Hobie Forums

Winter Sailing
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Author:  Tom Ray [ Mon Oct 27, 2008 3:47 am ]
Post subject:  Winter Sailing

We got out for a nice afternoon sail yesterday. With N winds around 15-20, we stayed close to the northern shore of the harbor. At one point I wanted to take a power reach across a little bay. With a little depth and a little fetch, we were quickly in a little chop. Brrrr! The water temp has fallen below 80! For Florida folks, that means it's winter.

We headed back into protected waters without crossing the bay before we got too wet.

I have plenty of creeks and rivers for winter sailing, where the water will always be calm and I can always stay dry. But we have some really nice days for harbor sailing, if I can just survive being splashed.

Some of you have the Hobie dodger on your Islands, and I've considered that solution. How dry does it really keep you when you're crashing through waves? If I go out to sail in the harbor, it will be because there is a lot of wind, and I'll want to get out into the clean air, like I wanted to yesterday. I will be crashing through waves.

How about a wetsuit instead of the dodger?

What do you cold water people do to stay dry?

Author:  Chekika [ Mon Oct 27, 2008 4:29 am ]
Post subject: 

Hi Tom,

My friend, Dave Whitford, says the dodger keeps you fairly dry, but not completely. I have a dodger but have not used it yet. One thing I'm bothered by is that its going to restrict things you can do. I may try it this year.

Here is a picture of serious cold water paddling. My group in Glacier Bay National Park--about 100 mi NW of Juneau, AK. Frankly, if it were "real cold" here (i.e., 40-55 deg sustained for a couple days) I would wear something like that. But I don't think we are going to see that any time soon.

Here is a picture of me Feb, 2007, arriving in Chokoloskee. It was not particularly cold, but it is my "cold" paddling gear.
In this picture, I'm wearing dive booties (I wear these all the time--hot or cold), breathable, lightweight Kokotat paddling pants, a breathable, waterproof hooded jacket w/ fleece lining. It must have been a bit cool because I am wearing my PFD. If it were warmer, I would stash the PFD under the front bungees. Here in SFL, I usually can get by wearing lite nylon sun-protection gloves. I don't like to wear neoprene gloves because the water wicks the heat from your hands, then the wind cools them by evaporating the water away. If cold (below 55 deg), and I needed gloves to keep my hands warm, I would use some rubber-coated gloves with a fleece lining--then I would be careful not to get them wet inside.

That is what I do here in "cold" SFL.


Author:  ts14064 [ Mon Oct 27, 2008 3:15 pm ]
Post subject: 

I got a little nippy here in Kansas last weekend with a full wet suit on. This weekend even though the wind was to be fairly light (5-15), I decided to not only wear the wetsuit, but a semi dry suit over it. I figured if after I sailed for a while and didn't need it, I could strip the outer layer off. Let's face it- no spash gaurd is going to help when it starts getting chilly on this boat- it's a wet ride. Man was I glad I had them both on. The wind immediately picked up with nairly gusts. I don't know what they were gusting at but it's the first time I've ever seen my whole aka be forced clear under water by the wind blasts! It's the first time I even considered that I could actually flip this boat. No problem that a little reafing and my nice warm clothing couldn't turn into a wild fun time. Talk aboat a wet ride! The spray from plowing through the waves at times made it impossible to even see! What fun! I can't say enough good things about this boat. It's shear simplicity and performance in all weather is just remarkable. The one 26 foot mono hull out that day even came in before I did! Then 15 minites to pack up and leave? No wonder I don't sail my Nacra any more (though it still looks magnificant in my yard)!

Author:  ElementAI [ Mon Oct 27, 2008 3:58 pm ]
Post subject: 

I have been waiting for someone to post about this and I hope the Thread gets alot of replies as it is interesting how everyone will handle the winter with their AI's.
I was wondering if anyone has any experience with the sealskinz gloves?

Author:  ts14064 [ Mon Oct 27, 2008 4:09 pm ]
Post subject: 

I have experience with both the sealskin gloves and socks. Forget about them, go with neophrene instead. I've kayaked even when there is heavey ice on the water, and sealskin products just don't cut it. They always tend to get wet on the inside somehow, then it immediately feels like you have nothing on at all. When it really gets tough, put on a light neophrene underlayer with a water and windproof insulated outer. Even if some water seeps into the gloves, the neophrene will act like an insulater, especially when wet.

Author:  area61 [ Mon Oct 27, 2008 4:27 pm ]
Post subject:  DODGING the elements...

Cape Cod and the Bay of Lewis has become seasonally BRISK...YIKES!
To better extend my sailing opportunities and to minimize the effects of continuous salt spray and extreme wind chill, I've decided to fight back!
Polar fleeece under a dry suit is almost cheating but drastic times demand drastic measures...
The benefits of WARM/DRY feet should never be taken for granted...
I keep my head covered and dry...Wrap aound glasses and a long visor helps keep spray out of my eyes
Neopreme gloves are part of the drill...
A hooded jacket (anorak) will soon provide addition protection...
I can live with PHROZEN PHACE!

Several weeks ago I surrendered to creaturecomfortitis and the DODGER option...
Hardly clostrophobic, but it does require some psychological and physical adjustment...
The learning curve is user friendly...
Entry/exit is slightly challenging, a minor issue considering the benefits!
I use the tip of my right foot to assist with releasing the sail lines from the jam cleats (or what ever those nifty devices are called)...
The DODGER ride is MUCH DRIER but spray is inevitable and the taste of cold salt water is habit forming and well worth an extended sailing season...


Author:  Chekika [ Mon Oct 27, 2008 6:24 pm ]
Post subject: 

I've used sealskinz gloves--they have the same drawback that neoprene gloves have as mentioned above. Can't recommend them.

Sealskinz socks are totally different. They have an inner breathable membrane which keeps water out. They are durable, and they work. My wife and I used them on our 4 trips in AK. These AK trips were 11-12 days each and unsupported--we were paddling on cold water (37-39 deg) and standing in cold water every day. We had no way to dry things except to sleep in or on them. We used Sealskinz socks inside Chota Mukluks (knee-high boots). The combination was unbeatible. During my 70 mi AI sailing trip last Feb, I took my Sealskinz socks. I think I used them once or twice under my dive booties.


Author:  Tom Ray [ Tue Oct 28, 2008 5:17 am ]
Post subject: 

I hadn't even considered the possibility of actually staying dry. A drysuit would be pretty ridiculous for the conditions here, where air temps are likely to be pretty warm if I'm going out, and the water might be as cold as 50, but is usually warmer.

We get a steep chop on the harbor, and the AI goes right through it. Even with plugs open, I'm pretty much constantly sitting in a puddle. Any dry external layer wouldn't stay dry for long.

I was looking at the Hobie wetsuits in the catalogue yesterday. It's nice to work at a Hobie dealership. ;) I already have some nice booties. If I get the long Hobie suit, will I be too hot (almost impossible for me)? Too cold?

I'm 6' and 165 lbs. Too tall for one size, too light for the next one up.

Christmas is coming (and is my birthday to boot). Think I should ask Santa for one of those next time I'm at the mall? And which size? Or will he know? ;)

Author:  ts14064 [ Tue Oct 28, 2008 7:30 am ]
Post subject: 

Definitely do not get a 1 piece wetsuit. Go for a medium weight farmer john style wet suit, with a long sleeved top. That will allow you to do 2 things. First, you can take the jacket off if you get too hot. Second, you can add a semi or dry 1 piece suit over it without baking to death, when it is nessessary. But please remember 1 thing. It's not the air temp that will get you, it's the water temp. If possible, always dress for the water temp to stay safe. Hypothermia can happen very quickly in cold water, if the un-thinkable happens and you go for a swim. The fit of your wet suit needs to be snug and not too loose if possible. If it's loose it won't trap the water between your skin and the suit- that's what makes neophrene keep you warm. If you do get a suit that is a little to large, like most of us you will probably "grow" into it. In teh meantime you can purchase a silk style body suit to wear under the wetsuit to fill it out.

Author:  Tom Ray [ Tue Oct 28, 2008 11:21 am ]
Post subject: 

Thanks for the advice, ts!

Author:  Polecat [ Tue Oct 28, 2008 12:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Winter Wear in Punta Gorda???

Hey Tom,

:D I'm from Venice 25 miles north of you. Frogg Toggs are perfect for our winters. They're not sexy, but they're cheap, breathe well, keep you dry, protect you from the wind, are light weight, and a lot easier getting in/out of than a wetsuit--which can get too hot. Any fishing/hunting store should have them.

P.S.- If you have a mailing list put me on it. My Sarasota dealer doesn't participate in these forums and doesn't really know/or care what's going on like you do. So I want to deal with someone like you. I have an 07 AI with all the updates, but 'm always looking for the next-best-thing for multi-day fishing/camping trips. I'm headed down to Goodland (just south of Marco Island) in mid-Nov four our first trip of the season. I'll try to get down to see you before then.

Author:  donjoe [ Tue Oct 28, 2008 1:22 pm ]
Post subject: 

Ahh, cold weather wear....tricky subject. Perception of winter sailing will be much different from those of us living in the north compared to those sailing in Florida. In my opinion, dressing for cold weather kayaking is different than for cold weather sailing. The one common denominator is that you must be able to survive in the water conditions if you happen to go for a swim. Ideally in this region, I would prefer to wear a dry suit in winter weather but finances dictate different apparel. The following is what I currently wear in NH until ice in:

base layer: I wear a thin poly long underwear top and bottom to wick away sweat away from my skin. I have thin poly gloves/socks to achieve the same on my extremities.

insulating layer: I wear a full 5mm wetsuit over the poly. With neoprene, I seem to get cold because of the inevitable sweat from the wetsuit. I try to control this by only pedaling when absolutely necessary. Once the water gets into the 40's, I add my shorty wetsuit into the mix to add core insulation in case of a swim.

gloves: Thin poly layer, neoprene and a goretex shell to help keep wind and water away.

Feet: poly, super thin neoprene sock and then a thicker neoprene boot. Of all I wear, this part of the system needs some tweaking. I stay away from boots in case of the dreaded swim.

outer layer: I wear my goretex bibs that I use for ice climbing and a goretex shell. I avoid goretex layers with built in insulation. This layer is just to keep wind a water out while maintaining some breathability.

Head: I do not like wetsuit hoods so I wear a balaclava and my jacket hood.

I think wearing the lifejacket with all of this on is important! The neoprene floats but keeping you head high in the cold is extremely important. The energy to do this decreases quickly and aspirating a mouthfull of water is all bad. Having a good plan and leaving it with others is just as important as clothing this time of year. I try to keep a couple methods of communication with me while out as Im usually the only nutcase on the water this time of year.

The following is a great link to some cold water survival videos by Dr. Gordon Giesbrecht. His videos give valuable insight to those recreating or working around cold water, scroll down to the discovery channel vidoeos:
http://www.umanitoba.ca/faculties/physe ... echt.shtml

For those sailing in winter in warmer climates, regulate this to fit your needs. A full wetsuit and shell could cause you to over heat. A wet suit may be suitable for this as the convection caused by wind will allow your body to cool somewhat.

The above posts have given me some great ideas, thanks to all.
Happy sailing......

Author:  Yakaholic [ Tue Oct 28, 2008 1:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Winter Wear in Punta Gorda???

Polecat wrote:
Hey Tom,

:D I'm from Venice 25 miles north of you. Frogg Toggs are perfect for our winters. They're not sexy, but they're cheap, breathe well, keep you dry, protect you from the wind, are light weight, and a lot easier getting in/out of than a wetsuit--which can get too hot. Any fishing/hunting store should have them.you do.

Yup, love my Frogg Toggs. Get the 'Pro' version they are a little heavier version. Get the one with plastic zippers and not metal snaps (salt water might rust the snaps). They are designed a bit bulky as you put on warm clothing under them. The velcro, ties & straps help keep water out of wrists and ankle areas. Even come with a hood tucked into the collar.

I got the optic yellow and look like a giant tennis ball :lol: but stay toasty warm and dry. Gander Mtn. carries them. Mine is 2 piece, so one could just wear the top 'jacket' part. They make a 'famer john' version - but I prefer the sepearte pants-jacket.

Author:  Chekika [ Tue Oct 28, 2008 1:53 pm ]
Post subject: 

While we are on the topic of safety, I can highly recommend the SPOT satellite tracker. It is sold by REI and other places. It works as advertized, and, if you should have some major problem while on the water or camping in some wilderness, it will get help to you as quick as possible. It has a built-in GPS and, when it signals for help, it transmits your location.


Author:  donjoe [ Tue Oct 28, 2008 3:36 pm ]
Post subject: 

I tried not to vear off to the safety topic but they kind of go hand in hand. The SPOT's are great, Ive thought of getting one.

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