Tips for Sailing in Chilly Weather

Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but the sailing is still delightful! The holiday season is fast approaching, and we will soon find ourselves reaching for that winter coat to keep us cozy as the days grow shorter and the wind chill factor grows larger. But, have no fear, there’s no need to abandon your love for sailing just because it’s getting chillier out. The Charleston Harbor is a wonderful place to sail in the wintertime, so long as you’re fastidious about the increasingly early sunsets (boy, does the cold really bite out there after dark!) and take care to bundle up properly.

Layers, layers, layers!

Just as with any other outdoor sport, wearing layers is key, that way you’ll be able to add and remove them as conditions change. Even in freezing cold weather, the sun can feel ultra powerful after you’ve worked up a sweat so you’ll be grateful of the chance to strip down if and when need be! Take care not to expose yourself to the cold for too long, though. While it isn’t difficult to stay warm, it can be a bit of a struggle to warm yourself up again once you’ve started shivering.

Choose a wardrobe that will keep you warm, dry and comfortable

When choosing your wardrobe, be conscious of the types of fabrics you’re layering yourself with, as some are more advantageous than others in cool conditions. We recommend wicking fabrics as a first layer, as they pull sweat from the surface of your skin and transfer it to your outer clothing layers, keeping you dry, warm, and comfortable throughout your sail. Visit this link for some great baselayer selections by Gill: . It’s best to avoid cotton fabrics this time of year because, while they are breathable and ideal for warm weather activities, they absorb a lot of moisture and are slow to dry which can be dangerous in cooler climates. An insulating layer, preferably wool or fleece, is great to wear ontop of your baselayer. Wool is a terrific natural insulator, even when wet, although it is slow to dry and can be bulky. Fleece remains warm even when wet, as well, but is quicker to dry and half the weight of wool. You can find some excellent fleece options here: . Finally, it’s always good to have a spray jacket as your outerwear, and possibly even spray pants to go along with it if the water is pretty choppy. These items are not only water resistant, but they also act as windbreakers, which is crucial to staying warm out there on the water. We suggest any of these, although there is a variety of different brands that exist if you feel like doing some exploring, yourself: . All of these fabrics can be found in different levels of thickness, so depending on just how frigid it is outside, you can make selections accordingly.

Important accessories

Of course, don’t forget to keep your head and extremities warm, too! When it comes to having a pleasurable sail in the wintertime, head protection, hand protection, and footwear are absolutely vital. Without them, you’re at risk of becoming more and more miserable as the wind picks up!

Now that you’ve got all the information you need to stay warm and dry, it’s time to hop on your favorite sailboat and enjoy all the great wind this season has to offer out there on the harbor. As the seasonal festivities start to fill up your calendar, don’t forget to pencil in the Holiday Parade of Boats on December 12th! This cherished Charleston tradition is tons of fun for participants and spectators alike. Happy holidays and happy sailing!