supposed to make the upper 60s so there is a good chance I'll make it out. I'm curious as to what temperature you all start wearing wet suits?


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 5:59 pm 
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Location: Plum Island, MA
Last weeks sail in Newburyport, MA (crew and skipper):

Image

Looking out over the bows.

Image

Tomorrow may be our last day of the season.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 14, 2013 7:06 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jul 15, 2005 10:43 am
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Location: St. Louis, MO
When I sailed out of Salem, MA I would wear a wet suit for most of the season. I would start sailing in late April/early May (definitely wore one then) and finish up at the end of October. I would typically not wear a wet suit in July, August and early September. You will have to figure out what combination of air and water temp you are comfortable with. In general, the water close in to shore is pretty cool all year round. Also, the added buoyancy is nice.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 14, 2013 9:31 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jul 02, 2010 6:10 am
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Location: Plum Island, MA
Thanks for the reply, most of my Hobie sailing was done in FL and NJ and in generally warmer waters. So far I've not experienced anything here which made me want a wet suit. That said, my plan to sail today was diminished by tide and time. It looks like the sail will be on Thursday morning as the tide will be right.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 17, 2013 4:17 pm 
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Location: Plum Island, MA
Well add another sunny sailing day in Massachusetts to the list, a fair breeze and sunny skies got me a tad sunburned but was out on the water for about three hours this late morning and afternoon. Not bad for after mid October in New England. Even better was the lack of other boats out on the Merrimack. Fun was had by all. 75 and sunny. Not bad at all.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2013 6:03 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jul 02, 2010 6:10 am
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Location: Plum Island, MA
Well, we made it out on the Hobie for one last sail today. The wind was light but we had some nice tacks and sailed into the harbor a bit only to be able to avoid fighting the river's tidal current so we could make it back to where we launched. We only saw a handful of other boats on the Merrimack. Two were actually nice enough to totally stop so that we could cross in front of them without having to deal with their wakes. It was a great afternoon for being 10 days before Halloween in New England on the water.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 11:05 am 
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Joined: Tue Jul 19, 2005 6:29 pm
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Location: High Point, NC
ZHIK superwarm skiff suit and top. This is the future.

After trying it, I won't be wearing any more dry/wet suit things any longer.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 11:25 am 
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Location: Indianapolis, IN
Check out this drysuit

Ocean Rodeo Soul
Image

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2013 4:25 am 
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Joined: Fri Jul 02, 2010 6:10 am
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Location: Plum Island, MA
Looks pretty nice for near a grand. What do traditional dry suits run?

Here I am in a work dry suit. I'm the one on the left end. ;)

Image


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 27, 2013 8:38 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2005 10:13 am
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Location: Nepean S.C. Ottawa, Canada
Long ago, someone on this Forum told me about the Rule of 120,
that is when the combination of air temp and water temp
is LESS than 120 degrees Fahr., then you should be wearing a wetsuit
(or dry suit).

Amazed that you can sail in NE in Oct....

Sailed a Wave today in Cancun... here for a week,
then back to Canada, and making plans for ice sailing.

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