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PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2012 9:35 am 
Site Rank - Old Salt

Joined: Sun Apr 20, 2008 6:18 am
Posts: 2717
Location: Sarasota,Key West FL
I sail all year round in Florida and think I have a pretty nice setup. In the winter here is Sarasota the water gets down to around 65 degrees for a few weeks in January (down in Key West it gets down to around 72-75). Yet if you go out during the day in the sunshine in January it can get into the mid 80's pretty fast. I feel one shorcoming of a dry suit is it has to be button'd up and sealed when you go into the water. You never know in advance if and when your going to go over so basically you have to stay zipped up all the time, it's a sauna in those suits when it's 80 degrees and sunny so I have seen most people leave the front open, or the arms out and the suit rolled down at your sides. If you go in the water with the suit open it's just like the waders story.

To suit our local conditions in the winter I opted for a 3mm shorty wet suit that I can slip on easily on the boat or in the water. I just keep it in a bag on deck if I get cold I put it on. For my feet I have those high top diving boots, they keep my feet nice and warm in all conditions. When I gets a little colder, I also have a pair of 3mm diver bib pants. They slip on easily even if in the water, and over your core (chest area) you have a double thickness (ie 6mm) of neoprene by wearing both suits over each other (ie... layers), bibs are only needed when it's really cold, or your in dire straits in the water. I also winter scuba dive in the same setup in Florida and usually stay warm enough. If I lived in a colder area I could up the thickness of the wet suits accordingly (5mm or 7mm). The point is though If I do get in trouble I can put all the stuff on once I'm in the water because you never plan on anything happening but it still does. I also have one of those duck suits, it's a thin plastic pullover with a hood and full pants that is easy to slip on and folds up nicely into a small dry bag. It breaks the wind and rain (with the wet suits underneath) on a cold rainy day (I've only needed that once, and have only needed the bib pants once to keep warmer). Just having common sense is also important in cold weather, if I don't see any other boaters in the area, I simply don't go out. I always have two cell phones in dry bags (in case one gets wet). I have a whistle in the pocket on each PFD, and also a hand held air horn in the boat. During the summer I will get out sometimes 10 or more miles from launch in the Gulf, I tend to stay closer to shore in the winter, and always make sure ther are other boaters near by.

My next additions are one of those Spot GPS systems, and an FM waterproof hand held radio, as well as a set of flares that I plan to get before going out winter sailing again. Another smart thing would be to go out with others on different boats so if one gets in trouble, the others can help (especially in the winter). A kayaker died of hypothermia a couple years ago off Ft Desoto (near Tampa, FL) because he got separated from his buddy and fell off his kayak (died of hypothermia with his PFD on), that really struck home with us because I was out that day also and when the sudden unexpected storm hit I was all of a sudden in 35 mph winds and 4 ft waves. I could have been that guy, so I'm much more cautious now. I always tell my family when and where I'm going and when to expect me to check in.

Hope this helps

PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2012 2:03 pm 
Site Rank - Admiral

Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2011 3:57 am
Posts: 244
Location: Fairfax, CA USA
mrbrightwork wrote:
I want to avoid the "wet-butt". I have a trip planned for a couple of days of TI sailing in 60 degree water with 65 degree air, so the wet seats will probably get annoying.

Has anyone tried the Kokatat Lightweight GORE-TEX Kayak Semi Drysuit ? Or a "Paddling" suit vs a dry suit? I like the idea of getting their Whirlpool bibs, so if anyone has worn them, did you stay dry?

I use a paddling suit by kokatat. i stay warm and dry all day- even when getting pounded by spray. The only difference is the neck. The paddling suits have a neoprene neck rather than latex.
The conditions you are talking about sound nearly like here-- usually 60 air, and 54ish water temps. polypro underwear, Fleece suit underneath and i am warm and dry all day

PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 8:19 am 
Site Rank - Captain

Joined: Thu Jul 19, 2007 4:23 am
Posts: 38
Location: Belfast, Maine
Hi Mr. Brightwork. Here's another response you might add to your list of options. I got tired of the soggy bottom syndrome so here's what I did. I took a pair of seldom used NRS dry pants and cut the legs off just above the knee. Then I had a friend sew the velcro fasteners that were at the ankles to the area above the knee. Then she cut a horizontal relief zipper and added velcro to keep it shut. the pants have a huge rubber waist which, if desired, can be pulled up to the arm pits. Since the pants are so baggy they remain comfortable for pedeling and the velrro straps at the knee can be brought into play as conditions warrent. I can wear regular shorts under them. It was worth the effort. Now I'm dry as a newly diapered baby.


PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 1:33 pm 
Site Rank - Old Salt

Joined: Sat Nov 05, 2011 1:58 am
Posts: 2716
Location: Forster, NSW, Australia
OK, I have now made at least 40 outings since I maidened my TI back in late May, and the breathable waders have come up trumps. On several occasions while on offshore trips, I have needed to relieve myself, and while it required organised effort (PFD off, jacket off, waders down to knees etc) it was entirely doable (at least with my raised "captain's chair). On my huge local lake there is always a quite "convenient" shore somewhere

Furthermore, I have actually fallen over into deep water while wearing my waders, and swum too, and I am still alive.... My wader belt kept all but a litre or so down each leg, and held 15-20 litres above my waist until I leaned forward to tip it out.

These days I would be pedalling on and off for 2-4 hours per trip, and don't find the waders particularly restrictive, certainly not in current average winter temps of around the mid 60s.

Tony Stott
2012 Tandem Island "SIC EM" with Hobie spinnaker and Hangkai outboard
only cool people follow the (non-magnetic) titanium weight-loss program! lol.)

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