Sailors daubed their noses with zinc oxide to protect them from the sun. Couples in T-shirts, shorts and sandals strolled the docks licking ice cream cones. Yacht crews lounged in their cockpits drinking beer.

It was another unseasonably lovely day.

But for the 60 skippers racing in the Annapolis Yacht Club's Frostbite Series, it was hardly perfect.

The high pressure zone that has caused temperatures more closely identified with heat prostration than frostbite failed sailors in one crucial respect: the wind. Only a light, 8-knot zephyr rippled the sails of the boats entered in the third weekend race of the series that runs through March.

"It's gorgeous," but there's not enough air," said Lt. Cmdr. Joseph Phillips, who when not at the helm of his 25-foot One Eyed Jack, leads the U.S. Navy Band in Washington.

Frostbite committee racing chairman Raul Frye said he would have preferred temperatures in the 40s with the 15-knot wind that normally blows in late November. Sometimes it's even colder, and the wind puts a fine film of ice on halyards and decks.

"That's what I call exciting sailing," Frye said.

Brooks Stalling, skipper of the 25-foot sloop Gaynelle, normally takes his crew of four into the bar after a race to warm up with a hot drink. Yesterday they were sitting around in the cockpit wearing sunglasses and sipping beer.

"It's too hot for Irish coffee," Stalling said.

Aboard the Diamond in the Rough, Jim Mumper said his crew had been hoping for Yukon Jack Whiskey weather. "You drink beer when it's over 70," he said. "You drink Yukon Jack when it's below 20. A sailor would rather have wind than sun."

Not all sailors were grumbling about poor racing conditions. Linda Dull of Annapolis was out for a day sail with friends. "I don't have to wear a wet suit on a day like today," she said.

And landlubbers milling about the boats were unrestrained in their enthusiasm for the weather, even after an early afternoon sprinkle.

"I love it," said Tom Allen, of Adelphi. "I don't care if winter ever comes."

Today's 1:30 p.m. high temperature of 74 degrees at Washington's National Airport was 22 degrees above normal, the eighth consecutive day of above 70 temperatures. That shattered all marks for the longest spell of the warmest late fall weather since the National Weather Service started logging such data 100 years ago.

Weather forecasters are calling for a return to more seasonal conditions today as a low pressure front pushes in from the west bringing rain and temperatures in the mid 60s.