As we approach the UK's winter, it's worth noting that Clipper Yachts are not heated! Some will have a small oil-filled heater & dehumidifier which is aimed, largely, at trying to keep the crew area and sail bags (in the same place on a Clipper 68 training yacht) as dry as possible when alongside and between courses.
However, overnight and when at sea, Winter on a Clipper Training Yacht is cold. When there are lots of people below, it can also get wet, with lots of warm breath and a cold deck making for a chilly rainforest in some conditions.
The best way to plan for this is to invest in a specialist marine sleeping bag. Ocean Sleepwear do one which is Goretex ™ lined and has dual fleece interiors. These are great bags, but not cheap. The basic mummy-shaped bag comes in at over £250 and the square 'Volvo' bag is over £300. Our pre-used classified ads also have Ocean Bags from time to time.
An alternative to this has been sourced by me and is available online for about £50. It's the Mountain Warehouse Sutherland sleeping bag.
We did a quick review of the Sutherland Bag here. And the Ocean Bag here.
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The Sutherland Sleeping Bag is perfect for fishing trips into the wild. Designed in durable ripstop polyester fabric, it is fleece lined for better insulation and extra warmth when out camping on cold winter evenings.
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We are now offering online Zoom tutorials for those looking to improve their sailing skillset. We can cover any topic, either on a Q&A stream or a topic-specific tutorial.
Alternatively, visit our sister website, FREE SAILING TUTORIALS, for free weekly videos on all things sailing.
This is a video recording of our first monthly webinar broadcast on our Fierce Turtle Facebook page. We hold a webinar on the last Saturday of each month.
If you are training in the UK between October and April, I seriously suggest you consider buying one of these warm, fleece-lined sleeping bags. The Volvo Ocean bag is brilliant, but about 5 x the price of this bag.
The Sutherland bag can be ordered on Amazon and delivered in the UK. They sell for about £60 at the time of writing.
In this short video I discuss what you should be thinking about packing for a cold ocean leg. In this context, I consider Cold Ocean Legs to be Legs 2, 3 , 4, 6 and Leg 8.
Fierce Turtle (Packing for Training) : http://bit.ly/PackingListfortraining
Many crew us crocs for below deck, but on deck I think you have to go a long way to beat the Keen sandal / shoe. It is ventilated and has a closed toe, protecting you from all the hazards on deck.
If you are interested in any of the items in my essential deck kit dry bag, click here
Sailing in the Southern Ocean in Summer is a tough old gig, even for the pros on The Volvo Ocean Race. It seems no coincidence that so many use the Le Chameau Neptune boot for the really tough, cold race legs.
Click here for our review of the Le Chameau Neptune. Clipper Crew can claim 15% OFF the Le Chameau Neptune if purchased in February 2018.
The DISCOUNT CODE is WARMFEET. Just enter the code at checkout.
Keeping warm at sea is just a matter of preparation and attention to detail.
Of course, on some of the warmer legs, such as leg 1, leg 7 and much of leg 5, keeping warm on board is not a problem. In fact, dealing with 40+ degree temperatures and high levels of humidity below deck is the biggest challenge. If you want to read more on these warmer legs and how to keep cool, click here.
In my experience, staying warm requires that you look after yourself by eating well, staying active and staying as dry as possible and as well insulated as possible. Staying active on the race is rarely a big problem but there is an art to choosing the correct clothing for the conditions.
On a very cold night at sea, when it's wet and rough, with water over the deck (and the crew), staying dry and warm without overheating when busy changing sails, can be tricky. The start of a watch might have you thinking you are under-dressed, and feeling the bitter cold and yet 30 minutes later you might be sweating profusely having just dragged the yankee 1 down the deck, battling against sea state and gale force winds.
Understanding the best way to layer is therefore important. For a cold ocean, you should be dressed as follows;
This is my suggested packing list for Level 1 Training.
Other useful stuff to consider:
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Mark Burkes is a former Clipper Race Skipper, Round the World Crew, Clipper Training Skipper & jobbing RYA Yachtmaster Instructor (Ocean). He has over 200,000 miles logged.
Mark also writes professionally both online and offline and has written for Yachting World.
Fierce Turtle is not linked to nor is it in any way accredited by the splendid folk at Clipper Ventures. All opinion is our own.
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