5 top tips for winter sailing
If you choose to get out on the water during the winter months, the weather windows are small but if you time it right, crisp, sunny days can be a sailing joy. You’ll be rewarded with low sun, flat water and empty cruising grounds, perfect to enjoy with a steaming mug of tea!
For those of you that are looking to do some winter sailing we thought we’d put together our 5 top tips for sailing in winter…
Keep your tank topped up and your Batteries charged
You need to make sure you fill up your fuel and water as often as you can during the winter months. Fuel berthing hours can be reduced this time of year and hoses may freeze or water may be turned off to protect the pipes. It takes more power to start a diesel engine in the winter, so keep them topped up by a small solar panel or take batteries home regularly to recharge.
Tend to your engine
As your boat is in salt water it’s unlikely that the temperature will get low enough for any water left in the engine to freeze, but if you’re aware of a very cold forecast make sure the coolant is topped up with the correct mix of antifreeze. You can run some antifreeze through the raw-water system if you’re really concerned.
De-ice your decks and pontoon mooring
Having your decks and pontoon mooring covered in ice can be lethal – luckily for boats sailing in salt water the answer is all around you – a bucket of seawater and a scrubbing brush will do the trick!
Plenty of supplies
Make sure you have plenty of hot drinks; a flask can be a good way to keep ready-made hot chocolate or your favourite hot drink to hand. A good supply of food is a great idea, and if you have an oven onboard, items that can be heated up are even better – think bread rolls, pasties or croissants.
Winter sailing gear
You must dress sensibly if you’re out winter sailing. It’s best to wear lots of thin layers rather than one or two thick sweaters, as it can be hard to move around in bulky clothing. Modern and Mid base-layers are great, like a set of mid-layer salopettes. A fleece snood is a good idea to keep your nose, chin and neck warm and a couple of pairs of gloves, so you have a spare if you get one wet. Also, don’t forget your sunglasses, the sun still shines in winter and it’s a lot lower in the sky which means you’ll be squinting if you don’t wear a pair.
We wish you well on your winter sailing adventures and hope you get some great conditions to enjoy this season. Keep up with your winter boat checks and wrap up warm!