Frostbiting: Why it's Worth the Pain

Frosbite sailors endure the bitter cold, blizzard conditions, icy decks and frozen lines—here's why racing in the winter is worth it.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

While most sailors around the country are prepping their boats for warmer weather, others are still thawing out as the frostbite sailing season comes to an end.

Undeterred by the bitter cold, blizzard conditions, icy decks and frozen lines, frostbite sailors at the Boston Sailing Center (BSC) spent this past winter perfecting their sailing skills by racing J/24s on Boston Harbor every weekend from November to mid-March.

Although their experience levels varied from beginning racers to international sailing champions, nearly all the sailors said they decided to frostbite in order to perfect their skills in the “off-season,” stay in shape and embrace the small adventure that is sailing in winter.

Avid frostbiter Kevin Browne, for example, said he was hooked after his first season. “I was always curious about sailing, so I took some classes in the summer. Once summer ended, I asked, ‘Now what?’ and suddenly, here I am, frostbiting. It’s a sailing yen for those that live it. Viva la frostbite!”

And Browne isn’t the only one who can’t get enough of winter sailing. This year, the fleet consisted of 18 boats and some 100 people, all racing from 1100 to 1500 every Saturday. Afterward, the crews warmed up with hot chili and cold beer dockside, while the Race Committee held a chalk-talk review using video footage from the day’s races.

Though competition is tough on the water, the frostbite crowd is close-knit back onshore, which is another reason why most of them spend the winter at the BSC.

“I continue frostbiting because of my crew. If I didn’t sail with such a wonderful group of people, sailing in zero-degree weather with snow goggles on would be a lot more miserable,” said Kathryn Carlson, who has frostbited for six years and is now looking forward to sailing in the summer with her crew. “The group of sailors here, they’re what make it worth the pain.”

Related

01-LEAD-Muros-in-Galicia-IMG_7718-copy

Cruising: the Bay of Biscay

Few bodies of water have such a fearsome reputation—or have exerted as powerful an effect in shaping the course of history—as the Bay of Biscay. Enclosed by the Atlantic coast of France and northern coast of Spain, the bay measures less than 350 miles from headland to headland, ...read more

Ari-video

Ari Huusela Finishes the Vendée Globe

After 116 days at sea, Ari Huusela (Stark) has crossed the line and brought a close to the 9th edition of the Vendée Globe. He is the first Finnish skipper to complete the race. In a race this difficult, making it to the finish is a victory in its own right. Though the last ...read more

NewportBoatShow

Newport International Boat Show Announces Dates

This year marks half a century for New England’s largest boat show, and the celebration will be in person. In a statement released yesterday, Nancy Piffard, Show Director of Newport Exhibition Group said, “We are excited to kick off the boat show season in-person this year… We ...read more

Screen-Shot-2021-03-03-at-9.48.03-AM

World Sailing Trust Launches Global Participation Study

Two years after its global survey on women in sailing, the World Sailing Trust is surveying the entire sport in order to assess equity, diversity and inclusion. The survey will be conducted bi-annually to monitor trends and progress. "By researching the sport, the aim is to ...read more

01A-LEAD-Finished-table

DIY: A Better Saloon Table

The original saloon table in my Down East 45 schooner was a single heavy sheet of 3/4in laminated plywood, 27in wide by 57in long. It was supported on two substantial aluminum pedestals locking into a set of large round collars screwed to the sole. There were two annoying ...read more

02b-screen-shot

Salty Dawgs Recognized by CCA

The Salty Dawg Sailing Association (SDSA) has long been the go-to organization for high value, affordable rallies, but when Covid forced the sudden closure of borders in the Caribbean, it pivoted to organizing the Homeward Bound Flotilla. Its experience organizing rallies came ...read more

FB-BHM-1024

SAIL Black History Month Series: James Forten

James Forten was born on September 2, 1766 in Philadelphia to free Black parents Thomas and Margaret Forten. Forten attended a Quaker school as a young child, then went to work with his father who was a sailmaker. His father died when he was still young, and Forten worked ...read more

sailme-app_ SAIL

5 Ways Sail.me Helps You Monetize Your Boat

Ready to earn some extra funds by renting out your boat or yacht? Sail.me is an interactive service that allows you to monetize your boat in a secure, safe, and easy way. A user-friendly app and website will help you manage reservations, add-ons, and set customized routes to ...read more