Any magic cure for cold hands and feet.

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Graham_U
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Any magic cure for cold hands and feet.

Post by Graham_U » Mon Sep 20, 2004 08:51

I'm trying to keep my enthusiasm up for windsurfing through the winter, last year (my first with my own kit) I stopped in about Oct and didn’t go again until May. Now I’m about to go off for 2 weeks in Bitez, and I know it’s going to be freezing when I get back.

Anyone got any tips on how to keep my feet and hands warm? I seemed to have poor circulation to the extremities, always have. Lose feeling very quickly in the hands and feet. The rest of me is fine, even in a couple of sessions over the last week, I’ve started to lose feeling in my feet. Boots full of gravel that I can hardly feel! So it’s not looking good for the rest of the year!!

Quite frankly if I cannot find a solution then I’ll probably give up again until next year, as it may be wimpish, but I get so damn painful and miserable when I start to lose feeling like this. This is the main reason why it took me so long to buy kit in the UK.

I’ve got a decent 5mm/Titanium wintersuit with matching boots, but to be honest its not my core body temp that’s the problem. Although I’m seriously considering trying my shortie under the wintersuit. But it’s the hands and feet that worry me most. Are there any items people recommend or other tips.
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MartinF
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Re: Any magic cure for cold hands and feet.

Post by MartinF » Mon Sep 20, 2004 19:03

Graham_U wrote:Anyone got any tips on how to keep my feet and hands warm? I seemed to have poor circulation to the extremities, always have. Lose feeling very quickly in the hands and feet. The rest of me is fine, even in a couple of sessions over the last week, I’ve started to lose feeling in my feet. Boots full of gravel that I can hardly feel! So it’s not looking good for the rest of the year!!
I can sympathise with you. Although I don't suffer this to anything like the same extent, I know others who do.

Have you ever spoken to a GP about it? It sounds like Raynaud's disease which - from what I understand - is a complaint of the nervous system inappropriately shutting down circulation to the extremities. A good Omega 3 supplement may be worth trying (helps circulation), but it almost certainly wouldn't be a magic cure.

One thing you should check is to ensure your wetsuit isn't too tight around the forearms, wrists, calves & ankles.
Graham_U wrote:I’ve got a decent 5mm/Titanium wintersuit with matching boots, but to be honest its not my core body temp that’s the problem. Although I’m seriously considering trying my shortie under the wintersuit. But it’s the hands and feet that worry me most. Are there any items people recommend or other tips.
Slightly perversely, this may have the opposite of the desired effect - by adding more layers of (tight) neoprene, the circulation might be impacted. And like you say, it's the extremeities that are the problem.

You could try gloves. Personally, I can't get on with them 'cos my hands are so small, that with the extra layer I end up straining to get my hands round the boom which causes all sorts of unpleasantness. I have some palmless neoprene mitts which get around that problem, but I just don't like them. Gloves may also constrict the wrist. - Bad news.

Could be the most effective remedy is to have frequent breaks - shake out the hands & feet to get the circulation going again.

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Re: Any magic cure for cold hands and feet.

Post by spinout » Mon Sep 20, 2004 20:56

Used to sail on Scotland in the depths of winter (I was younger then) and have had some of the problems you mention.

FWIW - a few tips:

1. keep as warm as you can for as long as you can before entering the water (i.e. while rigging)
2. Take a flask of hot drink
3. make sure you have watertight boots and a good seal around the ankles
5. A high % of body heat is lost through the head - try a hat or hood (even if you look like a tw*t)

My biggest problem was usually my hands. Worth trying various types of gloves (many people swear by marigolds or surgical gloves) but I never got on with them. One tip which did help was to use Neutrgena cream - liberally applied particularly to he backs of hands. This stuff was developed for Norweigan Fisherman so should help!

Lastly, I usually stop after sailing after 5/ 10 minutes and make a big (and usually painful) effort to warm my hands up by blowing/slapping etc. Once they are warm again the problem seems to diminish.

Alternatively - have two kids under 5 and give up any chance of sailing whatever the weather ;-)

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Chilly Extremities!

Post by Viv Powell » Tue Sep 21, 2004 17:56

I also suffer with loss of circulation in the hands. I start by losing feeling and colour in the last two two fingers on each hand and progress from there. It happened to me in Bigbury in July this year which was very disappointing! Just shows how cold it has been this summer.

Thanks for the Neutragena idea, that is definitley worth a try; I do not get on with gloves either for the same reason as Martin, small hands.

I did try a hood once but it affected my balance, I think because my ears were covered - odd anatomy obviously!! A hat may be worth a try. :?

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Post by Graham_U » Wed Sep 22, 2004 12:45

Thanks for the suggestions; any others are welcome, as I'll need something to get me out after 2 weeks in the sun.

I normally sail in fingerless sailing mits, without too much problems. They were a present from my better half who got feed up of seeing my hands totally wrecked when we've been on holiday. But I've never tried anything with fingers; although Neil has offered a lone of his old gloves that he doesn’t get on with.

Like those above my hands are small for a man. But my technique is so bad that it might actually improve it if I cannot cling on to the boom for dear life. It annoys the hell out of me that when I finally get going on a good plane, I get to the end of the run to find that the lines have unhooked as I’ve been clinging on to the boom so hard.

One of the main problems is probably that I have my lines too loose, so that I can hook in early and take the weight off. The wind at the Cotswold water park is normally so gusty that you consistently go from nothing to being over powered, so if I have the lines to short I end up saying a wet hallo to my sail a lot. I made so much progress that day at Axbridge when you could rely on a good strong constant wind. As much as I enjoy the sport I realize how far behind the level of most of the other nomads.
Graham

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Post by Al Donald » Wed Sep 22, 2004 20:45

I'll just add my two pen'th:
I manage to sail right through the winter at Axbridge where the water will obviously be colder than the sea. However ideally the air temperature would be 10degC or more. I wear a water repellant fleece hat (Peter Storm) which is tight fitting and very warm. I would also wear fleece socks inside my boots, a "body warmer" shirt under the wetsuit and a windcheater top over the wetuit. Last winter I tried an old pair of dinghy sailing gloves which have neoprene backs and also extend over the wrists. I cut out the palms and the insides of the fingers to maintain grip on the boom, and I was surprised at how effective this is. This allowed me to sail in only 8degC air temp. (I must be desparate!).
One other thing, cold water does wonders for speeding up your water starts and improving your gybes! :wink:
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Post by MartinF » Wed Sep 22, 2004 21:31

Graham_U wrote:One of the main problems is probably that I have my lines too loose, so that I can hook in early and take the weight off. The wind at the Cotswold water park is normally so gusty that you consistently go from nothing to being over powered, so if I have the lines to short I end up saying a wet hallo to my sail a lot. I made so much progress that day at Axbridge when you could rely on a good strong constant wind. As much as I enjoy the sport I realize how far behind the level of most of the other nomads.
The really good news is that you recognise already that your lines may be too long :o I think having your lines a little too long is a good move whilst you're trying to get used to using them. When you build up more confidence, as a result of having a better feel for what the sail's going to do in a gust/lull/windshift (which will happen quickly if you're sailing at inland places like the Cotswold Water Park!), you'll be able to shorten the lines slightly as you're better able to anticipate & react more quickly.

You're not behind the level of most other nomads. Some may have had more time on the water than yourself, but - believe me - we've all been there/are there/are getting there!

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Post by Ian Long » Mon Nov 08, 2004 10:58

Just picked up on this thread - rather late :oops:

I learnt to windsurf on a reservoir during the winter, in fact had my first sail on my first board during a blizzard long before I owned a winter steamer - definitely not recommended!

During that season, I tried all sorts, Vaseline on the face and hands, marigolds, little cotton gloves underneath marigolds, neoprene gloves. All worked to a fashion but none of them very acceptably and thankfully now I am older and wiser. Probably the most useful thing I had was a neoprene vest with a hood attached to it. This went underneath my wetsuit and meant that when I had one of the many head first dismounts, the water rushing down the neck seal went between the two layers of neoprene rather than directly down my chest.

The biggest improvements I found were wearing a wind proof coat over the wetsuit and wearing a hood. The windproof coat stops the water evaporating (yes it happens even in the winter) off your wetsuit which chills you further and keeps the wind off you. I have found that by maximising the temperature of my main body, more warm blood goes to my little pinkies and they have less problems.

Sailing in gloves is difficult because you end up holding on to a much larger diameter boom which makes your fingers work much harder, something you really can't afford to do in the winter. Strategies are to use a narrow diameter boom, marigolds, palm less gloves or get cold hands. I personally opt for the final option, however am blessed with good circulation in my hands and normally sail on the sea where the problem isn't so bad.

The sad fact is that you are more likely to get into trouble if you wear gloves because your hands tire too quickly. However having got into that state, you are better off having the gloves to maintain body temperature etc. One strategy I used for a while was to carry neoprene gloves in a bum bag when I sailed during the winter. That way, I wasn't wearing them, but had them with me if I got myself into trouble. I don't think I ever had to resort to using them but they are still festering somewhere at the bottom of my windsurfing bag.

Rather than going to your normal home "patch", think about trying to sail somewhere like Poole Harbour during the winter. Slightly further drive but warmer water, cleaner wind, larger area to play in. I always try and sail for longer than I will have driven by the end of the day, but during the winter I refine the rule to be sail for longer than the drive to the location.

Final advice is try a rowing machine - though painful and not much fun or adrenaline, they are great for fitness and improving the strength/stamina of your fingers for those out of harness moments; very useful for those of us like me with “office hands”.

Tips for putting on marigolds:
a.) Don't let anyone see you :lol:
b.) DIY stores sell gardening marigolds, they are much more robust and generally aren't bright yellow so don't look so silly
c.) Put them on before your wetsuit
d.) Stick your marigolded hand into a plastic bag before sliding it down the arm of a wetstuit. Marigolds stick to wetsuits making it very hard to get them in, plastic bags don't, so just pull off the plastic bag when your arm is in the wetsuit.
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Post by Graham_U » Wed Dec 29, 2004 12:22

Had my first trip since Oct last Weds. So the weather has cooled down a lot, as had the water at the Cotswold Waterpark, although it was a warm day for the time of year and I'm told the water still has some way to go.

Started off using Neoprene surfing gloves I swapped with Neil B., and it a disaster. Although my hands were warm it felt as though I'd lost all my strength from the break as it was a real struggle to up-haul and my forearms seem to ache all the time. Also the gloves got caught all over the place. Although this is similar to what people had warned me about, it was a real surprise as I usually sail in sailing mitts.

So I dumped them after the best part of an hour, and sailed bare handed. The season was suddenly fun, and a dramatic improvement. That is until I feel in. The water was cold enough to have a dramatic effect on the hands but if I could get them out of the water quickly and get going again I was just about able to get them warm again. Not sure I fancy it much colder that that. Sailing mitts might help, but I'm still looking for a better options. Anyone tried dry-gloves.

Also realise that my Winter suit is not as water tight as I'd hoped and gets flush through the neck quite easily. So I may have to go for a dry (or real semi-dry) suit. Its amazing how you adjust your way of falling in to try to keep your head and hands out of the water.
Graham

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Post by Graham_U » Fri Feb 11, 2005 13:13

I had been using my sailing Mitts as a compromise for a few sessions. It was partly successful, in that it was better than nothing, but for me, cold wet fingers is not good. So I finally tried Marigold for the first time yesterday, my Mrs was not best pleased!!

Initially I had my normal mitts on over the top, they fitted well. But even that was enough to tire my forearms, not as bad as the gloves, but still left me with no confidence of my grip.

When I took the mitts off after about an hour I went for another 2 hours with no problem and felt much more confident about my grip.

This effect is really weird. Given the mitts are much thicker than the marigold, and that I normally sail in them, why should it make so much difference. I'm knackered today mind!!
Graham

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Post by Graham_U » Wed Feb 06, 2008 10:14

FAO Twitty, this was the thread I referred to re:Gloves.
Graham

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Post by kelvin » Wed Feb 06, 2008 11:33

Ian Long wrote:Just picked up on this thread - rather late :oops:


The biggest improvements I found were wearing a wind proof coat over the wetsuit and wearing a hood. The windproof coat stops the water evaporating (yes it happens even in the winter) off your wetsuit which chills you further and keeps the wind off you. I have found that by maximising the temperature of my main body, more warm blood goes to my little pinkies and they have less problems.
some good advice there Ian but a little caution needs to been taken with the windproof coat , talking from experience here , in a lake not much of a problem but on open sea it can ,
If you come off the board and you have to swim to get to it in a hurry its nearly impossible ,the arms fill with water and the drag is well , to cut a long story short it envolved taking the jacket off and swimming home with no kit .
forget dreaming "its time to loop"
kel www.winsurfing.co.uk

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