This post is for all the people who are thinking of going sailing in those windy days of autumn and wonder how that feels. Today the wind forecast was for 20 knots, so a couple people who are "flexible job-wise" met at our sailing club to go out. We had two sailors on the Nacra (catamaran), me on a Radial and another one on a Laser.
I was wearing a long wetsuit, a shirt, a sweater and heavy splash gear. I did not feel cold. However, the Nord-West wind was so gusty, that it was very hard to sail. The wind went from barely drifting to knocking-me-over in a snap. I was so lucky to stay dry on all my capsizes. Since other people were at the club, ready to save me if needed, I stayed out for a couple of short back-and-forth trips close to our docks. Fortunately, the big multihull-boats from the neighbouring club were mostly gone, so I had a clear playground. In some of the puffs, I would really go fast, hiking well and blasting over the flat water. I actually felt well in control of the boat and that was fun!
Worst thing for me was actually the bike ride home. I had to wear two jackets and my sailing gloves. I should have brought thicker biking gloves, since my hands were hurting all the time. And I had to ride against the wind.
I think that the weather got actually colder after noon, since my friend took his boat out later than me and couldn't stay out because his hands are freezing. The folks on the cat didn't stay long either. Came back in after their first capsize, noting that the Nacra is hard to righten in wind this strong.
Summary: it was a worthwhile experience for me and I think I will go again before the end of season. With more steady wind that's not blowing as hard, sailing should still be fun and not so cold either.