wetsuits and sailing

#2
I live in Michigan & have used a wetsuit a couple of times already. I have both the short sleeve/short pant style & full body style depending on how cold it is.
 
#3
I sail in upstate New York and I will sail in a wet suit in early spring, and late fall. I've worn my short one two times now, and when it gets colder I will wear my long one
 
#5
what kind of wetsuit do you recommend?
That all kinda depends on how cold of water you sail in, if you have fowl weather gear, how cold the air gets, the chance you think of being in the water.

If your sailing in cold water and cold water, I would recommend a long one (with full arms and legs) but if the water is still somewhat warm I would just go with a short one, I personally prefer my shortie. But it all depends on your comfort level, and the temperature of the water and air.

hope that helped!
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
#6
Agree with everything said above, but you should be aware of one thing regarding long sleeve suits - you will notice your arms get more tired with a long sleeve suit as it takes some amount of energy to bend the wetsuit. I look at the wetsuit as a means of avoiding freezing if you go in, and figure short sleeves will be ok for the amount of time I will end up in the drink if I go in.

Another alternative is a drysuit, which does as its name implies. YOu can go swimming in it and whatever you have on inside won't get wet. However, it does get moist inside the suit as you perspire.

BB
 
#7
i would be looking to keep myself dry in the event of a capsize to avoid hypothermia. I'd be sailing in water that is cold in the spring. If I would capsize, I'd be in the water a while--likely at least half an hour to an hour. I have asthma, and spasms from hypothermia could kill me. So far, I have not gone sailing in the spring but thinking of venturing out. Having sadi all that, what is the difference between the dry and wet suit? Any advice on which to go with?
 
#8
Condensed version:

Dry suit: You capsize, your body stay dry. Water doesn't permeate the suit except at leaks around the wrist bands and neck band.

Wet Suit: You capsize, you get wet. Water will fill a wet suit. You will initially feal cold water against your body. Your body will slowly warm up the water in the wet suit and the wet suit insulation trys to keep much of the body heat in the suit. Generally the thicker the wet suit, the better the insulation against heat transfer.
 

Wavedancer

Upside down?
Staff member
#9
i would be looking to keep myself dry in the event of a capsize to avoid hypothermia. I'd be sailing in water that is cold in the spring. If I would capsize, I'd be in the water a while--likely at least half an hour to an hour. I have asthma, and spasms from hypothermia could kill me. So far, I have not gone sailing in the spring but thinking of venturing out. Having sadi all that, what is the difference between the dry and wet suit? Any advice on which to go with?
First a question:
Why would you be in the water so long? Righting a fish should take less than ten minutes. It's a skill one can practice (when the water isn't too cold) and a highly recommended one. But without protection, even ten min in freezing water is (way) too long.

Wet and dry suits are entirely different. Ideally, wet suits fit your body like a glove and are made of neoprene (likely with a lining and extra padding in strategic places). They come in different styles: shorties, long john, whole body etc. Also in different thicknesses.

Dry suits go over other clothes that you might be wearing to keep you comfortable. Consequently, they are bulkier, but if the gaskets (neck, wrists and maybe ankles) don't leak, a dry suit will keep you dry (except for possible perspiration). A dry suit will limit your movements somewhat, but I haven't found that to be a problem. There is the less expensive, non-breathing, variety and the more expensive breathing kind (think Gore-Tex, but there are other membranes these days). Dry suits often go on sale in early spring. A good fit is crucial, obviously, for a wet or dry suit.

I frostbite and I use my dry suit once the water temp drops below ~50F.
My suit has booties attached (hence, no ankle gaskets), but there are suits where you use separate booties.
Now, if my fingers wouldn't freeze after a few races, I would really enjoy this midwinter nonsense :)

To get a a better idea of what's available you might want to take a look at an on-line catalog such as the one from APS (www.apsltd.com).
 
#10
I appreciate your response--very helpful--and your question. My concern re capsize actually covers two boats: the sunfish and the flying scot. The Scot is 850 lbs and would need a tow if capsized. I have significant muscle damage so that I cannot lift and pull heavily; even just sailing I have to be careful with how much time I'm out holding onto a mainsheet in a breeze. So likely in the event of a capsize even with a sunfish I would need assistance. Thus I never go out alone; my wife is always with me. That's why I guesstimated as much time as I did.

Do you find an advantage to the dry over wet or vice-versa?

Again, your info has already been very helpful to me--thanks!!
 

Wavedancer

Upside down?
Staff member
#11
Thanks for the explanation.
In your particular situation, I believe that a dry suit is the safer solution since you write that you might spend a lot of time in cold water.
Unfortunately, a dry suit is more expensive, although, as you can see from the other input in this thread, many have two or more wet suits to adapt to different conditions. Life is precious though, and the money spent on a dry suit is worth it, IMHO. If you treat a dry suit with some care (rinsing it off after use and waxing the seals prior to putting it away for the summer), it can last for many years.

BTW, I 'managed' to capsize a Flying Scot in my early sailing days and they are difficult to right :eek:. I hope you have a 'turtle preventer' rigged at the top of your sail, because turtling a FS is a real disaster.
 
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