July Ends On A Windy Note – August 3, 2010
The wind in July has been outstanding with day after day of classic Gorge conditions. It’s the reason windsurfers visit and live here; and for the summer months the mighty Columbia River is the epicenter of high wind sailing. The North Pacific high has been sitting off the coast pumping cooler marine air into the western valleys as the eastern deserts daily temps are reaching into the 90’s. The Hood River sites have been sailable nearly every day, with good wind moving east to Doug’s and Maryhill on the afternoons. Hardcore sailors are making it to The Hatchery for dawn patrol, and then out to Doug’s for the late afternoon/evening session. In recent days sailors have been on the water at Doug’s until sunset…a summer treat for sure.
Sunset over Doug’s Beach State Park.
Friday, Doug’s started out 4.7 at noon, but quickly built to 30+. I met Dave from Colorado who was finishing up an outstanding windsurfing vacation with a final session before heading home the following morning. Dave had sailed Doug’s on Thursday for a session on his new Freeride 5.5; he shared his impressions of both the Freeride and Panther. The Panther is the sail of choice for high wind Gorge conditions, but Dave sails South Padre Island, Texas in the spring and the Freeride is an ideal choice for the flat water go fast conditions found on southern Gulf.
Colorado mountain bike racer and windsurfer, Dave.
Here are his impressions of the Freeride 5.5. “The first thing I noticed was the huge range of the sail. I was amazed that I didn’t feel over powered even though I could have been on a meter smaller sail (other sailors were on 4.5s and 4.7s). The sail handled the gusts perfectly…was very smooth and controlled. I was impressed with how easy the sail rigged; just follow the downhaul marks and outhaul strings…no problem”.
Dave on the Panther 3.3…great way to end the perfect trip.
When Dave and his crew got to Doug’s on Friday the winds were 28, gusting 34. He took out the 4.2 Panther and ripped some of the best swells of the summer. Doug’s Beach is known for winds that ramp up in the afternoon, and after a short breather, he took out a 3.3 Panther for a final blast. “Hey, the Panthers have the same smooth and balanced feel as the Freeride…I’m thrilled with both sails.” Nothing more to add, just another fun day at the beach meeting sailors and enjoying the good times in the Gorge. Hope to see you on the beach soon, Gary