Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: New Orleans
Thanked 48 Times in 45 Posts
Rep Power: 12
What I remember from my frostbite days back in Marblehead (salt water):
If you dress really warm (and dry) and keep moving around (which you do in a dinghy, like our Interclubs), you'll stay warm enough. thermoses of hot tea or whatever a big help.
Keep in mind the water's cold, so never ever capsize, unless you have a crash boat right nearby to take you to a race committee float that happens to have a shack thereon with a pot-belly stove--which we did ;-)
Air temp will wreak havoc with your mainsheet below about 15F (and around 25F for fresh water), because it will or course get wet and will start to freeze, especially where it turns around the sheet blocks, if you don't keep trimming and easing. These "square sheets" are slippery and dangerous if you can't ease out in a hurry. And cam cleats won't work as well.
This is why the typical 5-race afternoon wouldn't last beyond about 2-3 hours. Then we'd all repair to a nice warm bar to recover, and hear protests.