Frostbiting: Why it's Worth the Pain - Sail Magazine

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:
Publish date:
frosbite-pic-story

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

Outremer45

Boat Review: Outremer 45

It’s funny the way things that work right almost inevitably tend to look right as well. Case in point: the Outremer 45, a catamaran that can’t help but turn heads with its large rig, nicely sculpted cabintrunk and narrow, purposeful bows. Better yet, under sail the boat more than ...read more

Sunset-Tyrrel-Bay

Charter: Glorious Grenada

In the wake of the hurricanes that devastated the Virgin Islands last year many charterers ended up going farther south to Grenada and the Grenadines where they found the sailing excellent and the vibe just fine“God must have been a sailor when he created the Caribbean,” a friend ...read more

WaterLinesNov

Waterlines: Tangled Up in Pots

I learned to sail on the Maine coast as a boy, and one of the things my elders taught me was to respect fishing gear. If you got caught up with a lobster pot, you did everything you could to get clear without cutting the pot warp. It represented a family’s livelihood and thus was ...read more

7353

Harken’s Reflex 3 top-down Furler

Furl PowerAre you afraid of flying—spinnakers, that is? Harken’s new Reflex 3 top-down furler will tame A-sails on monohulls from 44-58ft and multis from 39-55ft, and Code 0’s on 39-54ft monos and 36-50ft multis. All you do is heave on the furling line and the sail will roll up ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell.Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.comDitch the stress Owners of high-freeboard yachts best boarded via the stern sugar-scoop like to back them into a slip, but the process can be fraught on a windy day or when there’s a current running, ...read more

Sun-Odyssey-490-Bertrand_DUQUENNE-aft

Boat Review: Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 490

True innovation in monohull sailboat design can be a bit elusive these days. That’s not to say that there are no more new ideas, but it does seem that many new tweaks and introductions are a bit incremental: let’s say evolutionary rather than revolutionary. Just when it seems ...read more