As the crisp autumn air moves in, it can be tempting to pack up the sailing gear and go into sailing hibernation until spring.
In my native country of Canada, many people do just that, and for good reason. That’s one of the reason I love Sydney – although mornings may be dark and cold and the wind usually brings with it an evident chill, the warmth of the afternoon sun always comes as a pleasant reprieve. Hiding away for the winter comes at the loss of many gorgeous days that could be enjoyed on the water.
In Sydney, as well as many other places around the world, winter sailing is a great way to keep active and outdoors all year round.
Winter sailing does bring with it a certain predictable unpredictability that summer doesn’t generally offer. Most summer days bring with them a reliable north-easterly sea breeze. In winter, you can generally rely on a drift around the harbour or a honking, wet, cold and exciting ride.
Besides the enjoyment of an afternoon on the water, winter sailing is also a great way to keep your skills honed and prepare for the next season.
After a few months off the water, pulling your team back together usually reveals a few cobwebs that need to be cleaned up before you can start performing at your best. If you’re competing against teams that have been sailing all winter, your rusty performance in the first few races could cost you the season.
Winter sailing also offers a chance to test out your gear and make sure everything is ship-shape for the upcoming season. If you’ve packed-up the yacht at the end of summer and don’t visit her again until spring, there’s bound to be some unexpected surprises to cause grief at the beginning of the season.
So if you’re thinking of taking the winter off, I’d encourage you to think again. Taking a break every now and again never hurts, but getting out for at least the occasional sail will keep you sane and well prepared for the next season.