Cold weather sailing

Thread starter #1
I live in SE Pennsylvania and am planning on sailing late into the year (Nov-Dec). Since I ride motorcycle year round , cold weather is not to much of a bother. Any advice on dressing from the waist down? I will be launching from a trailer so will be getting somewhat "wet" while loading and unloading.


helly hansen makes the best waterproof clothing.
they make their gear for professional uses like fishermen etc..
i'm not sure if they make boots. i imagine any waterproof boots would work as long as they are high tops, and you sealed your pants at the ankles..

don't wear cottton! wear synthetic materials that will not retain water.

but if you fall in, you're in trouble..
My experience is that you can usually get by with a full length wetsuit through early December. There might be a day or two where that is not enough or even too much clothing. In late December through mid-April, you will probably want a drysuit. Many people elect to wear drysuits starting in mid-October through the end of April. Often the air temperature is OK, but the water is a totally different story. Either way, I would strongly encourage you to go with other people. It is amazing how quickly you fatigue in cold water.

If you do not have a drysuit, you can buy waterproof socks. Among other places, the Dinghy Shop sells them. Alternatively, you can get wetsuit boots.
#5 has a shorty wetsuit on sale for $40 right now, and a full wetsuit for $75 (both with free shipping). I ordered the shorty wetsuit, but I foolishly shipped it to my office... it arrived today, but I had the day off, so I'll get it Monday.

A shorty wetsuit might not extend your season a ton, but I thought I'd give it a try.

If your sailing into the winter I would suggest you get a good quality drysuit that covers all but your arms, then I would wear a splash jacket over the wetsuit, under this you can add a fleece or whatever, also get snug fitting neoprene booties. If your freshwater sailing the water will get much colder than the ocean during the winter. If you flip your boat your going to want to be comfortable in the water and your going to want the added flotation.
How do you know what size to buy? I checked the shorties out at but I couldn't find any explanation of what size the sizes are (does that make sense?).


New Member
I'd stay away from a short wetsuit in the winter. It's OK for 55-60 degree water, but will be completely inadequate in December.

I'd think about a drysuit.
My shorty wetsuit from was delivered yesterday. I tried it on last night. I used the sizing chart (.pdf link in my previous post), and it seems to fit correctly, so I was happy about that. It is (by far) the tightest article of clothing I have probably ever worn in my life though!

I'm looking forward to using it this fall. I agree with Ivy, though, that this probably won't help with sailing in the winter. I was more looking to just extend my sailing season a few weeks earlier in the spring and a few weeks later in the fall.