Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Squirrely Ride

I managed to launch the dinghy and get in an hour+ of sailing on Sunday, part of it with my friend Alton.

Not sure when, who, or if anyone would show to sail, I launched and sailed myself downriver, downwind. I made a turn and began tacking back into the West and Southwest winds, to the clubhouse. Yeah, winds. It was squirrely and shifty out there.

I had to throw in a couple of extra tacks to set myself up in a spot that would allow the Portland Spirit to pass through the channel without my needing to head that way. The Spirit is a 150' yacht that cruises up and down the river with pleasure seekers, or something. Needless to say, in our small river with a restricted channel, they get right-of-way.

When I got back to the dock, Alton was around. I let him know the conditions were weird and he was still game, so away we went.

We tacked upriver, crossing from side to side and even doing some depth checks with my centerboard on the rocks just upriver from the Willamette Park boat launch. The rocks are still there and they still make the centerboard jump when you sail over them.

At some point close to the Sellwood bridge the spring chinook fleet got too immense and densely packed to attempt tacking amongst, so we tacked to port and fell off for a downwind run with only two accidental gybes.

Being spring, the conditions were variable, winds gusting to 15 kts at times and dying off to a very light 2-4 at other times. We had a couple of thrilling short runs, both of us up on the rail, working hard to flatten the sails out. Of course, moments later we would be back down in the cockpit, letting out more sheet to try and find the right sail shape for the lighter stuff.

After putting the boat away, we made a quick run to Zupans, loaded up on lagers, a couple of sandwiches, some chips, and took seats up on the cliff, where we watched the Laser fleet play tag around the marks in their Sunday afternoon Winter Racing Series. Lots of banging at the turns!


bonnie said...

Sounds like a nice day.

Pandabonium said...

Super. Looks like Alton had a good time too. Is the current a serious consideration there?

Greg and Kris said...

Current can be sketchy in spots. There was this event: http://loveandcoconuts.blogspot.com/2009/04/do-you-know-how-to-sail.html

However, it's not a major factor at the moment, as we are currently experiencing 70% of normal water levels. There were some exposed mud flats and the aforementioned rock hazards near shore. I wasn't worried about the rocks because of the time of year, but that was obviously a mistake on my part, since we are in an El Nino cycle, all standards are out the window.