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Old 20-11-2006, 13:44   #1
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Winter Sailing, Boston or NY

So... I looked at a boat in Boston this last weekend, and I am going to look at one in New York next weekend.

If I do buy anything, it will likely be in the next month or so... which makes me wonder if I will get a chance to sail at all this winter. What's the sailing like over winter in these areas... I know alot of people put their boats into storage, so I am assuming it is not all that great. What about moving a boat south... say in January, is this even something to consider, or is the weather just too dangerous?

Ofcourse, a few months of non-sailing will give me a chance to thoroughly clean which ever boat I get up.
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Old 20-11-2006, 13:57   #2
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Hey Mystic,

It kind of depends on your experience sailing, your threshold for pain/cold and the amount of waterproof winter gear you have.

If you can share that info, I could make a suggestion.

PS: Does the boat have cabin heat?
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Old 20-11-2006, 15:37   #3
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winter sailing....

You can check real-time weather buoys along the coast to get an idea of what to expect;

http://www.pdfamily.com/weather/buoy.php
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Old 20-11-2006, 16:11   #4
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Yes, that link Bob posted is EXCELLENT! Basically, this can be done. If you want to move the boat, that can be done any time of year with an eye to the weather. Sailing for fun is done, but often in local racing clubs in dry suits on small racing boats. It's not so fun at all, but you get some serious bragging rights.

Let us know the details.
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Old 20-11-2006, 16:15   #5
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MG,

I'm a little appalled that you ask such a question. It might not be PC for me to say this but... have you ever been to New England in the, uh, winter???
Cabin heat, full cockpit enclosure and daysailing might be the minimum. Ice free harbors are desirable too. If you buy now in NE, then you might be best advised to just wait until spring for that first sail. You'll likely be glad you did. Of course, there is always the exception.....
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Old 20-11-2006, 18:01   #6
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Thanks for the replies... and that link is awesome. I am definately going to search around for some more of those buoy sites.

I also figured this question would give away my inexperience in the NE, and cold weather sailing. I have done some mountainering and backpacking in some pretty rough conditions... and am not afraid of cold air, and rain/snow. Cold water I know is a much, much different story. I have cold weather gear, and am not so afraid of the cold... for me. I am short on experience... and have not spent alot of time in the NE winter, thus my appaulling question.

I am sure it is no fun... I didn't expect it would be. I expect the fun will come after I make my passage south. Right now, neither boat has cabin heat... so that will be something I need to add, and plan too regardless.

So, its possible, just not enjoyable....
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Old 20-11-2006, 18:01   #7
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winter sailing

if you do get a boat, the boat!, you'll have to have insurance to stay at a marina. so if you do you will have to approp. ins. which will cost more your basic May - Oct. the big prob is if you leave it the water is ice if it gtes that cold. you will need bubblers to keep water moving around the hull. anyway good huntingregards mike
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Old 20-11-2006, 19:05   #8
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Alright, Mystic... here's my personal input then, being from NH, having sailed in Maine most of my early life and having wintered aboard last year and am currently living aboard this winter as well:

You probably will not want to do it. Given that you have not had a lot of time out on the water sailing, you don't want to make any mistakes or have to learn much of anything while freezing to that extent. There are things you have to do on a boat that pretty much require you to take your gloves off from time to time. Without cabin heat, you would have a bit of trouble warming up those hands after something like that.

Also, being a new boat, she will likely have a problem or two you'll have to fix along the way. That is also a bad situation in the cold - again the hands.

I have routinely moved my boats in December, in snowstorms, etc... in New England. I used my NorthFace gear (forget that fancy pants sailor suit crap... ha ha ha), foul weather gear is NOTHING compared to proper mountaineering gear. So with that gear I was able to do some day long passages single-handed without any heat. Overnight though?? I would have been in some trouble, since my old boat had no cabin heat. What can really get you is the spray. It will FREEZE to your face, coat, gloves, body, etc...

You could just buy the boat and wait until spring... that might be the best way to go so you don't have to suffer. Also, it will be better if/when you have problems on your way down South.
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Old 20-11-2006, 20:54   #9
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Thanks Sean for your input with this... I am tending to agree with you at this point. I know I have the personal gear to keep me warm in some pretty bad conditions... but I would agree that learning a new-to-me boat, in a new-to-me area, in the cold is the (really) hard way to do it... and the un-necessarily risky thing to do. Being unfamiliar with the true conditions of the north east, I figured it was worth asking.

Ofcourse, un-necessary risks are how Everest got climbed... and how people died doing it.
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Old 21-11-2006, 04:56   #10
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Of course if you are moving the boat and that is the task... and you are flexible with your schedule... you might find some calm days to motor or calm seas and light winds which might not be as challenging. But the cold only makes all the other "problems" so much worse.

Sailing down the sound you have a fail amount of harbors on the north shore, less on the south and don't expect to find available moorings in winter... they service them and they're gone... you'll have to rely on anchoring. Fuel? I wouldn't expect to find too many fuel docks open or even water available on the docks.

I think if you plan short hops and watch the weather and the tides you can move it mostly by motoring without too much madness. If you think you can just pick a day and tough is you may be biting off more than you can chew.

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Old 21-11-2006, 05:13   #11
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I would second everyone's opinion and say don't do it. At least not for fun. If you have to move the boat, that is one thing. Otherwise stay in harbor. My experience is everything changes on the water in the cold (not unlike everything changes at altitude). I've been out on a few days in the upper forties. Everything is fine until something goes wrong. I've never had a problem with my furling jib until one particularly cold day. It's no fun unsticking a jib on a pitching deck while getting sprayed and quickly losing the use of your hands. No problems since. I think plastics and synthetic ropes behave differently when cold.

In addition to moorings out of service there will be fewer other boats out there, so help will be farther away. Even short of a major catastrophe you could find yourself stuck someplace far from an open service center and facing an expensive tow. Also most North East insurance policies specify out of the water or in a slip after Nov 1.

I hope you don't take offense, but this is one of those times where if you have to ask the answer is no. I know I've had my share of those moments.
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Old 21-11-2006, 05:27   #12
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Wow... I keep hearing about insurance restrictions in the north east on this post. I've never seen anything in mine that says I can't go out sailing in January if I was so inclined.
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Old 21-11-2006, 06:55   #13
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Many policies require a winter lay up and no navigation for obvious reasons...
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Old 21-11-2006, 07:28   #14
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Right... understood. Guess I just got lucky. No restrictions other than staying out of hurricane areas in hurricane season.
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Old 21-11-2006, 08:10   #15
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Never thought about insurance being an issue... which would definately be something to think about. Navigating insurance policies seems like no fun... maybe less fun than sailing in the NE during a winter storm.

No offense taken, it was a naive question, but I am glad I asked it... better to ask, than to tell a story later of the stupid thing I did.
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