The moment the clocks go back usually indicates that the sailing season has well and truly come and gone. But if you're not ready to store your boat away just yet, Mylor Chandlery have put together a list of the best ways to get the most out of sailing when the colder weather starts to set in!
Wear The Right Clothing
One of the most cost effective ways of keeping warm - wearing appropriate clothing when you're sailing in cold weather will ensure that your focus is on having fun and not on how much you're shivering as the icy winds blast against you.
The easiest way to retain body heat while staying comfy is with a proper layering system. Starting off with a few thin layers before putting on a thick jumper and outerwear will not only retain your heat more effectively, but you'll also be able to control your body temperature more effectively by stripping off layers as you need to, while remaining mobile and comfortable for the more physical tasks on your boat.
Always Check The Forecast
Sailing in autumn and winter requires a little more preparation than the relatively benign spring and summer months of calmer, fairer weather. It's a given, but being trapped in a storm because you didn't check the forecast is a mistake you really don't want to make. On the positive side, picking the perfect sailing conditions in the colder months means you won't miss out on those gorgeous autumn evenings of low sunlight, dramatic skies and empty anchorages.
Install A Heater
If you're more serious about sailing in autumn, investing in a good quality heater will make your skipper a much more bearable place to be when the temperature drops. A heating system will also help to regulate damp, condensation build-up and humidity issues that all attribute to a more difficult environment to live within.
We recommend our Tube Heater with Thermostat options that keep problems with freezing, mould, mildew and a range of other issues at bay. It can also be wall mounted or stood easily on the floor.
Reefing (or reducing the area of the sail by folding back an edge of canvas in strong winds) is a technique that every sailor has in their back pocket - particularly in the colder months! This is because wind chill and wind speed tends to be harsher and more forceful in comparison with the warmer months, so when the weather looks like it's taking a turn, reef down as soon as you can.
Take Hot Food And Drinks
Taking several thermos flasks of hot drinks and soup with a few warm treats you've bought from the harbourside will keep you and your crew's spirits up during the bitterest of winter days. Staying properly fuelled will also stave off tiredness and keep you sharp throughout the day.
Climate Control Your Cabin
One of your biggest adversaries during September through to November is the onset of condensation that can create an oppressive, uncomfortable micro climate below deck. A good heater will remedy these problems, but making use of a dehumidifier may also be your best bet for tackling the worst of the damp.
A cockpit tent can also enable you to leave hatches and windows open, helping circulate the airflow more freely around your boat and will also give you room to store any wet kit and equipment more effectively.
Know What To Check
Check your batteries: During the cold weather, you will be making full use of lights, heaters, fans and an array of other electrical equipment to keep you warm. Therefore, investing in new batteries and checking and charging up older ones will prevent you from running into trouble.
Check your safety supplies: Making sure everything from fire extinguishers to first aid supplies are inspected before you depart will give you peace of mind when you get round to setting off on that next big adventure.