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PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2014 3:37 pm 
knight of the folding kayak realm
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Joined: Wed Jun 26, 2013 5:19 pm
Posts: 301
Location: Oakland, California
Some thoughts:

Hm, interesting premise: Huge risk in your listed conditions, how do you intend to manage it?

Avoid ice, especially the thin and transparent kind with a sharp edge. This can slice through the hull like a razor blade. See accounts of the 1998/99 Rheinsberger See incident in Germany. Two kayakers lost their lives when this type of ice cut a gash in their Pouch RZ 85.
Gear wise, I would recommend a Marine radio and EPIRB if you go offshore. How will you stay warm, and for how long if you get wet? Cold water survival is surprisingly short. Get a bilge pump and a good spray cover too. How about outriggers? Spare clothes in a dry bag are nice. How much buoyancy does your life jacket actually provide, especially in rough water?
Getting ready: Practice your self rescue skills in protected waters and sail handling in puffy winds, then in progressively more knarly conditions. Know how to dump air out of your sails fast, don't cleat off main and jib sheets.
I recommend going with other experienced kayakers only in those conditions and let people know where and when you go.

Lastly, I would look into sailing in those conditions - "hard wind and big waves"- in the Scandinavian winter with a sailboat actually designed for those conditions. Good Scandinavian examples are Folkboats and Knarrs.

Maybe it is just me, but I like to use the appropriate tool for a job.

Chris

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2014 5:16 pm 
lord high faltbotmeister

Joined: Thu Sep 06, 2007 8:05 am
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Location: atlanta, georgia
I would be even more conservative than Chris, although he certainly has the bases covered for safety. You did not say what kind of sail, but even a small rig can dramatically complicate rescue if you go over. If you turtle you may not be able to recover. If you wear thermal layers under your dry suit you might survive a cold water swim, but for how long I don't know, there are so many factors to consider. There will likely be very little traffic out there, and with small craft and high seas you can become invisible pretty quick. I would not venture farther offshore than my good sense tells me I can swim in 10 minutes or less. For me that is about 200 yards in rough water with bulky suit.

Be safe, enjoy your kayak, let us know how you make out.

g

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2014 11:34 pm 
knight of the folding kayak realm
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Joined: Wed Jun 26, 2013 5:19 pm
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Location: Oakland, California
jarmland,

I entirely understand that you are just chomping at the bit to take your baby out! However, there is a time and place for everything. To go kayaking, and especially kayak sailing now, I would pick a warmer climate. I know, I know, easy for me to say living in California. But even here, I dress up for our (mild) winters, carry safety gear, extra dry clothes and pick my venues carefully. Landing in our local waters (around 54 degrees Fahrenheit) can turn deadly quickly as even some very experienced sailors discovered. You simply last only minutes, not hours. Hypothermia is a absolute killer, you won't have the strength to rescue yourself even...

In adverse conditions sea worthiness in a boat is paramount. I would never consider a fabric skinned small craft, not just a kayak, sea worthy in the conditions which you describe. A Folbot or Knarr on the other hand is exactly that. I would even go one step further and insist on a self bailing cockpit, so when you ship in water from punching into waves it does not go into the bilge but drains out all by itself. That is why I hang onto my old 23 foot Bear. Absolutely seaworthy, a small local one design designed for our local conditions (blustery summertime winds, fog and strong currents = ebb chop!) back in 1931.

And even if there is just a remote chance of ice forming on a nice quiet lake, I would switch to a plastic or wood kayak, This account tells it like it is:
http://www.tagesspiegel.de/weltspiegel/ ... 16604.html
If you do not read German, you can get the gist with Google Translate!

Be safe out there.

Chris

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2014 12:55 am 
Brotherhood of the Golden Paddle

Joined: Sun Aug 16, 2009 10:05 pm
Posts: 1396
Location: South Salem, NY
Hi Jarmland, I've done some winter paddling and sailing here in NY in Jan, Feb and March. More paddling than sailing probably… can't remember exactly.

The long and short of it is your dry suit. Is it in tip top shape? I always wade into the water as a test and to expel any trapped air. This gives you a really good sense of how well you did with your under garment layers. If you get cold… go back and put another layer of thermals on. 50 degree water in a dry suit is like 50 degree air, same for 30 degrees. It's pretty fun actually. I have a neoprene hood and of course gloves and boots are mandatory.

A few weeks ago I had to do some work outside in freezing rain. The only gloves I could find at the moment were wool so I threw a pair of surgical gloves on under the wool and I was amazed at how well that worked. My thinking was that similar to the dry suit if you keep the water off you might stay warmer. I haven't been out in ages and am dying to. I'm definitely going to try the surgical gloves inside my neoprene when I go. Hands are the most vulnerable and they will get wet. Keep them as dry as possible for as long as possible. So leave the greenland paddle home, Ha.

Take your usual safety gear. Radio, whistle, flares, bailing bucket, pump, paddle floats, signal mirror…. etc.

I paddled both the local lake with ice and Long Island sound without ice. It was quite a lot of fun to follow the edge of the ice and even run the bow up on top a few times. Perhaps not the smartest thing in the world… but in a same day tested dry suit… I wasn't worried… too much. Ha. Just be smart and don't let ice get between you and the land. I've had some excitement with ice in big boats and the stuff can move incredibly fast and suddenly you are trapped - so if you're around current, stay close to shore among ice. A lake is much better for ice kayaking.

I'd probably wait until March or April for early sailing… but again, do the water test. If you can sit comfortably with the water up around your neck (keep your hands up like a surgeon) you're good to go. I kept a towel and a watch cap in my dry bag in case I got my head wet.

Keep your safety gear in your vest in case you lose or get separated from the boat. Be prepared, you will have the water to yourself.

Enjoy! and post your experiences.

Here's a perfect day January 9th last year:

Image

February 28, 2013, ice ahead on the right:

Image

Sailing March 11, 2013 with outriggers - T9 = way to tender under sail

Image

d

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2014 1:23 am 
Brotherhood of the Golden Paddle

Joined: Sun Aug 16, 2009 10:05 pm
Posts: 1396
Location: South Salem, NY
I do want to point out one more time that if you can't sit in the water with your dry suit on you have no business being out there. The points Chris and Greg made are fantastically valid.

I'm trying to remember the Coast Guard reminder we have for cold water survival. I think it's something like 1:10:1. If you fall into water around 50˚F without a PFD on you have one minute to overcome the shock of the water. Ten minutes to get back in the boat. After that you can no longer function; and finally one hour to live before the core temp shuts down for good. 1:10:1, I think that's it.

Wearing a PFD increases these numbers a bit, but not a lot. In cold weather the PFD offers such fantastic insulation I never could figure out why guys don't want to wear them.

d

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2015 10:26 pm 
Brotherhood of the Golden Paddle

Joined: Sun Aug 16, 2009 10:05 pm
Posts: 1396
Location: South Salem, NY
Boy looking at those dates and pics... not this year. I can barely get to my shed right now.

d

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 2:09 pm 
Brotherhood of the Golden Paddle
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Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 4:47 pm
Posts: 1712
Location: Arlington, VA (i.e. Wash DC)
He did, but most of the snow in NY melted this week. Just got back from there.

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~'91 Klepper A2 w/ BSD schooner rig.
'64 Klepper Passat/Tradewind and T12 restoration projects.
Non-folding: '84 Hobie 16; early '90s Old Town Canoe.
Previously owned '04 Pakboat Puffin II and '05 Swift.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2015 9:30 pm 
Brotherhood of the Golden Paddle

Joined: Sun Aug 16, 2009 10:05 pm
Posts: 1396
Location: South Salem, NY
Yeah, snow and ice. But as Chris says, it's melting now. Did the tip toe dance to the shed today in my sneakers trying not to get too wet. Mush fest... campout with the Boy Scouts this weekend... honestly can't say I'm looking forward to it. I'd rather be camping in snow than mud.

Anyway, looking forward to getting the dry suit on and hitting the water in the next few weeks with any luck. But I'm not going to set the boat up until the ground is at least reasonable to crab around on.

d

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