Michigan Windsurfing

Windsurfing & Stand-Up Paddleboarding in Michigan

    It seems like only a month ago that I was sailing in board shorts.  This weekend, however, I was in full cold-weather gear: drysuit, mittens, and scuba booties!  That got me thinking about techniques I have seen people use to eke out a few more weeks of sailing as the temperatures drop...

    In addition to wearing mittens (with a smooth water-shedding skin, rather than neoprene), I try to keep good blood circulation to my hands.  I have adopted the practice of periodically dropping one hand from the boom to perform a "karate chop" motion.  This is supposed to force more blood into the hands.  I have no idea whether it works as intended, or whether it just helps to periodically relax from gripping the boom, or whether there is just a placebo effect, but it seems to work for me.

    I knew a guy would boil a pot of water on the stove before sailing, then decant the water into a large thermos container.  When his hands got cold, he would take a break and plunge his gloved hands into the hot water to rewarm them.  I never tried this technique, but he swore that after a couple iterations, his hand would stay warm.

    And, of course, it is hard to beat a road trip to a warmer sailing spot.  Any other tips?

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I have heard about the technique whereby you go out for just very short session and then come in and warm your hands in warm water, and then go back out.  It is supposed to work, but I haven't tried it.

For me, the hands are definitely the limiting factor.

I thought you Long Island guys were built to sail year round?  ;~)   Some do at least.

My wife reminded me of another tip yesterday: bring a thermos of hot tea to drink during snack breaks.

And don’t believe everything you read online.  All the years I sailed on Long Island, I never sailed during the months of January or February.  I think those months are for snow sports...


If you drink too much tea, you might warm up your wetsuit another way.




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