Sign up for the CAA Short Course on Weather for Sailors, held at the NYC in Toronto April 5/6, by contacting [email protected]. Tell your friends!
Sailing conditions are impacted by the weather and, in Canada, the weather can change dramatically month to month, day to day and even hour to hour. Hot, cold, wind, waves and fog are things that can put you or your boat at risk. Try to make decisions so that you can handle any foreseeable issues on your own. My perspective is that, while you should always help others when you can, you should not rely on others to get you out of trouble. When you need them, they might be helping someone else, in need of assistance themselves, have gone back to the dock or be unaware that you need their help.
With regards to weather, after safety, I generally prioritize comfort.
My reasoning is that when I am comfortable, I easily perform at a higher level than when I am uncomfortable. Also, I enjoy myself way more. Regardless of other goals, enjoying yourself should be on the list.
I can’t really give you guidelines on what you need to be comfortable as it varies from person to person. If you don’t know, I would ask experienced sailors and be conservative. (You can always remove clothing, but you can’t add a layer you don’t have with you.)
For racing and pleasure sailing, being able to understand weather’s effect on the conditions will not only translate into you being safer and more comfortable, but you will be able to sail more often and get more out of each sailing session.
While racing, understanding weather means you will be able to predict, prepare and capitalize on situations.
There is a fair amount to learn about weather. I am not going to try and explain everything, but here are my random “Deep” thoughts:
Race committee will often have a tough go when a storm front hits the course. The wind will take some time before it settles on a new heading and speed. Often, the next start will be delayed. Be prepared for the delay, take a moment to tune or relax. I often bring more food/drink knowing that you might be on the race course longer than expected. If they do start quickly or if you are racing, be more conservative and look to take advantage in the erratic conditions.