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Old 27-01-2018, 19:03   #1
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Cold Weather Sailing

So who's getting out there?

What d you like about it? What special preparations?



For me, it is the wildlife and the quiet. As for clothes, Just dress like you are going to be outside for a while, with layers top and bottom. Ski goggles replace sunglasses.

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Old 27-01-2018, 19:12   #2
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Re: Cold Weather Sailing

Just day before yesterday I had to wear my fleece lined pants because it was a chilly 60 degrees.
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Old 27-01-2018, 21:09   #3
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Re: Cold Weather Sailing

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Old 27-01-2018, 21:12   #4
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Re: Cold Weather Sailing

Oops. Still new to the CF app. That's from this morning on SF Bay. A bit chilly and in the 40s. Warmed up nicely though hen it's warm, there's no wind; we rather prefer cold and breezy.
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Old 27-01-2018, 22:04   #5
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Re: Cold Weather Sailing

Hmmm, it sounds like normal summer sailing
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Old 27-01-2018, 22:58   #6
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Re: Cold Weather Sailing

Ive been out four or five times so far this year. There have been some really nice days with temps near 40 and constant 15 knots. I stashed an extra set of long underwear on board so that I wont have any excuses. But its been an unusually mild winter - last year at this time the boats were frozen solid in the ice!

My boat has essentially zero insulation, so winter weekenders can be a bit brutal. (Too chicken to sleep with the gas heater on.) Since the last one, Ive lined the sides of the V-berth with 2 thick foam. Makes a cozy nest, but heat still pours out through the deck. Ive also found that the decks can be clear one minute, icy the next. You cant trust the footing, just because it was good five minutes ago. Good reason to practice rigging those jacklines and tethers. And using them.
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Old 27-01-2018, 23:22   #7
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Re: Cold Weather Sailing

Quote:
Originally Posted by toddster8 View Post
I’ve been out four or five times so far this year. There have been some really nice days with temps near 40 and constant 15 knots. I stashed an extra set of long underwear on board so that I won’t have any excuses. But it’s been an unusually mild winter - last year at this time the boats were frozen solid in the ice!

My boat has essentially zero insulation, so winter weekenders can be a bit brutal. (Too chicken to sleep with the gas heater on.) Since the last one, I’ve lined the sides of the V-berth with 2” thick foam. Makes a cozy nest, but heat still pours out through the deck. I’ve also found that the decks can be clear one minute, icy the next. You can’t trust the footing, just because it was good five minutes ago. Good reason to practice rigging those jacklines and tethers. And using them.
I would suggest going to REI and getting a nice sleeping bag rated for the temps you have in mind. Out of the wind, sleeping down to nearly zero is not much of a problem. Getting up in the morning is.

Don't get a full mummy bag; they are weight efficient but confining to sleep in. Pick something a little roomier.

I'm not big on winter overnights, mostly because the nights are too long.
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Old 28-01-2018, 07:52   #8
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Re: Cold Weather Sailing

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Originally Posted by Mike OReilly View Post
Hmmm, it sounds like normal summer sailing
Right on! So in the summer time, when it's really cold, we bundle up in fleece and foulies. I've even wear a balacava for night shifts offshore. When I first moved to NorCal where avg water temps are 50 F I did a kayaking class where we had to roll out of our boats and get back in. Being from Florida, all I used to wear was cotton. At least I got schooled about what to expect. It's really all about proper clothing though waking up in freezing temps is hard to do. My boat is often in the low 40s in the morning, but now I reach over to grab the remote for the heater before getting up
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Old 28-01-2018, 08:33   #9
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Re: Cold Weather Sailing

June 21 I think
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Old 28-01-2018, 09:23   #10
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Re: Cold Weather Sailing

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June 21 I think
Exactly
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Old 28-01-2018, 12:36   #11
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Re: Cold Weather Sailing

We live aboard fulltime and typically hang around in the 'south' for the winter... Of course, south is relative. For us the southerly latitudes are 56-57N in SE Alaska. [Referred to as 'the tropics' by those living further north...]

We have fewer opportunities to transit between locations in winter because of weather. We try to avoid gales as well as freezing spray conditions whenever possible. [There is nothing like a few inches of ice shedding from the upper portion of the rigging- especially in strong winds...]

There is rarely any sea ice here- except what sheds from tidewater glaciers. [Small ice bergs compared to those nearer the poles...] After extreme tides and/or storms, there is often more debris [e.g., ice and logs] in the water to dodge as they are floated over the normally shallow glacial moraines, or washed off the beaches during extreme high tides or storm surge. This- along with many other factors- limits our transit periods to daylight hours...


Cruising in July...

What follows is likely more than you asked for; an overview of our year-around lifestyle, preparations, precautions, and approaches to sailing/boating [actually living aboard] full time in cooler climates.

Wind is better here in winter, but big wind requires going offshore [to have room to maneuver] but then the seas are also big, so that doesn't happen very often- in winter. Winter temperatures are somewhat moderate here [rarely below zero F; Climate overview.] The water temps [being adjascent to the Pacific Ocean] fluxuate between 40s and low 50s F depending upon season and proximity to glaciers- where it can quickly drop into the 30s F...

Redundant heating [and battery charging] sources on the boat are wise, borderline necessary. Likewise with clothing and critical gear.

The engine room houses the diesel heater, so the engine and generator are rarely cold.

Lines are pre-treated each fall with waterproofing, but if any freeze, they are doused with saltwater.

We wear our Kokotat drysuits [with one piece 300 wt polar fleece underlayer...] when spending lots of time outdoors whether kayaking or sailing. [We have a pilothouse with a 2nd helm station, so motoring can be accomplished out of the weather.]

Excellent gripping [and comfortable and warm] footwear is required- especially in case of ice on deck. We find the Dubarry Ultima Sailing Boot the best for these conditions. For non-boots, I like the lowcut Keen Brixon slip-ons. They provides excellent traction on ice and snow, and are warm and comfortable. [Both have non-marking soles, and neither sole has a tendency to hold rocks and gravel if worn on shore...] We have other footware for specific uses as well.

We always wear our PFDs [on deck and in the dinghy and kayak.] Each PFD includes an MOB beacon [AIS], PLB, VHF DSC radio, diver's flashlight, aerial flairs, laser signal, SCUBA sausage, etc.

We are teathered to the boat full time when on deck in winter. Likewise anytime we are sailing.

We have 3, progressively larger ditch bags: 1 typical offshore liferaft ditch bag; 2 more for nearshore survival on land situations. [Our most likely need in our current cruising grounds.]

The 1st is the usual offshore liferaft ditchbag; spare EPIRB, signaling devices, sat phone case, liferaft repair kit, VHF radio, etc., etc.

The 2nd and 3rd are for near shore abandon ship scenarios [e.g., Perhaps we can use the dinghy vs. liferaft and need to survive on a nearby island for a period of time.]

The 2nd ditch bag contains a 2-person, 4-season tent, a 2-person Hennessey Hammock [hanging tent that can be pitched off the ground between trees or rocks (we carry a small selection of rock wedges...) in case there are no level areas to pitch a tent], 4 season sleeping bags, rations [MREs], cook stove, water filtration system, coffee, bearspray, etc. Everything we would need to camp [comfortably] on land for a 2+ week period.

The 3rd contains a routine and a large 1st aid kit [e.g., an augmented Marine 3000], spare winter clothing, more rations, a 3 person, 4-season spare tent [Mountain Hdwre Trango 3] , spare firearm, additional bear proof food storage sacks, and other winter survival equipment.

In case anyone is interested, here is a blog post further detailing our 1st Aid and ditch bag strategies.

Fuel and supplies are available year around as the harbors cater to the commercial fishing fleet. Therefore, all docks have bull rails and are often either coated with ice, or that special non-grip coating left by the flocks of immature gulls that frequent the lesser used portions of the docks, or a combination of both...

In my experience wintering full time between 55 and 62 north off-and-on the last 30+ years I can say- assuming an adequate, well outfitted vessel, and the right equipment- we are only limited by ourselves...

In hopes some of this may be useful.

Be safe, warm, and well everyone!

Cheers! Bill

PS: Winter docking can be tricky...
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Old 28-01-2018, 13:06   #12
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Re: Cold Weather Sailing

Bill/wrwakefield is way more experienced sailing Alaska winter waters than I. Save his post and dog-ear it for future reference

Based on my experience on land in a much colder climate, though--I second ALL his recommendations.

We have much lower quality immersion suits, though we'd prefer properly fitted dry suits in the future. Husband has a decent Mustang Commander, and I have an old roomy derelict (side effect of perpetually struggling with my weight, I must size on the upper end in case I eat too much of my cooking and slack off on the hiking). Generally, we consider them more like rabbits' feet than of practical use. We go in the water further than a mile away from shore, we assume ourselves dead. Until we get properly-fitted dry suits, of course.

Our upcoming trip is planned around our dog, but also around our desire to avoid sailing in the dark. I plotted a bunch of anchorages no more than eight hours of sailing apart (most much closer, one or two a little farther from necessity.) Sail during the warm part of the day. We use ski goggles and fleece balaclavas, tons of layering under decent waterproof gear, and keep at least a dozen pairs of wool socks apiece so we always have warm and dry feet for bed.
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Old 28-01-2018, 18:41   #13
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Re: Cold Weather Sailing

That's a great post, Bill. Very nicely detailed including the rationale for the choices you make. If only I could get used to cold and ice because it would be amazing to sail in these extreme latitudes.
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Old 30-01-2018, 21:14   #14
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Re: Cold Weather Sailing

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That's a great post, Bill. Very nicely detailed including the rationale for the choices you make. If only I could get used to cold and ice because it would be amazing to sail in these extreme latitudes.
Thank you, Gamayun.

There is little cold if you have heat and adequate layers...

If you can sail SF Bay in July you can handle anything up here...

Cheers! Bill
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Old 30-01-2018, 21:19   #15
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Re: Cold Weather Sailing

You give me too much credit Meanderthal...

Some might say the climate must have affected my judgement after all these years...

Wishing you an excellent and safe [and warm...] adventure.

Cheers! Bill
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