Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Blow, Blow, Thou Winter Wind





Last week was the coldest week of the winter (so far) here in Rhode Island.

On Thursday morning when we drove over to my son's house to babysit our grandsons, it was 4°F.

I went for a run later that day when the temperature was 19°F with the wind chill making it "feel like" 4°F.

I used to have a rule that I wouldn't run when it was less than 20°F. After that run on Thursday I still think that's a good rule. Brrrrr!

But it's surprising how quickly you acclimatize to the cold weather. When it "warmed up" at the weekend to the high 20's it really did feel warm. Well, comparatively warm.

So I started thinking back to January and February in 2010 when, for reasons I can't explain, I really got hooked on Laser sailing in the middle of a New England winter and wrote posts like Brain Freeze and  I Love Winter (which got me into a lot of trouble with CUSOSPUSSTAG but that's a whole other story.)

The forecast for Sunday was for around 10 knots maybe gusting to 20 knots, and for temps in the high 20's maybe even 30. So on Sunday morning I woke up all excited about going frostbiting again. I hitched up the Laser trailer to my trusty Subaru and headed down to Newport.







It was a gloriously sunny day with a puffy shifty north-westerly. (Is there any other kind of north-westerly.)

It was very reminiscent of that I Love Winter day. Similar conditions. Similar feelings.

When I'm frostbiting on days like this and I am doubtful if I will be able to hang in there for all the races, I always get this feeling of a (small) victory as soon as I have launched. Hey, I went sailing today! If I only sail one race I can count it on the journey to 100 days sailing this year. I am already a winner.

I did get a little pain in my fingertips after the first race. But I soon shook it out.

And I did get a mild attack of the dreaded thumb cramps at the end of the third race. I was going to sail in if I couldn't get rid of them. But after a bit of hand stretching I was fine, and I completed all six races.

The air temperature was 31°F. The water temperature was 35.6°F. I never felt cold all day. But there was ice all over the deck when I sailed back to the beach with a big smile on my face.

I have written before how one bad experience can almost put me off Laser sailing for months. The reverse is also true. Sailing on a spectacular day like Sunday has awoken my enthusiasm for sailing in the coldest months of the year again. There's something very special about dragging your boat across a snow-covered beach to launch and then sailing in sub-freezing temperatures. As I said, I can't explain it. It's one of those things that you just have to experience to understand.

And I didn't feel cold at all.

I love winter!


Ice on foredeck after sailing


12 comments:

O Docker said...

I think you're right. These are just mental games we play with ourselves. The human mind can learn to accept almost anything as tolerable. When I lived in New Jersey, I thought a day that never warmed past 30 degrees was cold.

But after years in California, I've trained myself to accept the fact that anything under 50 degrees is cold.

bonnie said...

And when I was a kid in Hawai'i, seventy degrees was sweater weather.


JP said...

That's so true. After last summer's trip up at 67N sailing at this time of year in UK waters doesn't sound so scary.

Joe Rousé said...

I remember freezing at night when it was 67 degrees in Hawai'i.

Tillerman said...

I remember freezing at night when it was 6.7 degrees in New Jerse'y,

my2fish said...

last week, I think Monday, it was ZERO degrees (F) when I attempted to start my car. wind chills were down in the negative teens for several days that week. most lakes in Michigan have some varying thickness of ice cover, so while the thought of frostbiting is interesting to me - it is a bit hard to fathom doing it here.

and I don't know where to put the apostrophe in Michigan. Michi'gan. Mic'higan. still not sure.

Kevin Bacon said...

It always feels like six degrees wherever I am.

Doc Häagen-Dazs said...

Where I am, it got down to 39 degrees just before dawn for about a week. That's too cold to do anything. Even blog. Because you guys would ridicule me if I did.

theknittingsailor.com said...

I've not been in the water long enough to think this is starting to look appealing.... if only the weather was even good enough to get to the lake!

Nick Lachey said...

It always feels like 98 degrees wherever I am.

Pythagoras said...

Wherever I am, it always seems to be 90 degrees.

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