How much sailing you do during the inclement season depends on many things: your own "hardiness", the boat, the weather, and the quality of the foul weather gear you choose.
One of the bonuses of living in the PNW is the opportunity to sail year round, but you will spend some time wet, possibly cold and uncomfortable. The safety of it all relies on your keeping abreast of the latest weather information (storms and systems move through more quickly and more often in winter), the condition and equipment level of the boat, and your and your crews' personal skills, abilities and experience.
One of the things that makes off season sailing much more enjoyable is the ability to thoroughly dry off and warm up at the end of the day.
Winter daysailing is just a matter of picking your days and dressing appropriately (you can warm up and dry off at home later). Winter cruising demands decent cabin heat and the space to dry gear and get warm again.
One thing to keep in mind in winter - if you're out for a daysail and your first leg is downwind, be mindful that the trip back, if upwind, will take longer and get colder as you go, so adjust your turnaround time accordingly. You can cover a lot of ground downwind in a typically stronger winter breeze, and find yourself a long beat from the marina if you aren't paying attention. Allow at least twice the return time, maybe more.
The greatly reduced daylight hours and increased likelihood of fog should also be taken into consideration as you plan your day or passage.
The benefits of doing this, of course, is increased utilization of your investment, a feeling of accomplishment, greatly reduced traffic and more privacy in your favourite cove or marina.
Last edited by Faster; 11-12-2006 at 08:00 PM.