Tips for extending the sailing season (cold voyage rules)
Denis Korablev
  • 16.07.2020
  • 143

Tips for extending the sailing season (cold voyage rules)

Winter is a season that is not particularly revered by yachtsmen due to a variety of weather surprises, frequent storms and rare sun (except for yachting in the Caribbean and other warm regions). The formation of ice cover on the reservoirs of the northern regions of the Earth stops any navigation, ships left in the water are damaged, and the conditions for traveling on a yacht at sea during this period cannot be called comfortable. In Italian Liguria in winter there may be a stormy wind "Tramontana", in the south of Corsica the cold "Lebeccio" blows, and even in the waters of Greece from November to March it is cold and strong winds blow. Of course, this is not true for all regions, for example - in Thailand, the rainy season ends in winter and a comfortable cool season comes with temperatures up to 30 degrees, but most of the popular yachting areas are empty in winter.

Only a few dare to go out to sea when the ambient temperature drops below zero degrees, and the best marinas and the most convenient anchorages become super accessible since October. And if one of the yachtsmen suddenly decides to take a ride, he will not be disturbed by the hustle and bustle at the exit from the marina, they will not bring down powerful boats passing by with their steep wave, and aquabikers will not pour fountains of spray. In the hotels on the shore there are significant discounts in winter, and this is understandable, because their owners should not expect the arrival of tourists before Easter. Yacht insurance and anchorage are paid all year round, so why not use the boat to the full program? The reason is only one thing - it is cold in winter, and no one wants to freeze. What life hacks should you use so as not to experience discomfort from cold weather and dampness? In this article, we'll go over tips to help you extend your sailing season.

Clothes and shoes

Modern yachting clothing is presented in a huge range of lightweight, waterproof, windproof and breathable items made from natural and modern synthetic materials. Experts (and experienced yachtsmen too) advise to dress in three layers of clothing - this is more than enough to keep warm in bad weather.

The outer layer must be waterproof to prevent moisture from penetrating the inner layers of clothing and the body. It is well known that it is almost impossible to keep warm in wet clothes, because the thermal conductivity of water is 25 times higher than that of air, and you will cool down in it 25 times faster than in dry clothes. A waterproof suit, or a waterproof cloth, also effectively protects from the wind, and the wind, as you know, is the main reason for the intensification of unpleasant sensations from the weather. Waterproof clothing made of synthetic fabric impregnated with water-repellent compounds with warm pockets that protect against water ingress into the bottom also provides protection of the body from external mechanical influences.

The most popular among yachtsmen are windproof jackets with a hood and an insulated collar, which provide an acceptable level of comfort in not too cold and wet weather. You can choose a jacket relatively inexpensively, and you need to complement the set with high trousers made of the same waterproof fabric. Some of the best yachting equipment on the market are made from breathable fabrics with a Gore-Tex membrane that impermeates moisture and wicks body evaporation out - and they cost significantly more than clothing made from non-membrane technology.

The middle layer of clothing is designed to keep warm and prevent it from coming out quickly - for this purpose, fleece fabrics (for example - Polartec) are used, from which jackets, turtlenecks, sweaters and sweatshirts are sewn. Fleece clothing has a very useful property - the ability to move moisture from the inner to the outer layer, while remaining practically dry. Also, unlike wool and cotton garments, fleece garments can be quickly dried on board while being easy to wash and providing a high level of wearing comfort.

The bottom, underwear layer of clothing is the main factor in the formation of a comfortable feeling in cold and rain. Bodywear these days is created from fabrics that almost do not absorb moisture evaporated by the body and transport it to the middle layer of clothing.

Yachting gloves should be waterproof, as any gloves that allow water to pass through will make you suffer from the cold. Since it is with the hands of yachtsmen who do all the work on board, they must be protected. When working with sheets and halyards, hands can be injured, therefore gloves must be selected with particular care. Depending on the thickness of the ropes, gloves with long phalanges (with a thickness of about 8 mm or more) or gloves made of non-slip materials (with a thickness of less than 8 mm) should be purchased. A prerequisite is that you should feel comfortable wearing yacht gloves.

Shoes should also be waterproof and breathable - better with a Gore-Tex membrane that wears for a long time, creates a feeling of warmth and at the same time is comfortable for working on a yacht.

Food & Beverage

In cold weather, you should eat high-calorie foods, and arranging hot meals on board is preferable and profitable than evening trips to coastal pubs. In the sea, hot drinks should be drunk at least every hour, and preferably more often, for instant coffee or tea, you should use a capacious thermos with boiling water. For breakfast, eat foods that are high in carbohydrates - they serve as a source of energy for the whole body. For mood, you can add cognac to coffee or drink some whiskey. The most high-calorie foods are best set aside for lunch, for example, a business lunch with an emphasis on fish or meat dishes, a hearty pie with beef and vegetables, or fettuccine with a mix of cold meat and cheese.


When choosing yachts for rent it is worth remembering that it must be cozy and protected for comfortable winter sailing, First of all, it is necessary to eliminate the causes of moisture penetration under the deck - through leaks in the deck, leaks in hatches, condensation formation, etc. The cabins heating system must be provided - an acceptable choice would be autonomous diesel air heaters with a capacity of about 2 kW, compact and durable. Following the example of some resourceful sailors, you can use an inverted earthenware pot for flowers, placed on a burner with a set minimum flame level - the product acts as a radiator, while heated air exits through an opening at the top.

Not the last condition for comfortable winter swimming is planning every trip - when the air temperature is below zero, a refreshing 2-hour transition between breakfast and lunch and the same walk in the afternoon will be enough. Night sailing should be avoided as temperatures can drop dramatically after sunset, especially in cloudless weather. It is important to encourage any physical activity in order to avoid hypothermia of the crew in cold weather.

Remember that often the most effective methods of dealing with the cold are not expensive. Cold, windy weather can test your endurance, but remember that long before modern times, man learned to withstand these difficulties at sea, and you can increase the chances of successfully resisting the cold by combining old methods with modern achievements of science and practice.

If you are interested in yacht rental, you can always contact the managers of the company 2yachts to receive comprehensive advice on the selection, purchase, registration and maintenance of the vessel.