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Sailing in the Gorge during winter
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ygungor



Joined: 16 Jul 2004
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2007 4:14 pm    Post subject: Sailing in the Gorge during winter Reply with quote

Do you think that 5/4/3 wetsuit with hood/booties/gloves will keep you warm enough to sail the Gorge in the winter ? Question
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wooot



Joined: 05 Oct 2002
Posts: 199

PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2007 8:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes it can, Hopefully you dont fall in alot and the suit doesnt leak to much.
wear some polypro under the suit ( you can duct tape the ankles to help keep them from riding up when you put the suit on, or get some with stirups (from promotion).
I have a friend who got a Promotion hooded vest which he also wears... that could help, (over or under the suit I cant remember).
Myself, I used to do the gorge all winter but backed off the last few years, Gonna go the Kokatat drysuit rout and come back to the COLD side.
As far as temps go, the water acually gets coldest right at the end of march, Its the air temps that can be tough (although we sailed at Roosevelt last Saturday and roasted in the 60 degree heat.)
Often when a front passes it can be relatively warm (over 50 in most cases, at least out east) anything over 55 doesnt really feel cold at all, especially if the the sun is out.
Just sail with caution, of course.... NEVER milk it in the winter! Rig big and use the largest board that makes sense, the wind is more fickle with no thermal push.
Hope to see you "out east" with the rest of us Roosevelt locals soon.
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 14600

PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2007 9:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

People do sail all winter in steamers, but I consider it risky. If something breaks, especially in the wider river out east, the swim could be dangerous. I'm fine barefooted until the water hits 46 degrees, which usually happens some time in December, more or less, and I'm back at it barefooted by some time in early April. But I'm in a dry suit once the water is under roughly the mid 50s simply because I hate ice water spinal taps, I have rescued too many hypothermic sailors, and I don't sail to stay dry. I also don't do gloves or booties and prefer polarfleece hoods to neoprene hoods for comfort, hearing, balance, etc.

I have several friends who sail JanFebMar out east. They don't mind booties or gloves -- one wears both all summer -- and wear multiple layers of neoprene. One won't wear a hood even when the air and water are in the 30s; we'll lose him some winter when he sails downwind to the silos in side-off winds and something breaks.

But now is not winter. The air temp at Port Kelley yesterday (Monday) was 68 degrees for hours and the water in the low 50s, so staying warm was not an issue in any good suit. (The problem was the wind, quite possibly the strongest winds I have ever seen in the Gorge, but at least I stayed warm and my 245-pound expert bud could actually sail when he wasn't going over the falls end over end.)

A significant problem with WINTER sailing here, IMO, is wind quality. Purely frontal/jetstream winter winds are usually gusty as all hell, FAR more so than thermally supported summer winds. Friends who sailed 3-Mile Canyon yesterday were forced to change sails several times in just a couple of hours, and my buds often get only an hour or two of survival sailing in return for several hours of driving, rigging, re-rigging, dressing, undressing, and swimming -- sometimes all in a 38-degree drizzle ... and that's out in the desert. The corridor is far worse, but if one lives there, at least the drive is less.

\m/
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WMP



Joined: 30 May 2000
Posts: 622

PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 12:10 pm    Post subject: Re: Sailing in the Gorge during winter Reply with quote

ygungor wrote:
Do you think that 5/4/3 wetsuit with hood/booties/gloves will keep you warm enough to sail the Gorge in the winter ? Question


I wear a 5/3 steamer w/ vest & shorts underneath. Was wearing a thin hood last year but just got the Promotion beanie cap and it's warm. Was wearing 3mm Superfreak booties last winter, but I just bought 6/5/4 Mutant booties... they feel really good.


Winter east winds are an incredible ride if you can master the art of Gorge east wind sailing. Trick is not going in the water (making all your jibes) and staying relaxed, even in the most wicked of 3.2 & 3.7 conditions. If you tense up, it tends to shut down your circulation and you will get cold no matter what you have on.

Know your limits. I go all winter.... my limits are 38/35/35... 38 air temp, 35 water temp, 35 average wind speed. I don't sail beyond this limit... there's only one sailor I know of who goes beyond this point..... she's a WOMAN... good, really good!!

Make sure your gear is proven in strong Gorge wind conditions.

Have a survival plan if you get stuck out there, you need to understand that you are on your own and will not be rescued. I have no problem with idea of ditching my sail and paddling in with only the board..... my entire rig is probably worth $50 so I would have no regrets to see it go.


Blowin' 36 avg at Stevenson as I write this..... e.b. barges throwing up some wicked spray. Ahhhhhh, it's gonna be another 3.2 day. Hope you folks can get some.
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mik377



Joined: 05 Jun 2005
Posts: 52

PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 5:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Checked Rooster at 1pm no one on water, mid 40s wind + temperature
Too cold for my 4/3 and didnt feel like getting blown back to the 205 bridge. Anyone try a pyro pro drysuit yet? (although today you might have been turned into a human kite)
Check this review
http://www.skypilotkiteboarding.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=180
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hilton08



Joined: 02 Apr 2000
Posts: 403

PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 7:01 pm    Post subject: 100 degree rule Reply with quote

Most Gorge sailors stick to the 100 degree rule. The air and water temperature (in Farenheit) should add up to at least 100. In the Fall when the water is in the low 50's, it's nice to have the air at least 50 degrees. Days like today are right on the edge of being manageable. In the Spring, I usually wait for the water to hit 40 and hope for sun and air temps 55-60.
If you really want to sail in Dec, Jan, or Feb you should go to Baja.
I prefer to take a break from windsurfing, and enjoy the change to skiing and snowboarding on Mt Hood.
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WMP



Joined: 30 May 2000
Posts: 622

PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 11:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Awesome day yesterday.... imho, one of the top 3 days of '07. Ya know it's a 3.2 day when your face becomes distorted by the wind gusts (now why isn't there an emoticon with a wind distorted face? Surprised ).

I find being on ski lifts on a windy day is much more uncomfortable than sailing in January, but that's just me. I think you just have to sail enough times to adapt to conditions and know the program. Becoming familiar with that 'other home' on the water.... things just become familiar and routine.... then you are able to relax in the most wicked and cold conditions, that's all it takes.
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ygungor



Joined: 16 Jul 2004
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2007 2:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you very much for your input. It is just too painful not to windsurf for more than a few weeks. I will see you out there this winter.

One more question. Do you think it is insane to windsurf at the coast in the winter time ?
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 14600

PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2007 8:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OTOH, the worst pain I have ever encountered, including passing kidney stones plus many surgeries, is hands thawing after WSing in cold water or air.

A coast local wavesailor and commercial fisherman (think "Dangerous Catch") tell me he won't sail there in the winter because the winter's southerly waves are too large and powerful and dangerous. Too bad, as it's often, maybe usually, warmer there than here in the Gorge in the winter. Maybe Nehalem Bay ...?

Mike \m/
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Temira



Joined: 15 Jun 1999
Posts: 84
Location: Hood River

PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2007 1:25 am    Post subject: Cold Weather Sailing Reply with quote

I'll sail pretty much all winter in the Gorge in a 5/4 steamer with a fleece vest underneath. Booties are a must, as are gloves (wish I could find a pair that didn't cramp up my forearms). The most important piece of equipment, however, is a sailing buddy.

There were only 5 of us out last Monday(?) when it was averaging 40. That can get a bit scary... breaking down in the middle of winter is bad news. You want to have a friend along.

As for the 100 rule, well, I think everything (wind speed, air temp, and water temp) added together must equal 120, as long as the air temp is over freezing. I'll put up with cold weather if it's blowing 40+!!!

That said, I've walked through ice to (try to) sail at Rooster Rock when it was blowing 70 mph. I don't recommend that.

East winds should pick up later this week. See you guys out there Thanksgiving day?

Temira
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