This year, the sailing season on Narragansett Bay is starting a bit earlier than usual—thanks to wingfoiling, and my first new wetsuit since 2011. We’ve already been out several times, and I’m loving the combination of cool/cold water and steady breeze. I’m even jibing reliably, something I could only dream about when we ended last year’s season!
So, just in case you’re considering joining the fun, here are 5 reasons to start winging as soon as possible this year—even though it requires wearing boots.
1. Cold air is denser
Wingfoiling is a literal Goldilocks balance between too much sail area and not enough, and denser air makes it possible to achieve liftoff with a smaller wing. Smaller wings are both lighter and have a shorter wingspan. And if you think about the geometry of a wingtip speeding along just above the surface, you’ll understand how significant a few inches can be in the battle to avoid a “digger.”
2. The air is warmer than the water
In the fall, when the water is often warmer than the air, the breeze skips up and away from the surface rather than attaching to it. This time of year, the breeze is much steadier within what physical oceanographers call the boundary layer. And when you’re skimming along just above that boundary at a similar speed to the wind, such details make a noticeable difference.
3. The harbor is still mostly empty
Most boats haven’t been launched yet, which means a lot more open acreage for wingfoiling.
4. You can pick your weather
With boards stored in the van (and not in need of any varnishing or painting), it’s easy to just GO whenever wind and work allow. Also, beach parking is easy this time of year.
5. It feels really CLEANSING!
There’s something about walking (or falling) into cold salt water that makes me feel very healthy and clean. I’m not (yet) ready to join the crowd that swims year-round, and I’m definitely appreciating my new wetsuit (turns out neoprene technology has come a very long way in the past decade), but I now have a fresh appreciation for the benefits of cold-water swimming.
Have you started your sailing season yet? Share your excitement in the comments below, or send me an email. I read every single one, with gratitude.
And because I know you’re curious, here’s
What I’m wearing
- O’Neill 4/3 wetsuit (with full arms and legs)
- Showers Pass socks
- Gill sailing boots, circa 2002 (also used for winter SUP adventures)
- Zhik impact jacket and helmet