It may be October, but sailing season isn’t over just yet

With a little preparation October is great month for sailing.  Both the air and the water are starting to cool down, and that’s what makes the preparation necessary.  The good news is that the preparation isn’t all that difficult because neither the water nor the air is dangerously cold yet, assuming you can get out of the water and dry off somewhat quickly.  So far this month (October) both the water and air temperature have been in the low 60 degree range.  That means when you get out into the wind it can be a little bit cold, especially if you aren’t in direct sunlight.  And in regards to the water, I won’t go any further than knee deep without a wet suit this time of year.  But, I may just be a wimp who doesn’t particularly like being cold.

Ok, so the water and air temps are starting to cool off, but what should you do if you want to keep sailing?  Well here is what I do, I start in a wetsuit and add a windbreaker or water proof jacket if I need a little more warmth.  My logic for the wetsuit is that the potential exists for me to end up in the water, all be it involuntarily.  And, if that happens a sweatshirt is going to do more harm then good.  I could just be paranoid but I would much rather be prepared than end up in a dangerous situation.  Some of you are probably pointing out that a wetsuit isn’t a great insulation layer when it isn’t in the water and you’re right.  However, it is much better than nothing, and the windbreaker stops the wind which is where a lot of heat is lost.  I also bring along neoprene booties and neoprene sailing gloves because if the spray starts to pick up your hands will get wet and cold and that isn’t fun at all.  A bit of common sense is also needed, this isn’t the time of year to be pushing your sailing boundaries.

Alright, so now we’re prepared … let’s go sailing!

With winds out of the north and delightfully calm water Asya and I geared up and launched Spy Hop with no particular destination in mind.  We ended up sailing back and forth across Centerville Harbor.  I’ll explain more about where we were sailing later, the take away is that it was fantastic even though it is early October!

Calm Seas on Centerville Harbor
Nice Calm Seas

And with a day this nice no destination was needed.

Sailing Cape Cod
Asya at the helm of Spy Hop

Sailing Cape Cod

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It is possible that this was the last sail of the year, but I sure it hope it wasn’t.  There is still plenty of fall left to enjoy before it would be unwise to be on the water.

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Mind the weather

sailing centerville harbor on cape cod
I should look happier, I’m on a boat after all.

I am still fascinated by how different the weather can actually be from one place to another.  I don’t mean the weather on different continents, but how different the weather can be in a rather small geographic area.  Specifically over a couple of miles.

Before going sailing I always check the weather conditions, current conditions and forecasts as well as past conditions to get an idea of the weather trends.  Since I work in aviation I look at the current weather reports at the local airports, giving preference to the one that is closest to where we will be going sailing.  Last week before a sunset sail the wind at a local airport was reported as being 10kts gusting to 18kts.  The direction was from the south east which is largely unrestricted blowing into the Centerville Harbor.  10tks gusting to 18kts isn’t a huge amount of wind but depending on the gusts it can end up being a handful.  While motoring out Asya and I decided not to actually raise sails given the limited time we had before sunset and we weren’t entirely sure of what the conditions would end up being.

The conditions were delightful!  The wind gusts weren’t as bad as the weather report (~two miles away) would have lead me to believe.  There was a minor swell, somewhat noticeable in the picture above, but again not as bad as I would have assumed from the reported wind direction and wind speed.  My takeaway from this is that weather conditions change, both for the better and for the worse.  As much as I like knowing when I pull out of the driveway that I am going sailing, there is still the variable of weather that can and sometimes should change the decision to go sailing.