Sunday, May 08, 2011

Wet and Dry

One of the regular readers of this blog commented on my last post about actual sailing...

Geez, no one cares about what you were actually doing yesterday.

We want more interesting stuff.

Tell us what you were WEARING! Who made your hiking pants? How old is the launch ramp? What happened on that spot in 1629? What county were your great grandparents born in? What do the heraldic symbols in your family's coat of arms mean?

I assume this was a post-modernist ironic statement about the commentary on the TV for that wedding which was happening on the same day that I was actually sailing. And he is right. How could we get through a long boring event like a baseball game or a royal wedding without some of the background color that the commentators provide?

I must admit I was a little peeved that he implied that my account of one of my rare days of actual sailing was as boring as a royal wedding and needed to be spiced up a bit. But since he appears to be more interested in what I am wearing than in actual sailing, here goes.

Wetsuit or drysuit? That is the big question facing Laser sailors in colder weather. Each has its adherents.

Being a total wimp I have always been a big drysuit fan. At the first hint of wintry weather at the start of a frostbite season I switch over to wearing a drysuit. With latex booties, and latex gloves in the coldest weather, I am totally sealed from the elements from the neck down. More importantly I am totally dry, and with enough layers of dry clothes I can stay warm in the coldest weather and the coldest water.

For my first two sails of the Spring back in April I wore a drysuit too. It wasn't entirely for comfort; I was sailing in areas where there weren't any other boats around midweek so early in the season so I felt safer in a drysuit in case anything bad happened and I ended up spending a long time in the water. Writing that post about Safety (but not actually yet taking any of the extra precautions discussed in that post) may have spooked me a bit too.

For my third sail of the Spring I went over to Bristol Harbor for a blast around in a 8-12 knot southerly. Hey, it was Tuesday so it must be Bristol.

And this time I left the drysuit at home and sailed in my wetsuit. I was plenty warm enough in the wetsuit and felt so much more at home in the boat than on the previous sail when I was decidedly Rusty. Certainly the wind was a lot steadier but I was also much less clumsy in the boat.

A lot of the top guys in the frostbiting world wear wetsuits all winter. They abhor drysuits. They say that they don't feel in touch with the boat properly in a drysuit. Up until now I had thought they were being too pernickety with all that Zen talk about needing to be at one with the boat etc. etc. but on Tuesday I think I finally understood what they are getting at. If I ever do a full frostbiting season again I think I will stick with the wetsuit as long as I can bear it. No more wimping out for the sake of staying dry and warm.

And you can pee in a wetsuit.

How did I do? Am I still as boring as a royal wedding?


Bluevark said...

Only problems with drysuits is that they don't keep me dry.

I find that even on a cold day, if it is sunny and I avoid going swimming, I end up with very soggy socks and damp clothes due to the collection of perspiration in the closed environment of the drysuit - yuk :(

bonnie said...

Well, you CAN pee in a wetsuit. It would just be really, really, really disgusting. :D

As you saw on Facebook, I just had my first wetsuit trip of the season too - it was nice, I had watched our Laser sailors do just fine falling in while wearing wetsuits on Saturday, and I will be in my drysuit on Friday, Saturday and Sunday (the Instructor Certification Exam I'm taking involves lots and lots of swimming), and it was SO nice yesterday that I just decided to give myself a break this weekend. It was NICE.

O Docker said...

Who would be so rude as to ask for more interesting content?

I must have spent 10 minutes studying just the photo of the vacuum cleaner on this post. Isn't that the 80-liter model AC802J from the Hangzhou Chuankong General Equipment Company? That's one impressive wet-dry vac.

But why are you wearing any kind of 'suit' at all to go sailing? Baydog took his whole family sailing over the weekend, and none of them was wearing a suit - not even the wiener dog.

Pat said...

Keelboat, heavily ballasted. Windscreen, dodger, bimini top, side curtains. All buttoned up. Nice and dry. Except for the somewhat frozen concoction coming out of the blender. VW: hypepity

Tillerman said...

But keelboats aren't Olympic any more.

O Docker said...

I think I've missed my window of opportunity to mount an Olympic campaign.

tillerman said...

Yeah, but if even the old farts who run ISAF are saying that keelboats aren't worthy to represent our sport in the Olympics, doesn't that mean that they are not part of the sport of sailing any more? Aren't they basically extinct now?

O Docker said...

Tell that to the wiener dog.

Tiff said...

But 'in depth' commentary is a particularly english thing, don't you think? Anyone who's ever listened to Test Match Special on radio 4 would have to agree on this point.
In fact something exciting happened at a cricket match only last week - and it made headline news here:

Post a Comment