It may be a bit chilly out on the water in the winter time but there are some plus sides to sailing in the colder months. Here’s a couple of things we love about sailing in the winter.
It’s the Prime Season for Sailing at NightDue to the longer nights, winter is actually a great time to rack up some night hours, which could be key to your progress and is a challenging and highly rewarding experience.
Quieter Inland LocationsAlthough there will be more than a few brave souls taking to the waters at all times of the year at a given marina or sailing club, the fact is that inland waters are significantly busier in the summer. There are far fewer casual day/holiday renters on the waters in winter, and if you pick the right time, you might turn up to a virtually deserted lake/canal.
Choose a weekend with a little forecasted “challenging” weather, and give yourself the best chance of having a waterway to yourself, to sail on!
Safety precautionsWinter sailing can be enjoyed safely if you adhere to these simple precautions:-
No matter what the season, the conditions at sea or on inland waters can change in an instant. Always wear multiple layers of clothing to maintain your core body temperature. As we all know, a large percentage of your body heat escapes through the head, so always wear a hat too!
Wear your PFD at all times during your winter sail. While staying on board is your number one focus, a slippery deck could send you unexpectedly into the water. The water temperatures during the winter months are considerably colder. Having your PFD on over the top of your layers will extend your survival rate by an additional 30 minutes.
Although you just planned on a couple of hours sailing, prepare yourself for the possibility that you might not make it back to the marina. Unusually low tides and unexpected shoaling are not uncommon during the winter months. Always keep spare food and clothing on board, just in case you have to stay out.
While complete solitude is what most winter sailors are seeking, ensure that someone shore-side has your details and planned itinerary, so that they can alert the authorities if you’re not back when you planned.