3 options for me,,(Us). 1) move somewhere warm. But I find the winter lay off makes me come back with a vengance in the spring. 2) those cheapie yellow ruibber dishwahing gloves that they sell at the grocery stoire really help. You must fasten them on with a tie strap or something so they don't work there way off and stop every once in awhile to re-adjust them, but provided you do not tie them off to tight they do not fatigue my hands at all and keep them from absorbing water, but they look really goofy. 3) worst of all pack it in. but Wednesday is looking promising again for SW and 60 degrees.
I'm convinced that mittens with the palm-side of the finger area removed are a good option.
I like to leave the palm-side material at the fingertips so that the mittens stay hooked on my fingers,
and I leave the lower 2/3rd of the palm in-tact, as I don't touch the boom very much there...
This keeps the wind off of your hands and doesn't affect your grip on the boom.
I've been comfortable with air-temps in the upper 40s with this arrangement. Haven't tried it any colder than that.
I use the gloves a 3 mm hyperflex neoprene. My first 15-20 minutes out on cold days my hands get cold no matter what I do.
I will come in and soak them in warm water, after a soaking I can last longer on the water, of course length of time depends on the air/water temperatures.
So, I think that the pre-curl on the mitts is what makes them work so well. I've cut out the parts of the palm
that touch the boom so they don't interfere with grip at all, then the tips hook around my fingers, and contact
the boom all by themselves - because of that pre-curl. This seals out the wind fairly well - replacing the cut-out
palm material with boom grip. Insulation all the way around. Could have used more on the outside edges though...
I was out on Cass on Sunday at 39F - pinkies went numb - warmed them up once and then was fine after that.
I sailed 1.5 hr on Sunday and my hands didn't get cold until the very last run. I wore thin dishwashing gloves tucked into my wet suit and then Neoprene mittens (smooth skin back with neoprene palm) on the wrong hands so the smooth skin was on the palm. It worked great...no problem gripping at all in spite of the awkward fit of having the curl going the wrong way.. i have worn the neoprene gloves backwards many times, but the dishwashing gloves tucked into the suit undeneath the mittens made a huge difference over the backwards neoprene gloves alone. I don't know why they don't just make neoprene mittens with smooth skin on the palm. ..i always bring hot water to pour into booties and gloves...but i never pour it in until they are cold so as to reduce the shock when you first hit the cold water.
Somehow the dishwashing gloves keeping my hands from water saturation really seem to help. As Tom says though my hands usually get really cold in the first fifteen minutes on cold days, so I have to stop and stretch the wrist cuffs out on my dry suit and once my old circulation starts running again I seem to be ok for a long time. Really we should move to a warmer climate, but then I am not really big on critters in the water either.