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Author Topic:   COLD water!..small boats
gunnelgrabber posted 09-29-2001 11:22 AM ET (US)   Profile for gunnelgrabber   Send Email to gunnelgrabber  
can i get some of you experienced cold water latitude boaters to tell me what advice you'd give a warm water, southern type that wants to circumnavigate superior in a whaler or a canoe?....physical and other requirements that you'd suggest?....besides don't do it, of course... thanks...lm
Macman posted 09-29-2001 12:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for Macman  Send Email to Macman     
I am quite conversant with cold weather, as I live on the coast of Maine.I boat from April until Nov. on the ocean and start camping season in March. The secret to comfort is the clothing that you wear, obviously. This is critical in an open boat. I just returned from a cruise on the bay...46* when I left, 58* when I returned.
Get some great rain not skimp on this! You need it as a wind barrier even when not raining. I prefer bib type pants (helly hansen) and a gore-tex jacket.
Leave the cotton home. Get yourself some good lightweight and mid-weight cool-max or similar underwear. When it gets colder, fleece clothing (100-200 weight)as a second layer is essential.I prefer a vest;and it is also advisable to have a pullover for colder weather. On your feet, poly- pro liner socks and a layer of Smartwool or something similar. Neoprene socks work as well for really nasty weather. I prefer LL Bean hunting shoes on my feet, but any rubber boot would probably do. I keep a fleece cap and a gore-tex rain hat handy.
For the hands...poly-pro gloves with a pair of neoprene gloves to go over them.
This may seem like overkill, but trust need all of this at some point.Dress in layers; take clothes off before you get hot and put them on before you get cold. If you are planning to paddle, you will be changing layers frequently.
All of this stuff can be bought at www. at a reasonable price. I use this stuff spring, fall, and winter...good for all activities, including boating. I actually like the cold weather (well, up to a point!).It often makes for solitude, and the people that you do encounter are just as crazy as you!
Macman posted 09-29-2001 03:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for Macman  Send Email to Macman     
I forgot one thing. I know that this is politically incorrect, and against all advice in terms of cold weather travel. Be that as it may, there is nothing better than a wee shot of Schnapps when the going gets tough. The psychological effects far outweigh the physical effects!
gunnelgrabber posted 09-29-2001 06:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for gunnelgrabber  Send Email to gunnelgrabber     
thanks. you covered the body requirements very well and that all makes good sense. please tell me about what you do with your boat when things get wild and wooley.i pull a canoe out of the water and tie it hard to something stout...what do you do with a 17' boat?...big rocks, big (cold) waves, no sheltered coves, deep water and rocky bottoms?....dangerous? yes, but i'd like to know how you handle that part of it too..appreciate your thinking on it....lm
mjd65 posted 09-29-2001 10:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for mjd65  Send Email to mjd65     
you got the name
Grab the gunnel and head into the wind and keep the motor running. you will be all set.

Lake Breeze Rage

jimh posted 09-29-2001 11:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Within the last 5 years or so, I recall reading an article in a boating magazine by someone who had completed a circumnavigation of Lake Superior in a outboard-powered boat.

Their biggest problem was obtaining fuel along the NE shore. There are many stretches up there with very few facilities.

That author ended up having to buy gasoline from some commercial fishermen he chanced to meet, otherwise he would have been stranded in a couple of ports. This despite careful planning and having much extra gas on board in cockpit tanks.

If anyone recalls this article I would appreciate a pointer to it. I probably still have the magazine in a pile somewhere around the house, and I would like to re-read it myself!


gunnelgrabber posted 09-30-2001 02:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for gunnelgrabber  Send Email to gunnelgrabber     
thank you...lm
Eric posted 10-04-2001 02:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for Eric  Send Email to Eric     
Look into a sea anchor for really bad conditions. When it's rough you can keep the bow pointed in the proper direction without the motor running.
Jurisproodenz posted 10-04-2001 04:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jurisproodenz  Send Email to Jurisproodenz     
Jimh: I too remember reading that article (or was it in two successive issues?) in a boating magazine,... I seem to recall that it was in "Boating." The boat used (I think) was 23 Whaler Walkaround, engines on a bracket(?). I also recall that the guys who did it felt that their boat was barely up to the task given the conditions they faced and that fuel was a serious problem. I think that this was more than 5 years ago, though. Perhaps 1994? At the time I had recently brought my Mako 21 from Ft. Lauderdale to Charleston on its own hull and remember thinking that these guys were nuts (but still jealous of the adventure).

As to doing it ... in summer I hope? Superior can get unbelievably, wickedly rough in a short period of time.

ALAN G posted 10-06-2001 07:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for ALAN G  Send Email to ALAN G     
Besides all the other advice:
1. Bring a wet suit/survival suit. Whalers do capsize and you can find yourself in the drink with the engine OOC.
2. Bring along an extra engine, mounted and ready to start...make sure it has a long enough shaft so it won't ventilate in heavy seas and run extra gas from a separate tank in case the main tank is contaminated. (you do have a fuel/water separator don't you?)
3. Watch the weather. Stay up to date on weather forecasts. It is fun to get blown around in 80degree weather/water....not so on Lake Gitcheegoomee
4. Consider a helmet with face shield. Wind, spray, rain, or hail (feels like rubber bullets) are easy to keep out of your eyes, especially if you are trying to make speed.
5. Let someone know your itinerary/flight plan. Does not sound macho, but it is the smart/safe thing to do. That way, at least the Coast Guard will know where to start a search if the worst happens. Also assume you have a VHF radio and cell phone?
6. Go and enjoy! When you return you will feel good about meeting the challenges.
gunnelgrabber posted 10-06-2001 09:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for gunnelgrabber  Send Email to gunnelgrabber     
thank you for that information..lm
LKS posted 10-07-2001 11:47 AM ET (US)     Profile for LKS  Send Email to LKS     
I believe Lakeland Boating carried an article on cruising this area. Will check my back issues to see if I can locate it. Will post citation if I find it. -- lks

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