Dinghy sailing in the winter, it’s not for the faint-hearted. You really have to love the feeling of being on the water in temperatures that aren’t too similar to that of your freezer. But I suppose once you’re hooked, there’s no turning back – rain, hail or shine.
However, it doesn’t have to be as excruciating on your body as you may think. Luckily, layering systems were developed many moons ago, allowing you to sail amongst the elements without harming yourself. So, if you have decided to leave your dinghy docked at the sailing club for the winter, you’re going to want to upgrade your clothing.
There are a plethora of options available in terms of layering, and it really is a matter of preference, however, the more traditional approach comes in the form of a woollen thermal onesie. Benefits include:
- Extremely mobile
- Fully breathable
- Warm against the skin
- Easy to wear
If you prefer a more ‘technical’ piece of clothing, then polypropylene thermal mid-layers will guarantee warmth, and also deliver performance. Benefits include:
- Extremely lightweight
- Comfortable against the skin
- Fully breathable
- Can be worn with a woollen thermal onesie for those colder days
It’s important to note that both these layering options should always be worn underneath a drysuit.
Alternatively, you can go down the neoprene route. It may seem strange at first, choosing a 'long-John' in the middle of winter, however, a lot of brands such as Zhik, Gul and Neil Pryde are developing high-performance neoprene base layers that are guaranteed to keep you warm. Benefits include:
- Extremely light
- Thermal lining
- Water resistant
- Quick flushing
Be mindful, when using neoprene as a base layer, you will need a spray jacket to go over the top. This will replace a drysuit, and works well if you're expending a lot of energy, or if the weather changes unexpectedly for the better. Spray tops are water and wind proof, breathable and insulating on the inside due to the fleece lining.
At the end of the day, it comes down to preference when layering for dinghy sailing. As long as your warm and able to perform to the best of your ability, well then, wear whatever works for you!
Click here for more information on layering.
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