Staying on the water this autumn


With the warmer temperatures of summer behind us and autumn drawing in, we’re starting to feel the familiar return of some chiller weather as well as starting to lose some daylight! However this doesn’t mean you need to pack up the boat or windsurfing kit until next spring.

With autumn also comes those stunning colours, clear skies, crisp mornings plus plenty of breeze. And that’s not it! Here are some more great excuses to keep the boat out and stay on the water over the next few months…

Excellent conditions

The UK tends to get some good low pressure systems moving through during the autumn and winter months which can provide some really exhilarating sailing conditions- a mixture of light winds though to medium and blustery winds.

RYA Regional Development Officer Susie Moore explains: “I always feel autumn and winter provide some really exciting sailing, with strong South-Westerly winds and sometimes more challenging conditions. Not only can you push yourself physically but if the weather’s a bit colder it also gives you that nice tingle when you come off the water and warm up after a great sail”

If you’re also into windsurfing, weather conditions can bring anything from flat water blasting to choppier, challenging waters. You’re also more likely to find those great swells for those who love getting out in the waves.

Water temperature

You may be surprised to know that for most the UK, on average, the water temperature in October is still as warm as it is in June!

Sea temperatures should be at their maximum into autumn, while inland water temperatures (although inevitably varying considerably depending on location) may typically colder than the sea in the autumn as sea takes longer to cool.

What better time to practice those tricky manoeuvres without worrying about going for a swim!

Carry on racing

If competition is your thing there are still plenty of opportunities to stay on the race course in all seasons.

Frostbite Series’, which traditionally start early November are hugely popular both coastal and inland, with a number of clubs running local inter-club Frostbite series’ giving you the motivation to keep coming back whatever the weather!

Susie adds: “Continuing to race during the autumn and winter can be a huge incentive to stay on the water and is so much fun- you still get to enjoy that weekly catch up with the people you sail with.

“To stop you getting cold we’re seeing many clubs are simply shortening their races or starting them earlier towards the end of the year which is great as it gives you more time to warm up afterwards. Also don’t forget that lots of clubs have filling comfort food (think jacket potatoes, sausage rolls, chilli etc.) and hot chocolate, tea and coffee on offer after sailing. Perfect!”

Keep fit

Sailing provides heaps of health and fitness benefits including simply clearing our heads by getting out in the fresh air, so why not make the most of them all year round?

Both sailing and windsurfing can provide a full body workout and even more so during a strong windy winter sail. You can also build core strength and balance as well as working out arms, abs, lower back and legs! What better way to earn your Sunday roast!

“A big incentive for me to try to get out on the water all year round is not to lose my fitness” Susie adds.

“If you keep training and practicing your sailing skills through autumn and winter you’ll find yourself ahead of the game when the ‘official’ sailing season begins again and a good few steps ahead of those who have to start from scratch!”

Train like a pro all year round!

The British Sailing Team’s Sam Whaley competes in the Laser class and can be found on the water all year round.

Sam says: “My training never really changes depending on the time of year so I usually sail 4-6 times a week in a variety of locations. Often I will be out on the water at the WPNSA or back home at Swanage during the autumn and winter months maybe going further afield depending on competitions and training schedules.

“Being out on the water all the time means that you never experience a drop off in your sailing performance and are able to try out new techniques without any time having to get back up to speed. You feel more natural in the boat and over time develop a great sense for the wind shifts, boat speed and more. 

“It does get much colder, generally windier and the days get shorter so you really have to plan more efficiently. A nice winter wetsuit makes a huge difference and combined with a few winter thermal layers you can really be nice and toasty on the water. 

“The other great thing about sailing in those colder months is having the water (and the sailing club) to myself all year round. It also keeps me in good shape all year and it’s a great feeling coming off of the water after a slightly chilly session to a nice warm shower. Makes you appreciate the smaller things in life.”

If you want more information on how to get out on the water this autumn visit