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I am a fair weather sailor on lake Erie. I don't mind putting on a jacket but finding someone to come with me is challenging because of the early sunset and lack of heat. Looking for some suggestions on how you extend your season in a cooler climate. If your answer is to move to Florida don't bother replying. Soon global warming or a big hurricane will wipe your home off the map and then you will wish you lived up north.
 

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Sail Delmarva: Winter Sailing

A bunch of small ideas in the link, above. Maybe one will help.

1. add an installed heater. forget space heaters. You live in NY.
2. dodger.
3. real winter clothes.
 

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Take your time sailing in late season. Don't go far, don't start early, quit early. That takes advantage of the shorter days an limited warm sunlight.

Sail down wind as much as you can, that's the warmest. Sail upwind less, try to plan that in the mid day sun.

Plan for the most protected anchorages at night.

Keep lots and lots of cloths onboard. You don't need fancy gear(but that's fine) but layers of clothing can make all the difference on a boat in the late fall. If you're a skier, you have lots of good cloths for late season sailing. Sailing is pretty sedentary compared to skiing so plan on extra layers. Hats, hoodies that close off your neck, you're from Buffalo so you know what I mean. :)

The good thing about sailing dressed like this is, you probably won't see anybody.

For overnights, be sure you have lots of layers for berths. You can stay warm if you're dry and have enough blankets/comforters, etc.

Any kind of heat is nice. If your engine is clean, open it up(turned off of course), to the cabin after you motor into an anchorage. It'll warm things up quite a bit.

Cook a chicken if you have an oven(I'm not kidding, but it could be a pizza as well :) )

Don't even think about getting wet!

Any kind of heat is appreciated, especially in the morning.

If you want company, it's good the person is into winter recreation. My wife loves sailing in October in Maine. We're snowboarders in the winter.

Did I mention a little heat is nice?

 

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We usually sail into November. A central heating system, Espar, Webasto, Wallas, wood stove, diesel pot burner, Dickenson etc., dodger, bimini, connector and side curtains help a lot when at anchor.. Sat night we had friends over in the cockpit and the cabin heat kept the cockpit warm enough to be sitting around in short sleeves...

When sailing we just layer up a tad more and use your skiing layers.... No different than skiing only a bit warmer...... Had hot cocoa on-board for the first time this fall on Saturday night, mmmmmm.....

In a few weeks we will swap out the synthetic comforters we use in summer and early fall for 800 fill goose down....:)

If you think warm thoughts it also helps..
Late October Sail - YouTube

Winds are also MUCH better late in the fall:
Fall Sail 1 2011 - YouTube
 

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All good suggestions so far.
Here's mine to help keep the boat warm at night when at anchor.

I have a stainless steel water tank, 100 gallons.
Before leaving my slip I recirculate the hot water back to the water tank until the tank reaches ~100F° deg. Using the engine, when not actually sailing, to heat the remaining heat load will bring the temp to 120-130F°.
In BTU's 'stored' - Thats 100 gallons X 8.34 pounds/gallon X [(120 to 130) - 60]= ~55,000 to 60,000 BTUs.

Leaving a sole/floor hatch open above the tank will keep the boat 'comfy' until dawn. Best of all it requires no 'combustion' inside the boat; hence, the minimum of 'sweaty boat ceiling'. This works well in late fall especially going 'down' the ICW when most of the times one is 'motoring' anyway.
All you really have to worry about is the 'plastic' water hose which begins to 'soften' as the water temp. approaches 170°F., .... and that the bilge pump is on to handle the condensation due to the thermal differences deep in the bilge, .... and that the tank is kept 'full' as possible.

If anchored for more than a night because of 'bad' weather etc., I'll run the "honda" 2000W generator to heat the water by AC.
 

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A full enclosure in the shoulder season can even get too hot. No way we could out it up yet. Oct 1.
 

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Have you every sailed inside an enclosure in bright low angled sunlight with the clear panels covered with salt crystals deposited by spray; or, through/during the night with those panels covered with 'droplets'? ditto with a BIG dodger?
 

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Lots of layers on the bed. Many layers.

Cook something in the oven with the door closed or partly closed.

Leaving the oven on with the over door wide open set off the CO detector once, so now the door stays ajar or closed.

We have two 10 pound propane tanks, so for anything serious, I bring some 20 pound, standard-sized propane tanks and connect them up. Not for sailing, but works at anchor.

Regards,
Brad
 

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We sail on Erie's north shore until halloween- we'd sail longer if they didn't close the damn marina on us. Weather cloths, a dodger and bimini, a heat source are all musts, but, when actually underway, wear the right clothing, in layers, a good hat, and boots, and have at least two pairs of gloves aboard. amazing what a difference a good hat and warm and dry feet and hands can make.
 

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Ski Clothes cause I'm too cheap to buy almost the same thing made by a marine outfitter :) Fleece, layers, wool, and lots of cuddling at night :)

We usually stop sailing when it gets like this...ice was about 1/2" or so. This past winter it would have not been possible, ice was several inches on most creeks on the bay.





 

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I have a full enclosure on the cockpit - just like sailing in a greenhouse - I love it. When I was on my way home from Florida in March, the temperature outside was a brisk 48 degrees when I reached the Chesapeake's upper reaches. The temperature inside the enclosure, on sunny days, was 75 to 80. Sailing in shirt sleeves and shorts in late March was a fun experience. In the cabin, at night, I hunkered down in a down-filled mummy bag made during the Korean War. It was quite warm and comfy until I had to get out of it and go to the head. When morning came, and it was breakfast time, the propane stove quickly warmed the cabin on cloudy days. If the sun was up, the enclosure warmed the entire boat. I simply fired up a small, battery powered fan in the cockpit and blew the air into the cabin hatch. In no time at all it was nice and warm.

Cheers,

Gary :cool:
 

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Everyone mentions proper clothing, but no one said the words wind beaker. Layers will not help if the wind blows through what you are wearing and robs you for your heat, and wind breakers eliminates having the need to have may layers.

Just like skiing or ice fishing, dressing right is important. You can always take it off if you over dress, you can't put it on if you did not bring it. And, it is always colder on the water than you think it is going to be, well no always...

Avoid propane inside, will create lots of condensation.

When at anchor I like to use the Maga grille on the cockpit floor as a kind of camp fire.
 

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Everyone mentions proper clothing, but no one said the words wind beaker. Layers will not help if the wind blows through what you are wearing and robs you for your heat, and wind breakers eliminates having the need to have may layers.

Just like skiing or ice fishing, dressing right is important. You can always take it off if you over dress, you can't put it on if you did not bring it. And, it is always colder on the water than you think it is going to be, well no always...

Avoid propane inside, will create lots of condensation.

When at anchor I like to use the Maga grille on the cockpit floor as a kind of camp fire.
Part of layering is choosing the right layers, one of which will almost always be an outer wind or waterproof shell, when sailing. Of course many times the outer shell can just traps perspiration (especially the crappy "Firemans Suit" sailing gear they try and sell us) and is not desired. On a sailboat there is usually little exertion, unless racing, so a shell would almost always be worn as the outer layer and condensation in it would not be a huge issue..

As one who comes at the term layering as a skier, winter mountain climber, ice climber etc. the term layering or layers is enough description. Your point is good, in that it may not be descriptive enough to one who does not do winter sports...

When climbing in the winter, with a 65 pound pack, I often do not wear any shell just thermals and a micro fleece. This breathes nicely and dries quickly. When we get to camp or stop my poly layers dry quickly and then I can then put my dry shell on, over my now dry climbing layers. At night in camp, when not exerting, my 850 fill down layer comes out of the pack.....

If I climb & exert with my shell on, everything stays wet because Gore-Tex (even the supposed venting variants) does not breathe enough to be useful, when actually exerting yourself.

When sailing in the cold I often wear a light poly layer then a micro fleece and perhaps a 200 weight fleece vest with a thin nylon waterproof/breathable shell over it, or even a soft shell.

Just depends upon the sport and what I am actually doing as to how the layering goes but it is still layering..
 
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