Cold Season Sailing
Clothing & Gear
Sailing during the cold time of the year can be magnificent and imposing experience at Cold Latitudes. No matter if you join us on S/Y Fareata, or plan your own late-season sailing at the archipelago, here is some preparation tips regarding clothing for a day or few days cruising 😉
At the Sea it’s always much colder than in the city on land! The cold effect of the Wind is easy to underestimate!
Here is 5 short tips for day or a few days inshore sail clothing
1) Multi-layer dressing
Undermost breathable wool as cotton or high quality Merinovilla. In addition to breathable, wool is natural, anti-bacterial and without any micro-plastic fibers. We highly recommend Finnish-made Merinovilla!
Between underwear and outdoor layers, you need something to hold the heat and forward moisture out. The layers should allow you to move freely and be comfortable. Wool here is as good as in the first layer! Spare clothes within is a good idea as well!
By the way, did you know that wool keeps you warm even though it’s almost completely wet? It absorbs so much water in itself that it just feels dry almost until completely wet! That’s also why it’s superior material at the sea.
Outermost wind- and preferably also waterproof outdoor jacket and pants. Of course scarfs, puffs, hats and beanies are needed to cover your head, ears, face and neck well. Wind must not ”leak” in anywhere.
The wind will find any leak in your clothing, and any leak will make you cold very fast. It is very important to cover your neck area (and wristbands) well with high sleeve and with good scarfs around.
If you come to sail on Fareata, we have some sort of sailing gloves loan for you on boat. In addition you need thin 5-finger type gloves or a few underneath (red on right in the left picture below). There are such gloves for touchscreen devices as well, but our experience on those are not very praiseworthy. The aim is to keep you warm! Also, have other winter gloves with you for extra!
For a long journey (or on your own boat) we recommend such likeice fishing full-plastic gloves from fishing section(red in the picture as right-most), with separate layers underneath, of course. Just to mention, make sure that the water (rain or sea) will not leak in the gloves from the wristband! And, of course, every member on longer voyage should have a few, or at least three pairs of sets of gloves , since no gloves stay dry endlessly; and dry, warm hands are essential part of safety and comfort!
Many pair of woolen socks to keep feet alive! Merinovilla is recommended here too, and good winter shoes will have to do it!
3) Over-dressing (heat dressing)
Please, prefer wear a little bit more clothes than less! When being outside in cold for extended period, and especially if not moving much, you must ”over-dress” yourself. That’s how your body will have extra heat to spread around to the outermost blood circulation parts, as for fingers and toes.
Dress up before getting cold! After the cold hit you, it takes long to heat you up again. At the Sea there’s no allowance of losing heat!
More about blood circulation system…
Heat circulates in the body mostly by the blood. When under extreme conditions, heat and blood is lost first in the outermost body parts: in the fingers and feet. You must ensure that the center of your body (heart, middle body, brains and legs) stay so warm, that there are external heat and lots of warm blood to spread far in the body.
It’s very common that person feels overall fine and nice, but gets cold from fingers and toes. If you tend so, try this trick. Cold can be avoided simply by ”over-dressing”: so that you feel just a little bit too warm. Of course, try to avoid being too hot since this cause you to take your clothes off!
4) ”Hand-warmers” / Warm-bags
Many outdoor shops as Partioaitta in Finland sells these so-called little warmer-bags. They can also be found on some big supermarkets and general store shops. They are good tools in keeping fingers, feet, phone-in-pocket etc. small in warm. We use them mainly in emergencies, but some people trust their life on these!
There are two models: dispensable (one-time use) and reusable. We recommend reusable ones, even though dispensable ones could be more powerful, last longer or heat higher. Reusable ones can be re-charged i.e. in boiling water, depending on the type.
Caution! Avoid touching bare skin when heated- these can get dangerous hot when activated. Read the manufacturer’s guidelines for safe use!
5) Comfort is part of safety
Funny to say, but non else can take care of you better than yourself! Listen your needs and fill them as they arise: eat, drink, pee, sleep. Make yourself comfortable in any way. Even subconscious discomfort causes stress reaction in your body, lowers energy level and so lead you to under threat of sickness, hypothermia and injuries. Awareness of your body needs is the key to success.
Extra notice: thick sitting mattress is efficient tool for keeping your butt warm when sitting on a cold mounting! Never sit straight on cold deck, that’s sure way to get body supercooled super-fast!
Warm, windproof clothing is key to comfort survival in cold! It can not be overemphasized!
What else to remember?
- Drinking bottle
- Food & snacks
- Sunglasses- and snowboarding glasses for extreme weather!
- Joyful mind!:-)
- Good to Know – general guidelines for all our trips if coming to sail on Fareata
Tips and Links
- Arctic Sailing Check List –>
- How to equip for Arctic Sailing? (FIN) – Endorfiininmetsästäjä
- How it is to Sail in the Winter? (FIN) – Endorfiininmetsästäjä
- The Story of Ruffe (ENG) – Sailing around Svalbard (see ”Ch 3 – Svalbard” beginning for clothing tips)
Have a Joyful Voyage!