Why Frostbite racing Is cool

Published on January 3rd, 2023

If your winter weather is warm and inviting, keep it to yourself. As for the rest of you, this story from SpinSheet Magazine may get you off the couch:


It’s 34 degrees outside. The water temperature measures in the upper 30s. It might get gusty out. It might snow. What would you rather do: lounge on the couch or go sailing? Hundreds of sailors on the Chesapeake Bay choose the latter. Every winter we like to reach out to a few of them to learn their reasoning, their expert winter gear tips, and suggestions for curious would-be winter sailors.

What’s the appeal?
Warren Richter races his J/22 Committed with his partner in racing and life, Tracey Golde. Richter says, “I enjoy frostbite racing to keep our skills sharp during the so called ‘off-season.’ It’s great to get out, get some sunshine, and have fun racing. Makes dusting off the rust in the springtime much easier and also allows for racing that is less boathandling-intensive. It is a great time to train new crew and practice.”

Golde adds, “We’re not sure what we’d do with our time if we didn’t have a reason to be on the water. Racing with just a main and jib as required by frostbite races gives us an opportunity to work on our fleet management without having to worry so much about boat handling. Also, there is usually significantly more wind than during the rest of the year, so we get to practice in different conditions.”

Sail GP

The Committed frostbite team includes Mary Howser, Koralina and James McKenna, Amanda Gates, and Bryan Stout.

Richter notes, “They are all fantastic sailors. We appreciate everything they do to come racing with us.”

Gavin O’Hare, who races ILCA class dinghies (formerly Laser) out of Severn Sailing Association on Sundays, says, “Because the winter is cold, it puts a damper on doing most things outside. Dinghy frostbiting is different.

What better way to break up the week of cold than with two hours of bliss (challenging yourself with cold and conditions, alone on your boat, no crew to rally or lunch to be made for), plus the opportunity to reward yourself with a cold beverage around an open fire immediately afterward!” – Full report

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