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Spray Chill Factor - a new Scale for Sailors!

by Rachel Cooper, Rooster Sailing 16 Mar 2006 14:35 GMT
Spray Chill Factor - a new scale for sailors © Rooster Sailing

Last weekend's racing saw over two hundred boats enter the Laser Qualifier at Stokes Bay and the Merlin Rockets, Foxers and Fireflies take part in the Hamble Warming Pan.

Chimet Weather Station on Chichester Bar showed the Wind-chill Factor last Sunday was an extreme MINUS 4 degrees centigrade. This was calculated using the air temperature of 2.7 degrees centigrade and a wind speed of 15 knots. However this is not a true calculation of the actual wind chill as we all know how much colder it is when you have a wave splash over you. With a water temperature of only 4 degrees centigrade the real reason that it was so cold last weekend is because water takes heat away from the body 27 times faster than air!

Being one of the brave (or very stupid!) Merlin sailors to venture out in everything I owned I certainly had a moments where I wondered.. "why am I doing this?" That thought was particularly strong after the lamb hot-pot lunch that the lovely ladies at Hamble River Sailing Club had laid on. Never before have I eaten a hot lunch inside a clubhouse in all my rooster kit including rooster Buoyancy Aid and Aquafleece Beanie Hat!

As we crossed the finish line in the second race I said to my helm that I could have sailed three more races back to back, because I was warm AND I wasn't wearing a drysuit! The Rooster DS layering System was working.

Steve Cockerill states "I am trying to develop a new Chill Factor that takes into account the situation that dinghy sailors find themselves. Wind Chill takes into account the extra cooling effect of the air on bare skin and is only half of the equation. It does not take into account the additional cooling of water (a substance that can cool 27 times faster as it has a higher conductivity) or the dew point - a measure of how dry the surrounding air is (dryer air encourages water to evaporate, leaving you colder) and the water temperature. Steve hopes to call it the "Spray Chill Factor". If you think you can add to this calculation please feel free to email

If you were cold last weekend you need to take a look at and see for yourself how to keep warm when it's a minimum of -4 wind-chill and perhaps -15 Spray Chill on the water!

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