What clothing does everyone recommend for Winter sailing?
When I was younger and probably more active, I'd wear a 5mm wetsuit, backed up by a dry cag if it was cold. Now I'm older and more sensible, I wear a dry suit in a dinghy, or when on rescue duty; or waterproof trousers and an offshore jacket when just driving the powerboats.
Hat and gloves in either case. Footwear is wet boots over the dry suit socks, or short wellies. I have waders, but they get used only (in boating terms) for launching and recovery.
How about winter sailing in the Caribbean with average air temp around 21° offshore... recommended dress = shorts and t-shirt with fleece and waterproofs if the wind chill gets to you.
Back in the UK where summer and winter seem increasingly blurred colder weather leads me to favour
1:Dry trousers (rather than full dry suit) with fleece trews and thick socks under them.
2:Thermal top plus one two or three thin fleeces under a waterproof top.
Personally I find a full dry suit claustrophobic to put on and take off and, once on, it's more difficult to control your temperature. With a 'normal' waterproof top it seems easier to add or remove a layer beneath it. Dry trousers cover the zone most likely to get wet when launching and recovering or from water coming over the side while sitting out on side decks. I just wear wetsuit boots over them for extra warmth, grip and protection. Wellies seem pointless with a dry suit.
But I no longer do things that have any significant risk of a complete dunking and have spare clothes in case it does happen.
Hats, gloves, things to stop water going down your neck, etc. to be added as taste and circumstances dictate.
To be honest in the middle of winter I'm more likely to be reading about sailing, working on a build or doing boat maintenance rather than braving the elements and actually going sailing (unless of course someone offers that chance to crew a yacht in the Caribbean.)
On 3 Aug 2016, at 13:16, Paul (admin) [via UK HBBR Forum] <[hidden email]> wrote:
What clothing does everyone recommend for Winter sailing?
I'm heading towards a dry-suit, and possibly waterproof waders and a good "non-breathing, really keeps the water out for 8 hours" jacket for less demanding weather.
Trident.co.uk have good dry-suits, their own UK made brand plus other brands. A comfort zip is high on the priority list.
No answer is perfect... but two obvious approaches, both well exemplified by PeakUK's offerings:
Start with leggings such as Storm Pants or Explorer Salopettes: chest high, with sewn in socks, and a seal around the waist.
Add a sea kayaker's jacket such as the Adventure Single... twin waist seal to link into the legwear... latex wrist seals... a zip opening neck over a neoprene seal... and a big hood.
Combining those is fine for most environments... especially if the layers underneath are Merino Wool or Stretch Fleece (passable when wet).
Option two is a one-piece sea kayakers suit... which basically just eliminates the potentially vulnerable waist seal.
PeakUK's Explorer suit goes on over the head like a cagoul and zips up around the legs. This is great for convenience... but does mean the zip is below wading level. Shouldn't be a problem... but the Adventurer suit moves the zip up high - less convenient, but more resilient.
Others make comparable products. Kokatat are the obvious alternatives for those with the funds: pretty much universally rated as a class apart. Of the others I've seen... the Gul Hydro Kite has appeared to offer enough at a decent enough price to stand out.
Like Simon, 30 yrs ago I bought a 5mm Steamer wet suit for Windsurfing. 5mm smooth skin in the body to reduce wind-chill, 3mm in the arms and 3mm nylon legs for durability and flexibility. It's still in good condition today...but I could make a comedy video trying to get into it today.
I don't like the kite-surf suit open at the ankles. I've had a lifetime of freezing cold feet whilst windsurfing; I went out on New Year's day once, but it was a balmy 10C. Toes were blue when I got home.
The Peak UK suits looks good - top price £499 but top features, Trident UK go down to about £250 for a simpler dry suit.
Two piece is a bit of a compromise. Cold shock can kill you (watch the RNLI series on TV). I trained myself to fight back to my board as fast as possible in Winter and immediately pull myself over the board. With chest out of the water there were a few safe seconds to catch my breath before rolling onto the board.
If things go pear shaped whilst tacking on MilliBee, it will take some time to swim around to the transom to the kid's rope ladder upgraded with good rope. So a drysuit makes me feel I have a chance to survive.
seriously have you thought of Fladens flotation system. They are the 'fishing equipment people' but they also provide protection clothing to dockworkers etc. I first came across them on Shetland. The dock authority provide them free to their workers , and that water is cold. The system, which ever you choose provides built in floatation. Either Jacket and trousers or a one piece and not horrendously expensive. If you're going to Cobnor I always have my jkt in the car. And they are warm.
I was introduced to it when we lived in Scotland, by a local fisherman at the harbour where I kept my boat. Not only was it a lot cheaper than the "yachtie" stuff, but it was a lot tougher and did a better job.
I still have my 20+ year old Fladen single piece suit, with thermal lining and built in-buoyancy, plus an additional inflatable life-jacket inside the suit. The latter isn't really needed, as the suit itself provides loads of buoyancy, but manually inflating it gets your head and shoulders further out of the water.
I second that. Fisherman gears seems a sensible price and does the job well....move up to "yachtie land" and prices double.
Never heard of Fladen before, but if it ads flotation it's a no-brainer. The top/bottom kit will be good for intermediate weather e.g. the Autumn. One piece (survival) gear for hard-core January sailing!
A decade or two ago I would have seen the appeal in the Fladen clothing... but no longer. What's changed? Options!
We should get beyond seeing modern drysuits or semi-dry suits as "survival suits": they're just a set of really comfortable, all-weather windproofs / waterproofs which no-one should mind wearing in UK waters except on the handful of days in year when the temps top 90F.
Oh - and if you walk into the water to launch or land your boat they keep you dry... even if you go waist deep... and you never get water running down your arm if working above your head... or wet feet from water in boat :D
For me, these arguments alone make an unanswerable case for a dryuit or semi-dry (two piece, loose-necked) suit. It's an argument for them being the best option even for sailing where we're not concerned about the consequences of capsizing or falling overboard.
Of course, the fact that they'll ALSO offer great protection in the event of a swim is a HUGE bonus... but that's not a mid-winter consideration - and I've hardly ever known a day in the UK when I'd rather do without one!
It arrived yesterday. Well built and rugged, also incredibly warm. The collar sits high inside the hood and there are 6 generous pockets, each with 2 grommets to drain water. It's built for serious weather!
However, the single piece didn't suit me comfortably when sitting and tended to pull on my relatively long back. I'm in the bottom range of height and weight (70-90kg, 167-177cm). Possibly with use it would become more flexible.
I ordered the two piece suit for more flexibility which should arrive Monday, in time for Cobnor. Utting's friendly support team are happy for me to return the one piece suit, as it is unused.
I'll return it, unless anyone is going to Cobnor and interested in the one piece?