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Winter Sailing -No More Cold Hands!

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Joined: 22 Apr 2005
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2013 9:33 am    Post subject: Winter Sailing -No More Cold Hands! Reply with quote

Over the years I have tried many combinations of suits, hoods, gloves, mittens, boots, vests, etc. searching for that combination of cold weather, cold water wear that will keep me warm as long as the water remains liquid.

Since 2005 I owned a Kokotat Goretex dry suit which in combination with a pair of good 5 mm boots, gloves or mittens has always done a pretty good job of keeping you warm on the coldest days. However, even with these I still struggle with my hands getting cold after awhile even when wearing cold water mittens. Also I never felt really comfortable using the Kokotat suit for wavesailing or SUP Surfing where you get rolled around in the surf frequently when falling and worrying about a sharp fin cutting into the suit material etc.

Last year I heard about this cold weather windsurfing suit that uses warm air heated by your own lungs to keep your hands warm while sailing. It is called the Ianovated Wetsuit after the name of Ian Smith, a windsurfer in England. He is the one who came up with the idea of the breath warming system to keep your hands warm while out on the coldest days and has started a company making these suits. See: . There are also a number of YouTube videos available showing the suit in action too.

I will admit that when I first heard about this suit and saw photos of it, I was very skeptical. I thought it looked ridiculous and was just another gimmick. But, after reading numerous reviews and videos of it in use, I began to think that it just might work as advertised.

The whole concept is that when you exhale your lungs have heated that air up to body temperature. When your hands start to get cold you simply exhale into the mouth piece. The warm air from your body is blown down the tubes right into your gloves or mitten warming your hands back up. You can do this with every breath or just when needed. The Ianovated suit uses a small snorkel like mouthpiece mouthpiece connected to two tubes running inside the suit, to deliver the warm air down the tubes inside the suit arms, and directly into your gloves or mittens. You exhale into the tubes as frequently or as little as you need to maintain hand warmth. No batteries required either!

So based on the fact that I could get one to test with a full refund guarantee if it did not work as advertised or if I just didnít like it, I recently received an Ianovated Wet Suit . The suit is really more of a 5-4mm semi-dry suit with a shoulder to shoulder top quality metal toothed dry-zipper and a bac up safety zipper underneath that. Additionally it comes with a small pee-dry zipper for use when needed. It is a more basic suit and not constructed as fancy with areas of super stretch neoprene, metalized linings, various panels of nylon covered and smooth skin areas, and color pattern options like my nice Promotion Storm cold water suit. However the Ianovated still appears to be very well built and fully up to the task of providing safe and warm protection in cold weather conditions. Thanks also to the wide shoulder to shoulder zipper, it is easy to get in and out of too.

Wearing the suit for the first time with a pair of 5mm boots, neoprene hood, and my favorite NRS closed mittens, this last Sunday I sailed for over two hours here in Eastern North Carolina. The wind was strong NNW at 25-30knot+ and the air temperature was a very chilly 37-38F with a chill factor around 25F! However, using the Ianovated Suit I was perfectly warm and comfortable the whole time. More importantly, the suitís exhaled breath hand warming system is no joke or gimmick! It really works!!! It takes a few minutes to get used to sailing and exhaling into the mouthpiece but after awhile the combination of the pleasure of warm air being blown onto your hands is addictive and using the mouthpiece becomes second nature.

To further test out the concept I switched to a pair of old Dakine Mittens that I had cut the palm out of for the last hour of my session. Ian Smith, the developer of the Ianovated Suit highly recommends using palmless mittens for much better grip on the boom as the suitís breath powered breathing system will keep them warm. I was very surprised and happy to still be able to keep my hands plenty warm wearing them. I have tired palmless mittens before but my hands always just got frozen using them. This time I was amazed that even after full immersion of both hands with cold water flooding into the mittens after falls etc. through the cut out palms areas, that once my hands were back on the boom the warm air from my exhaled breath warmed them right back up!

I think that for anyone who wants to extend their sailing season into the late fall and winter months, and for those who want to take advantage of the frequent strong seasonal but usually very cold winds, that use of this suit and the breath powered hand warming system is definitely a huge breakthrough. Particularly for those who want to wave sail, SUP Paddle surf, or just sail the cold rough waters in general and donít feel comfortable wearing a traditional bag suit type drysuit.

A couple photos below of the suit from the Ianovated Website.

Ianovated Suit.png
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Ianovated Suit.png

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