Gorge 7/24-7/30 a lot longer than I thought

Gorge 7/24-7/30 a lot longer than I thought

Post by Craig Goud » Thu, 05 Aug 1993 08:29:35


The wind forcast is bleak, a cold front is approaching but it's
a day and a half away.  We wander around in Hood River and buy some essentials
(beer).  Stan and his wife Shirley (a.k.a. Screaming) and Kirk take
off to camp at Averx.  The rest of the crew and I cruise down to
Bob's beach on the Washington side on a lark.  No wind on the way down
but when we get there we score a bonus day.  Yes the wind is up, not killer
but the four or five people on the grassy rigging beach are rigging 6.0s.
We rig 5.8s and shred this 1/2 mile section of the Columbia for several
hours.  The small chop is pretty forgiving and every body is blasting
around the river with dry hair.  This is a totally different experience
than the event site because there are only about 7 of us on this entire
section of the river.  The wind shuts down about 8 PM and we take down
and head for Averx.  On the way back up the corridor it's windless all
the way.  We may have been the only planers on the river.


After nightmarish dreams of giant smoking monsters chugging, clanking
and screaming in two pitches as they pass, we wake to a fairly windy morning.
The actual camp site at Averx can only hold about 10 cars but Stan has
managed to get us beach front property.  The wind looks good on the beach
as we watch three guys drive up and rig 5.0s.  They take off one at a time
from the wind shadowed launch and we can see that the wind isn't as good
as it looks from the beach.  So we rig up, you guessed it, 5.8s.  As I
hit the wind line I'm thinking maybe I rigged to big, I'm way over powered
and scream out about 100 yards into some pretty steep wave faces.  Then I'm
suddenly way under powered, probably just a fluke hole.  I power back up and
scream over to the island.  From the island you can see lots of holes, it's
about an even mix of holes and puffs.  Stan, Stuart (one of our lighter guys)
and I sail these conditions for a couple of hours and all the time the puffs
are getting stronger and the holes are getting holeyer.  I finally call it
when I get a monster jump (for me). A fairly strong puff hits me as I take off,
I seem to fly for minutes but it's probably more like a half a second and then
explode on impact.  I come in to laughs from Kirk, "HA HA HA, jeeze I thought
you were gonna land that one for sure, HA HA HA".  

We sit on the beach, now the puffs have liquid smoke and the lulls are almost
glass.  This is the weirdest wind I've ever seen.  Our wind meter is measuring
the puffs at 45 MPH, the holes are off scale on the low end, there must be
an incredible amount of vertical mixing.  The Out House blows over.  People
drive up rig 3.0s and go out.  When they're powered they remind me of kites
in too much wind where they fly up and explode into little pieces.  It's
either that or knee deep slogging.  No one stays on the water for more than
fif*** minutes.  They all come in muttering something about board sailing
hell, derig and leave.  So we went down to the Dalles and rode the day out
on 4.0s.  I rode a 3.8.  I never get to do this at home.


The front had passed quickly and pressures were flat from the coast to
Pendelton.  A few residual rain clouds threatened.  The wind forcast
looked bleak again.  Bob's worked once under these conditions maybe it
will again.  Score one more bonus day as a cloud forms just to the west
of Bob's, providing us with enough wind to ride our most used sail this trip.
We sailed about two hours before the cloud passed and the wind shut down.
The sun came out and gave Stan a chance to teach Screaming Shirley the
basics of board sailing in a steady 5MPH westerly.


Still a bleak wind forcast, but it's getting hot fast so we bet on a thermal
at the Hook.  At 3 PM I'm walking around the tip of Wells Island to avoid the
wind shadow.  As I get out to the channel I power up in a pretty steady 20MPH.
I'm the first one out, the GP (Guinea pig), nobody else is on this section of
the river but me.  I come back in to give advice only to find nobody needs
any and they've all headed out.  I have some lunch and watch for an hour.
Kermit comes in with a smile that pulls her cheeks away from her skull, she's
never sailed in waves before and she's really psyched.  I go out for a couple
more hours of bashing and slashing, then do a down winder to the Event Site.
When I get to the beach the wind dies, but Stuart is there with a beer and a
vehicle to pick me up.  Nice day for a no winder!

We head for Three Mile Canyon to get a leg up on the trip home.



We sit on the beach in the morning and watch Shirley as she tacks and jibes
in the consistent 8MPH breeze, she's already starting to *** about the
lack of wind.  This sport has a steep learning curve.  We're about to head
out on the 12 hour drive back to Utah, but wait, I think there's oil dripping
from underneath my Nissan Van.  Yup, I'm sure it's oil, looks pretty serious,
maybe I'd better stay here and get it fixed, shouldn't take more than a week,
probably gonna need some help too, Hey Tom you used to be a mechanic didn't
you, and Stan didn't you used to Race cars for a living...............


8'10" Bailey jump, 9'9" Sailboards Maui
Wt 165#, Ht 6'3", Usually sail on high desert lakes near SLC in Ut
Go short or go home