How cold is too cold?

All things Wind & Winter. SnowSailing, IceBoating, Snowkiting, Siteskiing.
justinwhite
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How cold is too cold?

Postby justinwhite » Wed Aug 25, 2010 2:20 pm

When do you pack up your gear and get out of the water until spring? What are the coldest conditions you've ever sailed in?

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JayTurcot
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Re: How cold is too cold?

Postby JayTurcot » Wed Aug 25, 2010 6:52 pm

7-8oC is usually my lower limit while I was here in Vancouver.
Part if this is due to the fact that I don't have a super thick suit / hood / mitts, but really the main motivation is that ski season starts.

I'm not sure what the water-temp is for those days, but it's definitely a big big factor when making the final decision.

Also curious to see what people cold-weather ride in. Moving to Boston in 4 weeks (for 2 years of windsurfing the east coast) so Jay Peak / Cape Cod & Hatteras here I come!!! Soooo pumped!

Wetsuit: 5/3 NP 3000 semi-dry
Booties: 3mm Oniel (if I absolutely must, but I'll usually tough it out barefoot)
Hat: Promotion neoprene toque, (or wool toque in the past)
Gloves/Mitts: none


One thing's for sure.. it's not this cold (not me):
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kh7nQ7C8dwI[/youtube]
Jay Turcot
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FISH
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Re: How cold is too cold?

Postby FISH » Wed Aug 25, 2010 8:15 pm

It only gets windier into the winter, so there are lots of people here there and everywhere partaking in the cold winds too.

I usually make it roughly until mid to late November, and then the fun starts to decline, for me. My warmest is a decent 5/4 steamer, with a polypro layer under + mits, booties and hood, all which works OK until the water+air temps start getting lower than 15C. Er well, that's my older threshold, but now that I am getting older, that threshold is probably more like 20C.

If you wanna push the seasons, there are a couple things to remember. Dress warm, sail with a buddy (but don't expect a rescue). A drysuit quickly becomes a must.
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riNR
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Re: How cold is too cold?

Postby riNR » Wed Aug 25, 2010 8:50 pm

As soon as I can't sail in anything but board shorts then I'm done. :wink:

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fathom
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Re: How cold is too cold?

Postby fathom » Thu Aug 26, 2010 7:56 am

Haha, rINR is funny. I've sailed with with him flurries and all before (there's a pic somewhere in the forum section).
The fun goes down but if the water is warm it's still better than spring when the water is icy cold and the air is warm (and doming).
First week of December last year for me with flurries and water freezing over the next day.
Hopefully the slopes open earlier this year so I can snowboard instead of windsurf!

Epop
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Re: How cold is too cold?

Postby Epop » Thu Aug 26, 2010 9:43 am

Now there is one thing that you should keep in mind, none of the guys that replied to your question are beginners and second and most important, they don't sail alone in cold weather and you should never ever consider doing that either, especially as a beginner, try to find some windsurfers around your sailing spots and check with them before venture out in cold waters.
Have fun

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JayTurcot
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Re: How cold is too cold?

Postby JayTurcot » Fri Aug 27, 2010 1:41 pm

What Epop said is very very true and a big oversight on our parts as it normally goes without saying I think:

When going in the winter-time, don't go alone.
If you're feeling cold, you should stop. After the initial shock of "holy crap that's cold water", the exertion should keep you warm and if it doesn't, you need more neoprene IMO.
Make sure the critical components of your gear is in good repair.

The cold has a way of catching up with you very fast and in stronger winds, that extra bit of fatigue can make things go downhill fast.

On my first spring day last season (with friends in Vancouver), I was coming around for a gybe, flipped the rig and tried to grab the boom and my hand literally wouldn't open. I stood on the board for a while just looking at it trying to will my hand to open and it wouldn't. Clawed my hooked fingers back onto the boom, tacked and called it a day right there. Lucky for me, this happened by 50ft from shore, and I say lucky because it could have just as easily happened on my gybe on the outside in larger chop, and with a much longer reach to get back in.

Any dry-suiters out there?
Jay Turcot
"It's a crazy addiction we have isn't it?"

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drewb70
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Re: How cold is too cold?

Postby drewb70 » Fri Aug 27, 2010 4:18 pm

I am in now way as experienced as some others on this forum, safetly is the major concern when windsurfing in the cold. I have heard stories of ripped dry suits in December.. Or busted Masts too far out.

I say stay on the smaller lakes, or stay close to shore. Have a buddy sail with you. Sail with a cell phone.(in a dry bag) Always check your equipment prior to heading out.

With all that said Last Sail in late November last year, First Sail In Early April.

underpants
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Re: How cold is too cold?

Postby underpants » Mon Aug 30, 2010 5:33 pm

justinwhite wrote:When do you pack up your gear and get out of the water until spring? What are the coldest conditions you've ever sailed in?
I have sailed all winter long for a couple of seasons at my home launch of Hamilton Harbour (CCIW).

I find that as long as the air temp stays above zero, and you are prepared, you can have a great session.

Here are a few tips that I have had passed on to me from various guys and websites:

Spend the $$ on good quality cold weather gear.

I swear by Dakine cold water mitts (got mine from Silent Sports). The mitt is made of neoprene and has a thin palm made of some tough material. This will reduce forearm fatigue and keep your hands warm. Also, buy a reduced diameter boom. This will reduce forearm fatigue as well.

Buy a good quality drysuit. If you have a neoprene drysuit, wear your short underneather for extra warmth. If you have a bag style suit, layer multiple layers of polypropylene underwear and fleece. This will wick away moisture (sweat) from your core.

Pick a safe spot to sail. When it's really cold I don't go to Erie. Nothing will sap your energy faster than getting Maytaged in cold water. I sail onshore wind at the Canada Center for Inland Waters. Anything breaks down and wash up on Eastport Drive and walk back.

The hot water trick (thanks Bernie). Pack a large cooler with 3/4 plastic containers of hot water. Once you are at your sailing site, empty them in your cooler and put your mitts and booties in to warm them up. Repeat as necessary.

That's all I can think of for now.

There's some excellent sailing to be had in the winter if you are prepared.

I hope this helps.
Pray 4 Wind.


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