The key to
"I watched Peterson, Dougherty and a few pros go out one day at Rooster Rock
at I would guess was a fifty mph wind and get flattened most the time."
just might be in the phrase, "I would guess was a fifty mph wind". I place
(some) more faith in instruments, and there have been many cases -- it's even
commonplace -- of a small crowd on the water having a GREAT TIME when several
independent instruments indicated winds mostly into the 50s (mph) at sea level.
We had a fair-sized crew enjoying 3.2s to 3.7s in winds measured out on a flat
peninsula at 50 to 60 mph all day at 5,000 feet altitude, which has the same
power as 45-55 mph winds at sea level. We had smaller sails, but we save them
for higher or steadier winds. For example, until we see handfuls of water being
frequently blasted off the water (lakes, not surf), we stay over 4 meters. We
measure roughly 40 mph (about 35 at sea level) at that threshold.
I've seen many cases of fairly steady winds well over 40 mph in the eastern
Gorge, as indicated by swell hitting 10 feet, flying spray EVERYWHERE,
Windsight and the NWS and guys onshore at Arlington all measuring a 40-50,
45-55, etc. On days like this there are three groups of sailors: those on
shore, those on the water on sub-3-meter sails but complaining of many deep
holes in the wind, and a few on 3.2s or even 3.7s who never stop planing. The
latter crew would say the wind was quite steady.
As for, "when the wind is blowing fifty your going to have good
sized waves that will expose your board to being lifted off the water." ----
that's precisely why many of us LOVE winds in that range, if they're of any
quality. Jumping gets PHENOMENAL then, the adrenaline flows like water, and the
crowds are WAY down. I mean, when the crowd at the Hatchery is down by 90%, you
KNOW it's getting WAAAYYY past 40 mph. And if spray starts flying at 35-40,
what does that make it when spray is EVERYWHERE, some sailors are getting
picked up off the water and thrown downwind, walking is difficult ... and THEN
it gets windy -- with liquid smoke everywhere, whole swell tops getting blown
off, and the swell starts dying ---- and some people still having fun on the
As for, "Now some folks say you just need the right board. I say there ain't a
right board for those conditions."
MANY 8-footers or smaller will absolutely SHRED in those conditions, even in
rough water, let alone flatter water. Getting on one of the many "right" boards
makes a *****GIANT***** difference in tracking and control, especially in the
The only people who can authoritatively address this question are the speed
sailors who often operate on well-instrumented courses, and thus have an
educated feel for what's REALLY going out there in BS land. Until we hear from
them, we're all just relying on our own less-educated estimates and on
instruments not right out on the water.
How about it Ken, Bruce, et. al.? If you were to pick a round number for the
max decent-quality wind you guys can control on, say, a 3.0, on a) flat and b)
B&J water, what number would that be?
I'll go out on a limb and guess it's around 60 at Roosevelt and 65 at Rooster
Rock or Lyle.
Never Leave Wind To Find Wind