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Fall Regatta Race Report: 10/20/07  The Gorge Delivers!

Conditions: Rain, Clouds, Blue Sky, mid-50s/low-60s, WSW 0-18 knots


When HRYC members suit up in full foul weather gear before a race, it usually means the Gorge is delivering an epic day of big wind and waves.  On the morning of the Fall Regatta, the foulies were just on to stay dry while we all waited in the parking lot and stared out over the glassy, rain-pocked Columbia River.  Was the Gorge really going to let us down with a windless day?

A postponement was called until 11:30, and Tod went out on Windswept to survey the course area just east of the Hood River Bridge.  There was a light wind coming almost directly out of the south -- not an epic Gorge day, but enough to sail in.  Tod came back in and announced to the somewhat incredulous sailors: racing was on, and the first start was scheduled for 12:30.

Six boats braved the conditions to go racing: Max Q, Mojito, Electric Mayhem, the Julians' Santana 22, and two C&C 25s new to HRYC racing fleet: Peter Arpag on Strega, and Bart V. on Kingfisher.

With the wind out of the south, the start line was setup by the barge parked off the Bingen mill.  The windwark mark was put off the Best Western, with the red can buoy by the bridge as the wing mark.

Race 1 Course: Start - Windward - Wing Mark - Pin End of Line - Windward - Wing - Finish.

Race 2 Course: Start - Windward - Wing Mark - Bingen Buoy - Finish.

Race 3 Course: Start - Windward - Wing Mark - Bingen Buoy - Finish.

Some club member must have done something good in the past couple of weeks, because the Gorge smiled on the racers -- right as race 1 got underway, the rain stopped, the clouds parted East of the bridge, the sun came out... and whitecaps started rolling down the river.  The wind jumped up from its initial 4-6 knots and built into the 12-15 knot range for the second race, and even got into the 16-18 range for the third.  Boats with their chutes up were getting knocked over with big puffs, smaller headsails were going up -- this was true Gorge sailing after all!

Overall, the day's racing belonged to Electric Mayhem.  They had good speed all around the racecourse were first to finish in every race -- even managing to overcome Max Q's 78 second time advantage.  Mayhem seemed to make all the right tactical calls -- including sticking close to the Bingen shore in the third race and riding an impossible series of lifts to get pretty much all the way to the finish line on only one tack!  A great day of racing from Brian and his crew.

Perhaps the most surprising result of the day was Strega's third place finish.  Peter and Karen Arpag were out the C&C 25 sailing with their two kids in their first race EVER.  If these guys were nervous, they didn't look it: with kids bopping around the cockpit and big puffs of wind rolling down the course, they calmly flew the chute in every race and help off Bart V. on Kingfisher.  If anything, the Arpags certainly taught us that having fun and doing well on the racecourse are certainly not mutually exclusive things!  Peter attributed much of his success to his Strega's newly cleaned bottom, but whatever the reason, they were certainly going fast!

The race committee awarded Max Q "most beautiful boat" of the regatta award.  Not that this is an officially sanctioned award, but it's just great to see Q's azure hull slice through the water at the starting line.  Sailing really doesn't get much better than that!  Martha and Charlie had some new crew members aboard and had a couple of snafus during the race which cost them a few places -- but everyone sure looked like they were having fun (well, except during that round up right near the finish line at the end of the first race :-).

Mojito had a strong regatta, coming in second in every race.  It seems that Electric Mayhem may have been super motivated to beat the Holder 20 in this event after their narrow loss to Doug and Meg in the Fall Series.  The Mojito-Mayhem matchup looks like it will be a fixture in next year's summer race series!

Susan and Peter Julian were out racing in their Santana 22, and are getting better and better at going around the racecourse.  They kept pace with the C&C 25's all day -- it was nice to have three boats all with similar ratings going around the course together.  This made for exciting sailing for everyone.

Bart looked like a proud father on Kingfisher, the C&C 25 he recently acquired.  Kingfisher and Strega were battling it out one-design style all afternoon -- it was great having both boats out and racing.  Hopefully both boats will make in out racing during next year's Wednesday night series, too.

Even with the late start to racing, Tod and Lisa managed to get three solid races in for a full day of sailing -- nice work RC crew!

As the boats sailed back to the Marina after the third race, the clouds gathered back over the Gorge, the wind died and the rain started up again.  The Gorge had delivered a great three hours of sailing conditions -- all we needed for a most excellent regatta!


After the race, all the sailors gathered at the Marina Pavilion for the club's Oktoberfest BBQ.  Claudia and Steffan Lunding organized a great meal of German sausages, homemade salads and sauerkraut.  Thanks Steffan and Claudia for putting on such a nice post-race spread!


For official results and standings, see the Race Results page.



Fall Series Race 8: 9/26/07  Goodbye, Gorge Summer


Conditions: Beautiful Indian Summer day, mid-70s, WSW 15-20 knots

Course: Start - Hatchery - Start - Event Site Buoy -- Finish


A beautiful evening and excellent sailing conditions greeted the nine boats that made it out on the course for the last Wednesday night event of the year.


Mirage, Electric Mayhem, Portland Zoo, Max Q, Gorgeous, Spaceark, Peter and Susan Julian on their Santana 22, Romeo's Martin and Mojito were all out racing -- a great turnout!


Earlier in the day, it had looked like we would have warm summer evening with a light westerly breeze, but as the afternoon progressed, a stronger Westerly thermal developed, and by race time, there were solid whitecaps and big swell up from the Hatch down to the Event Site. 


At the start, the boats who managed a pin end port tack start seemed to get a slight advantage and crossed ahead of the boats that started on the right side of the line.  The fleet was pretty evenly spaced on the upwind leg to the Hatchery, with Spaceark again showing excellent speed in the flat water on the left side of the course -- that Soling sure can crank!  Max Q also showed it deserved its race win last week with good speed upwind.  By the top of the course, Electric Mayhem looked well placed, rounding close behind Max Q and ahead of Mirage and Mojito.  The Zoo was also showing good speed upwind, staying close in with the leading boats.


The downwind was a squirrelly ride, with big puffs rolling down the river, but seemingly not quite enough breeze to get the boats fully surfing down the waves.  Mojito did a big round-down and lost Meg overboard -- fortunately, Doug had his priorities straight and got Meg back on board quickly, losing precious ground to Electric Mayhem in the process.  Meanwhile, Mirage was powering downwind and making up ground on Electric Mayhem.  It was going to be a close race!


Max Q rounded the Event Site buoy first, followed by Electric Mayhem just ahead of Mirage, Gorgeous and Space Ark.  Mojito, Portland Zoo, Romeo's boat and the Julians all rounded soon thereafter.


The wind eased on the last upwind to the Event Site.  At the finish, Max Q won line honors, but it looked like Electric Mayhem was going to correct out in first, followed by Mirage and probably Space Ark.  Stay tuned for official results.


Peter and Susan Julian, on their Santana 22, had a good showing -- putting the spinnaker up and finishing their first race ever!  Congratulations Peter and Susan -- good work on a windy evening of sailing!


  For official results and standings, see the Race Results page.


Fall Series Race 7: 9/19/07  Hide and Go Wind Seek

Conditions: Clear skies, Sunshine, North, West, South and East Breeze 0-8 knots

Course: Marina Entrance -- Bingen Buoy -- Marina Entrance


The Gorge was playing hard to get on a beautiful Indian Summer evening -- bright blue sky, warm temperatures -- and a slight breeze out of the East.   Max Q, Gorgeous, Mojito, Portland Zoo, Spaceark, Peter Julian's Satana 22 and Romeo all made it out to race.


Due to the light breeze, it was decided that the course would be from the Marina Entrance to Bingen buoy, back to the Marina entrance.  (This allows the boats to go upcurrent at the start, making the ride home easier in the downriver current if the breeze dies).


It was a very exciting start, with all the boats jockeying with quick tacks and jibes for the best position near the Marina entrance.  Well, maybe not that exciting, it was more like a "who can walk slowest" contest and use the rudder least.  All the boats had their "use this big sail about twice a year in the Gorge" gear up -- #1s all around, and Josh on Portland Zoo even used his brand new main!


The breeze was out of the north/northeast -- yes, the north -- which made for a brief, difficult upwind leg just to get from the Marina to the drawbridge.  Max Q got over to the bridge and tacked and followed the bridge, knowing that the river's current would keep them off the pylons.  Mojito was also quick upwind, but stayed a little further away from the bridge, followed by Portland Zoo a bit further back.  Spaceark, Gorgeous, the Santana 22 and Romeo's boat were in a close pack right behind.


What little breeze there was died as the fleet neared the bridge.  Max Q and Mojito got through just as the breeze was dying, but the other boats had one of those "tack back and forth and hope you don't hit the bridge" experiences.  Portland Zoo made it through next -- after about 10 minutes of trying and several exhorations from Marie to Josh, "You sure you don't want to get the motor going?"  Apparently Marie has hit the pylon before, and knows it's not one of the "1000 things you need to hit in your boat before you die."


Gorgeous also made it through, and the Santana 22 wisely engaged the iron genny to power upriver a bit.  The rest of the fleet decided to chart a course to Double Mountain and enjoy an early Pale Ale or two.


The fleet remained parked on the east side of the bridge, just barely making any headway against the current.  Portland Zoo made up a lot of ground on the leaders, but it wasn't clear if the Zoo was moving forwards, or Max Q was drifting backwards.


I think what motivated the boats that remained in the race was Mojito -- no way they'll be first to finish again!

A tantalizing dark patch of water was sitting off the Bingen sawmill and was slowly moving downriver.  The easterly breeze kicked in a bit, and all of a sudden Mojito and Max Q were heeled over and moving fast!  Mojito was particularly powered up and looked to be set to get out way ahead of Max Q.


The breeze didn't last too long however, and soon the boats were stood up again -- and with the sun quickly fading on the horizon, the evening's racing was over.  Mojito put their chute up and started heading back towards the bridge, not ever having made it to the Bingen buoy.


But wait!  What's that?  Why are the telltales crazy, and is the Windex spinning around... pointing west?  What the...


Everyone looked back towards Hood River, and sure enough, as the sun set behind Underwood mountain,  Westerlies was rolling in -- a classic sundowner breeze.  All of a sudden the Max Q popped its' chute and was moving towards Bingen again -- this time, downwind!  Mojito turned around, and the Zoo got their chute up and starting moving again, too... 


Max Q led the way downwind -- now clear ahead of Mojito since the smaller boat had turned around, which Max Q had continued towards Bingen.  Mojito stayed near the Washington shore to keep out of the current -- but ran afoul of several fishing nets right along the shore.  They did their best to warn the Zoo which was close behind, but Zoo couldn't get out into the deep water fast enough to avoid also getting snagged.  Of course, now that the wind was actually blowing a bit and the boats had their chutes up, it was hard to get untangled from the nets! 

Mojito was able to get clear and continue downwind, but Portland Zoo had to drop their chute and use the outboard to back out of the snag, after which the Zoo called it a night and went back to the Marina -- a nice upwind sail in the chilly autumn evening breeze.


Max Q led the way around the rest of the course, followed by Mojito and Gorgeous -- the only three boats to complete the course!  All three boats finished well after dark -- but they made it!  Not sure if this one will count, and if it did whether anyone could see well enough to time the finish... stay tuned!


For official results and standings, see the Race Results page.

Fall Series Race 6: 9/12/07 Sweeeeeeeeeeeeeet!  


Conditions: Sunny, warm, WSW 20-25 knots, with some bigger gusts for good measure

Course: Start - Hatchery Buoy - Event Site Buoy - Hatchery Buoy - Finish


A great night of racing -- classic July conditions in the middle of September.  Fully lit, powered up, Gorge sailing at its best.  In other words: windy enough to let the crazy boats fly their chutes, but not so windy to be survival conditions.

Seven boats made it out to the race course for one of the best nights of sailing this year.  The racers included Mojito, Electric Mayhem, Gorgeous, Mirage, Spaceark, Portland Zoo, and making their first appearance on the race course, Peter and Susan Julian on their Santana 22.

The first upwind leg was classic Summer Gorge sailing: boat pounding swells on the right with fast downriver current, and flat water on the left with less current.  The fleet was divided between keeping in the current and taking a beating, and staying to the flat water on the Oregon side and avoiding the bow-pounding chop.  

The 41 foot Gorgeous, with small jib and reefed main, slowly legged out in front of the fleet.  Bart's Spaceark showed just how fast the Soling can go, sticking to the left side of the course and just cranking upwind in the flat water.  Doug and Meg's Holder 20, Mojito handled the big waves well and had a good upwind leg.  Portland Zoo and the Santana 22 were a little further back, playing it a little safer on a very windy day.

The upwind was punctuated by windsurfers and kiteboarders ripping through the course, threading their way between the boats.  This is at once exhilarating and scary -- seeing a kiteboarder with over 20 meters of flying line crash right next to your boat and perilously close to your mast is not always a welcome experience!

All the boats in the front of the fleet were close to each other the whole upwind leg, with positions changing on each cross--and some very close calls on starboard / port crossings.  With the big gusts rolling down the course and the chest-high swell, razor close tactical ducks were out, and big swoopy "make sure we don't hit them" course changes were in.  There were at least a few "where did *&*# they come from" crash tacks and ducks as well... but no collisions.

Gorgeous rounded the windward mark first, with Electric Mayhem, Mirage, Mojito and Spaceark in close proximity behind.   Downwind the fun really began as the more  foolish of the boats put their chutes up and launched downwind in the 25 knot puffs.    Mirage reported seeing their speedo pegged in the mid-13s surfing downwind, with some flashes above 14.  Gorgeous and Spaceark -- with wisdom lacking on the other boats -- didn't fly their chutes.

Gorgeous led the way downwind, with Electric Mayhem close behind.  Mirage was next, with Mojito riding the Santa Cruz 27's wake for some additional pull down the course.  After two weeks of Mojito hanging tough with the larger Mirage downwind, the Mirage crew voted to rename the smaller boat, "Mosquito".

The wind backed off down by the Event Site and everyone anticipated a lighter second half of the race.  Everyone was wrong.  On rounding the leeward mark and turning upwind, the sun was just beginning to set behind Underwood mountain, and you could see the windsurfers still ripping across the water upwind at that Hatch.  The Gorge was not letting this classic summer sailing session end!

Spaceark had lost a lot of distance downwind by not flying their chute, but as with the first leg, just cranked upwind and caught up with Mirage by the top of the course.  Electric Mayhem and Mirage had battled all the way up the leg, with position between the two boats changing on almost every cross.  At the end, the longer boat edged out in front to reach the layline ahead.  

Gorgeous got to the windward mark first, but had some problems with their main (looked like halyard issues) and had to throw a couple of tacks in to make it around the mark.   Spaceark reached the mark next, with Mirage right behind, followed by Electric Mayhem and Mojito.

Fortunately, Bart was playing close attention as Mirage got hit with a huge puff and nearly rounded up into the Soling.  Andy Mack, skippering Mirage in place of cycling-Oregon Stan, had quick reactions and managed to get the boat back on her lines quickly without hitting the Soling.  Nice work Andy!

The rest of the downwind was a fully-lit, wild and crazy planing downwind run to the finish line.  Mirage was again hitting mid-13s on the speedo and started to walk away from the smaller boats behind.  Gorgeous didn't fly its chute and kept to the deep water in the main channel (not wanting to risk the shallower water near Wells Island), giving the smaller boats a chance to make up some ground.

It seemed that as soon as anyone said "the wind seems to be lightening up", another Gorge blast would come up the river and just send the boats back up on a plane.

The deciding moment was getting around the red Event Site buoy.  Mirage had taken a course in the shallower, flatter water towards Wells Island hoping to stay out of the swell and current. This paid off with a big lead by the time the boat got to the Event Site.  However, Mirage had to throw two 20 knot jibes to get around the buoy... and while not catastrophic, these jibes ended up giving Mojito just enough room to squeeze by and finish first.

Yes, you heard that right: Mojito, the Holder 20, the shortest boat in the race with the highest rating, won line-honors on this classic Gorge evening.  Well done, Doug, Meg and Ruben!

Mirage was next, followed closely by Electric Mayhem, Gorgeous, and Spaceark.  Portland Zoo and the Santana were safer and didn't put chutes up (the smart thing to do) and were a bit further behind.

As it turns out, just getting back into the Marina was a chore -- the wind shifted around to the south, forcing all the boats to short tack up into the Marina.   A crazy ending for a great evening of racing!


For official results and standings, see the Race Results page. 



Fall Series Race 5: 9/5/07  Summer's Finally Here


Conditions: Sunny, mid-70s, blue skies, 18-25 knots W-WSW

Course: Event Site - Bingen - Event Site


After a summer of somewhat disappointing Wednesday night winds, the Gorge opened September with classic summer racing conditions -- solid breeze up and down the Gorge.  Instead of trying to decide between the #1 and #2 jibs, tonight's race was finally back to the Hood River status quo: "are you sure we don't need another reef in the main?"


Five boats made it out to the starting line tonight -- Mojito, Max Q, Gorgeous, Mirage and Electric Mayhem.   Peter, Susan and Steffen on race committee duty setup the start line further out into the channel, which had the (intended) effect of forcing boats to actually consider a starboard tack start.  (Generally, port tack is favored as it's usually the long tack up the river).  Near the start of the race, the wind also clocked to the north a bit, making starboard tack a realistic possibility for getting downriver.


Mirage had some communication breakdowns during the start, hoisting the #4 storm jib instead of the #3 jib.  This was after the Mirage crew had hoisted the #2 by mistake, thinking it was the #3, but the sails were stored in the wrong bags.  Only a skipper as patient as Stan could have gotten through this incident without delving into the Sailor's Abbreviated Dictionary of Four Letter Words.  The Mirage crew took some comfort in the fact that if you average out the #2 and #4, you get about a #3, so the sail choices were actually arithmetically correct.


Most boats ended up starting on starboard; the long line allowed everyone to get good speed off the line.  Electric Mayhem was caught too far away from the line at the start and was a little late.


The upwind leg was marked by a big lull about halfway up the beat on the right side of the course.  It's amazing how fast the wind can go from 25 to 10 knots!  Max Q and Gorgeous got into it first and were stood up as if on the dock, Mirage tacked away and was the first to get back into the breeze on the left side, and just motored away from the fleet still stuck in the lull on the right.  Well, not exactly: if Mirage had had its #3 up, it would have motored away, but the #4 just didn't have the horses to get the boat pointing with speed.


Max Q reached the windward mark first, followed by Gorgeous, Mirage and Mojito closed behind.  Electric Mayhem was still playing catch up from the late start.   Max Q powered downwind and extended its lead, while Gorgeous decided not to fly its chute, and allowed Mirage and Mojito to catch up.  Mirage's hoist was delayed by some technical difficulties, and Mojito was able to slip by and get just ahead and to windward of the bigger Santa Cruz 27.


The faded east of the Hood River bridge, and Mirage and Mojito were locked in a dual -- Mirage desperately wanted to get out of the shadow of the smaller boat so it could get some much needed time on its smaller rival.  Doug and Meg were ruthless in protecting the right, however.  Well, maybe not ruthless, but they did a good job of surfing down the waves and using their bad air to keep Mirage from crossing ahead and into clear air.

Gorgeous hoisted its chute midway down the leg and pulled back ahead of the two smaller boats.  Max Q rounded the leeward mark first.  Gorgeous rounded second, but had some dousing issues -- quite a site to see Gorgeous' big colorful chute streaming out what seemed to be 50 feet from the boat!  A good job by the crew to get the sail in without incident.


Mirage's consolation prize for losing the downwind battle with Mojito was inside position at the mark, and rounded clear ahead of the smaller boat.  Third time was a charm for the Mirage crew, and the #3 finally went up as planned, and this time, the SC27 did really motor away from Mojito.  The breeze was in the high teens for most of the upwind leg with a few lulls and southerly shifts thrown in -- and Mirage made the best of them.  Gorgeous had some gear issues after the chute takeout and was delayed in getting the jib out on the upwind, allowing Mojito and Mirage to pass them.

The rest of the upwind was relatively uneventful, except for Mojito's round up as it approached the Hood River bridge.  The Holder 20 seemed to get knocked by a big puff right as it was approaching the bridge, and almost turned right into the oncoming Gorgeous!  Good save by Doug to prevent Jim Case's Nelson Marek from unintentionally earning the nickname Gougeus


At the end, Max Q was first to finish, followed by Mirage, Gorgeous, Mojito and Electric Mayhem.  Mirage didn't quite gain enough time on Mojito on the upwind to correct out in front -- looks line another win for the Holder 20!  Good work, Doug, Meg and Ruben!


Thanks to Peter and Susan Julian and Steffen Lunding for helping our with Race Committee tonight, great job guys!  Only three races left in the season -- see you on the water next week!


For official results and standings, see the Race Results page. 



Fall Series Race 4: 8/29/07  The Denial Stage


Conditions: Sunny, warm, easterly breeze 0 - 5 knots

Course: Home -- Marina -- Home


It's the time of year when Hood River sailors have to come to grips with the fact that summer is slowly winding to a close.  The glorious long days of summer have given way to "early" sunsets at 8:00PM, and the winds have started to lose their the shroud-whistling, main-flogging, can't-have-too-much-weight-on-the-rail regularity that defines the Gorge summer.


In other words, racing was cancelled tonight due to low winds.  There was a slight, fluky easterly breeze, but not enough to move boats around the race course.


(Gorge winds, did you hear that?  I just insulted you, said you lost your "main-flogging regularity".  Are you going to take that kind of abuse from me, a triflingly insignificant webmaster who can barely carve jibe?  Only one thing to do: you'd better punish us with some crazy, epic Gorge winds next Wednesday!).


For official results and standings, see the Race Results page. 



Fall Series Race 3: 8/22/07  The Moores are Coming, The Moores are Coming!


Conditions: Sunny, west/southwest 16-20 knots at the start, easing back to 12-14 knots at the end

Course: Start -- Hatchery Buoy -- Bingen Buoy -- Event Site Buoy -- Finish


Another great evening for sailing in the Gorge, and, if my calculations hold up -- another win for Mojito!


The story of today's race was the Moore 24s -- three Moores made it out to the starting line to tune up for this weekend's Moore 24 Nationals.  Electric Mayhem was out with club members Tyler Bech, Andy Mack and owner Brian Petros,  and two out of town boats -- a silver and red boat called Mercedes, and a blue boat that we'll call Blue Boat


A number of regular suspects were also out, including Portland Zoo, Earth Girls, Steel Breeze, Mojito, Mirage and GorgeousMax Q was out on race committee duty -- thanks Max Q!


Everyone was a little nervous at the start, wondering if one of the out-of-town boats may have the temerity to try to start on starboard and cross the fleet (which due to local conditions, generally favors port tack starts).  Max Q was brave enough to anchor the committee boat on the port end of the line, in the current from the Hood River... which caused Max Q to sit broadsides to all the boats approaching the line on port.  Martha and Charlie must have nerves of steel!


The start ended up uneventful, except for Portland Zoo who ended up starting on the wrong side of the line and had to duck back around and restart.  Most of the other boats got off the line pretty quickly with good speed.


Gorgeous led the fleet around the Hatchery mark, followed by the three Moore's -- led by Mercedes, Electric Mayhem, then Blue Boat -- with Mirage close behind.  Earth Girls was next, followed by Mojito, Steel Breeze and Portland Zoo.  The downwind some big gusts and shifts roll through the course -- Mirage suffered a round down near Wells Island, Mojito blew out their signature "black and white" chute and several other boats had close calls.


The breeze died a bit after the Hood River bridge, with some southerly puffs thrown in to keep the spinnaker trimmers on their toes.  Gorgeous legged out in front, with Mercedes and Electric Mayhem in second and third.  Mirage just got ahead of Blue Boat by the Bingen mark.  Earth Girls made up a lot of ground on the leaders, followed by Mojito, Steel Breeze and Portland Zoo followed close behind.  The upwind was a puff-hunting fest looking for the best breeze and shifts getting back up to the bridge. 


The wind stayed light up to the Event Site buoy, and the order of boats didn't change much from there on out.  Gorgeous was first to finish, with the three Moores finishing in a close bunch -- Mercedes first, then Electric Mayhem and Blue Boat.  Amazing how close those there boats were after over eight miles of sailing!  Mirage was next, followed by Earth Girls, Mojito, Steel Breeze and Portland Zoo.


Thanks again to Martha, Charlie on Max Q for volunteering for race committee duty, and to Tamara for being Race Officer.  Great work, everyone!


For  official results and standings, see the Race Results page.



Red-D Race/Cruise 8/18-19:  It Wasn't That Windy... NOT!


Conditions:  20+ knots, with some gusts over 30

Course: Hood River -- Cascade Locks / Cascade Locks -- Hood River


The 2007 Red D has come and gone.  Saturday was a great gusty gorge day with sustained winds 20+ and gusts over 30.  We had some of our regular cast of characters with a couple new boats participating.  Max Q, Gorgeous, and Windswept were able to make it again along with two C&C 25s racing this year.  Peter and Karen Arpag with family on Strega, and Bart Vervloet and crew on King Fisher.  It was a fast and tumultuous sail windward to Cascade Locks.  The race was very exciting with large swells and gusts throughout the race that had toe-rails deeply buried in the water while crews trimmed sails while hanging on to the high side.  Captain Jon Copper was on a West Marine sponsored powerboat volunteering his time as safety boat for the 2007 Northwest Junior Olympic Regatta.  Jon was gracious enough to take times for us as we finished our windward leg at Cascade Locks.  Thank you Jon you’re awesome!  River levels were extremely low with depths as low as 3 feet going into the Cascade Locks marina and less than 7 feet going into Govt. Cove.  The fleet decided that it was still early enough to throw up sails and head down wind that evening to Hood River.  Strega wanted to let the kids and dog have some dry land time and tied up at the Stevenson boat ramp for the evening.  The BBQ back at the Hood River Marina dock was a hit with delicious food contributions from Martha Capovilla, Leisa Runyan, Tamara Rogers, Jim Case, and others.  Thank you to all that contributed.  The evening was topped off by the young in spirit playing Jinga and laughing uproariously late into the evening on MaxQ.
Sunday morning was awesome with lots of sunshine, the taste of fresh coffee, and the smell of fresh baking cinnamon rolls wafting through the light breeze.  Thank you Leisa, they tasted as great as they smelled.  MaxQ and Windswept decided to sail windward to race down to meet Strega and sail back with them to Hood River.  The winds were moderate to light.  Even with the 30 minute head start Windswept had, MaxQ rolled by effortlessly at Mitchell Point to meet up with Strega.  It was a pleasant and relaxing down wind sail.  Upon arriving back in the Hood, the afternoon was topped off with the classic water-gun fight.  Fun was had by all.  Remember it is your participation that makes this club fun.  Thank you to everyone that participated, it was a great weekend.


For  official results and standings, see the Race Results page.



Fall Series Race 1: 8/8/07  Why We Live in the Gorge


Conditions: Sunny, warm, west / west-southwest 10-20 knots

Course: Start -- Event Site -- Chicken Charlie Island -- Finish


If you could have a picture perfect summer evening for a sail, this was probably it.  A nice westerly breeze, warm and sunny,  warm water, a few clouds hovering over Mt. Defiance, and a picture perfect view of Mt. Hood.  It really doesn't get much better than this! 


Morgan Larson's Bruzer made it's season debut tonight sporting its slick new paint job.  Bruzer and Electric Mayhem were definitely gearing up for the upcoming Moore 24 Nationals; Electric Mayhem had quite the brain trust on board with Brian Petros, Tyler Beck at helm and Andy Mack calling tactics.


The wind at the start was in the mid teens with few bigger puffs closer to the Event Site.  The short upwind leg saw the big boats round first as usual -- Max Q and then Gorgeous.  The remaining boats rounded in a close pack right behind -- Bruzer, Electric Mayhem, Space Ark, Mirage, Mojito and Earth Girls.


The first part of the downwind saw the wind lighten as the fleet went under the bridge, with southerly puffs rolling through near the Hood River.  Gorgeous and Max Q duked it out in front of the fleet, with Mirage, Bruzer and Electric Mayhem fighting it out in middle of the fleet, and Space Ark, Mojito and Earth Girls following them. 


The wind picked up as the fleet got near Bingen, with some 18-20 knot puffs rolling through the course and helping the smaller boats surf downwind.  Some major puffs rolled through closer to Chicken Charlie, causing Bruzer's chute to blow up.  Gorgeous also had a near broach in a huge puff near the island, but was able to come out of it unscathed.


Gorgeous manged to round the island first, with Max Q right behind, followed by Mirage, Electric Mayhem and Bruzer -- which did a good job to make up ground even without a spinnaker.  Space Ark, Mojito and Earth Girls followed closely behind. 


On the upwind, the wind gradually faded as the fleet got nearer to the bridge, sending the fleets hunting for the next puff to get through the bridge.  The boats who stayed further left seemed to fare better than those on the right.


At the finish, Gorgeous came across first, followed by Max Q, Bruzer, Electric Mayhem, Mirage, Space Ark, Mojito and Earth Girls.


Perhaps the best highlight of the night was seeing Tod Hilstad out racing on Earth Girls -- after all his dedication to race committee, it was good to see him on the water racing!


Thanks to Randy on Tamawanas for doing a great job as this week's RC, with the HRYC's new set of official race flags.


  For  official results and standings, see the Race Results page.



Summer Series Race 8: 8/1/01  Gradient Days


Conditions: Sunny, warm, westerly zero to 12 knots

Course: Start -- Hatchery -- Finish


It was a hot and windless day, showing only a flicker of Easterly breeze on water.  As one sailor noted, the water looked like orangepeel on a cheap paint job -- there were a few ripples on the water, but you could only see them if you looked at the water at just the right angle.  In other words, no racing tonight!


Some boats sent their crews home or out to wakeboard, others steadfastly raised their sails and hoped for the best.  Bart was the first with his sails up, confident there would be some wind... and (as always) he was right.  The Gorge gradients did their magic once again, and the westerly breeze came up just in time to start a race around 6:45PM.   The breeze wasn't super strong, so Race Committee sent the fleet on a short upwind/downwind course to the Hatchery. 


Mojito finished the race first to cement their winning spot in the Summer Race Series.  Mirage stayed home and got a DNC, but still held on the second place in the series, ahead of Electric Mayhem in third.   It should be an interesting battle in the fall series for overall winner -- will Mojito continue its magic, or will Mirage pull out another season victory?


Welcome to Tamawanas, which made their first showing in the Wed. Night race series -- great to have you on the water!


  For  official results and standings, see the Race Results page.



Summer Series Race 7: 7/25/07 Up and Down Breeze

Conditions: Sunny, 85 degrees, westerly breeze, 4 - 18 knots

Course:  Event Site Buoy -- Bingen Buoy -- Red Buoy West of Bridge -- Bingen -- Finish


The race started off in classic evening Gorge conditions -- a solid 18 knots of westerly breeze.  The boats out included Greg's J/30 Pyxis (great to see you out racing Greg!), Mirage, Steel Breeze, Electric Mayhem, Gorgeous, Max Q and Mojito, and a boat I don't know the name of (can anyone help me here?).


The race started in typical form, with the big boats -- Max Q in particular -- getting a good start and motoring to windward faster than the rest of the fleet.  Max Q rounded first, followed by Gorgeous, with Steel Breeze, Electric Mayhem and Mirage in close behind.  Both Gorgeous and Max Q flew their chutes downwind and extended, leaving a fight further back in the fleet between Steel Breeze, Electric Mayhem and Mirage.   Those three boats stayed close throughout the downwind leg, as the breeze lightened up a bit towards Bingen.


On the upwind leg back to the bridge, the Washington side really paid off (somewhat uncharacteristically) and Steel Breeze and Electric Mayhem put a lot of space between them and Mirage (which had chosen the typically favored left side, much to their disadvantage), with the big boats well out in front.   Max Q rounded the windward mark first, followed by Gorgeous, I think Steel Breeze, Mayhem, then Mirage.  Pyxis was next, followed by Mojito.


The wind dropped further on the second downwind, leaving everyone franticially searching for any helpful puffs.  Mirage, remembering the pain of choosing the left on the upwind, stuck right next to the Bingen shore and was rewarded with its own personal southerly puff of breeze... which had the boat powered up on a forestay spinnaker reach almost all the way to the leeward mark.  Max Q was still first, then Gorgeous, Mayhem rounded just ahead of Mirage, followed by Steel Breeze, Pyxis and Mojito.


With a dying breeze on the final upwind, Max Q choose the normally favored Oregon side of the course... the same mistake Mirage had made earlier in the day.  They caught caught in a big wind hole while Gorgeous, on the Washington side, caught the remaining breeze and crossed the finish line first.  Mirage, which had changed up to their #1 genoa, just had too much sail area compared to Mayhem and Steel Breeze in the light wind, and legged out on the upwind to finish third -- and probably corrected out in first.  Mayhem finished next, followed by Steel Breeze, Pyxis and Mojito.


All in all, a great evening of sailing, in beautiful summer Gorge conditions... it doesn't get much better...



 For official results and standings, see the Race Results page.



Summer Series Race 6: 7/18/07


Your correspondent was out of town -- if anyone has any race info, please let me know and I'll post it!


Summer Series Race 5: 7/11/07 Windless!

Conditions: Sunny, hot -- 100 degrees -- no wind!


The Gorge was doing its occasional 100+ degree heat thing this week.  The high temperatures across the Gorge meant flat pressure gradients... otherwise known as no wind.   Race Committee Tod Hilstad was gracious enough to call all the racers before they came down to the dock to let them know racing was cancelled... although some said he did it just so he could try out his new iPhone.


Of course, in typical Gorge fashion, around 8:30 that same windless evening, the gradients changed and and we had 15+ knots of breeze fill in up and down the Gorge.  That's why we like sailing the Gorge -- if you don't like the weather or the wind, wait a few minutes and it will almost certainly change!


 For official results and standings, see the Race Results page.



Summer Series Race 4: 7/4/07 Independence Day


Course 1:  Wells Island Starting Line -- Hatchery Buoy (three times around)

Course 2:  Wells Island Starting Line -- Hatch Buoy -- Starting Line Gate -- Mitchell Point -- Starting Line


Conditions: Sunny, hot, breezy -- 12 - 18 knots


HRYC Celebrated July 4 in style this year, with a special July 4 edition of the Wednesday night races.  Tod and Lisa were out on Windswept as race committee and ran two races with the starting line up by Wells Island -- to avoid the throngs of kiters and windsurfers out on a picture perfect -- if hot -- July 4.  Fortunately, it was at least 10 degrees cooler on the water than on land, making all the sailors more anxious than normal to get the racing started.


A number of boats made it out to the race course -- Bart on Space Ark, Doug, Meg and Ruben on Mojito, Stan and crew on Mirage, Jim Case on Gorgeous, Brian on Electric Mayhem and Lore Sterr and Tamara on Earth Girls.  Also, Jaime and Andy Mack came out on their Tasar (and Tyler Bech was out as well) to show the leadmines where all the action's at!  In addition, Greg Duhon had Pyxis out sailing -- if not racing -- showing off the elegant lines of his new J/30.


The races were followed by a July 4 BBQ and some great viewing of the Hood River fireworks show -- Independence Day doesn't get much better than that! 


Thanks as always to the race committee -- Tod and Lisa, you rock!



For official results and standings, see the Race Results page.



Spring Series Race 8: 6/5/07 Squalls! 


Course: Mitchell Point Buoy and Back


Conditions: Squalls, cloudy, intermittent sunshine, rain, westerly 10-25 knots

The spring series wrapped up with a spring-like race: squalls, rain, and a wide range of wind speeds.  Shortly before the races, winds were clocking in at the Event Site around 22-24 knots, and it looked like it would be a howling race.  The winds subsided a little by race time, settling into the 18-20 range.  The regular suspects were on the starting line: Mirage, Mojito, Symbiosis, Gorgeous, Steel Breeze and Max Q.  Gorgeous appeared to have a problem at the start and went back to the Marina to make some adjustments, but came back out a little later.


The wind picked up again was strong at the start, and boats that could were reefed or carrying small headsails.  The first part of the beat saw Mirage, Symbiosis and Steel Breeze marching upwind at about the same speed.  The wind started to die off around the White Salmon bridge, and Mirage's speed dropped with only the blade up.  The Mirage crew changed up to their #2, but by the time they got moving again they had lost a lot of ground to Steel Breeze and Symbi.


The wind then started its tempermental shifts and gusts, with big puffs separated by long lulls; the mainsail trimmers got a workout!  Occasionally, the boats got pelted with hard rain as dark clouds scooted up the Gorge.  Overall, Mojito was doing well in the light stuff upwind and was threatening to make the race a blowout on adjusted time. 


Steel Breeze rounded first, closely followed by Symbiosis and then by Max Q (who had started a bit late).  Mirage and Mojito were some distance behind, followed by Gorgeous.


Mirage sailed close to the south side of the river and slowly made up ground on the rest of the fleet.  Big bands of puffs around two or three minutes apart were rolling down the river, and Mirage was able to make the most of them.  The wind shifted north and got stronger around the White Salmon bridge, then shifted south and got puffy around the Hood River.


Steel Breeze finished first and won the race, but it wasn't clear who would correct out in second -- Mirage or Symbiosis, or maybe even Mojito?  Stay tuned for the official results.


The Summer Series starts next week!


 For official results and standings, see the Race Results page.




Race 7: 5/30/07  Even the Gorge has No Wind Days...


Course: None -- Racing Cancelled


Conditions: Sunny, warm, light easterly breeze 0 to 2 knots


The Gorge can be a funny place.  Sunday was an epic wind day which saw the winds out east gust into the 40-50 knot range.   It was so windy that Dale Cook was having to file flight plans with the FAA before every jump, and most windsurfers were rigged on their smallest gear and could be heard muttering... "this 3.2 is just too big."


The Gorge wind maching must have taken a day off, because three days later, racing was cancelled because of no wind.  A hint of easterly breeze came up right around race time to get everyone's hopes up for a nice sundowner-type breeze.  But Randy took the committee boat out into the river and almost immediately determined there wasn't enough wind to get boats moving against the still-swift spring current in the river.


A few boats decided to go out for a sail/cruise anyway, drifting/motoring down to Bingen and enjoying a relaxing -- if not windy -- beautiful evening in the Columbia River Gorge.


The final race of the Spring Series will be next Wednesday -- with Symbiosis looking tough to beat!  With a good showing, Mojito and Mirage still have a chance to win, however, so stay tuned!


 For official results and standings, see the Race Results page.



Race 6: 5/23/07  Chicken Charlie and Steel Breeze


Course: Event Site Buoy-Chicken Charlie Island (port)-Finish


Conditions: Overcast, Light, Gusty and Shifty, 8 to 14 knots


The breeze looked dead at the start of the race, with everyone talking about how to shorten course if necessary.  The wind solidified by race start time into a decent breeze with a lot of southerly puffs, with some bigger gusts rolling upriver around Bingen.


Laney's Steel Breeze made its season debut, and got off to a great start, rounding the windward mark right behind Max Q.  Following close behind were Gorgeous, Mirage, Symbiosis, Space Ark and Mojito.


In the light breeze Mojito and Space Ark were hanging right on the tail of the fleet on the first half of the downwind, making everyone wonder how much they would correct out in front of the bigger boats.  The breeze picked up enough to give the bigger boats a little more advantage speed-wish towards Chicken Charlie.


Max Q stretched their lead on the downwind, but landed in a big hole near the south shore off Chicken Charlie Island.  Gorgeous also seemed to get caught in the fluky wind closer to the shore.  With the advantage of behind slightly behind the bigger boats, Steel Breeze and Mirage went closer to the island and managed to find a little more breeze, with Mirage able to round just in front of Symbi and Gorgeous.


The final upwind was a puff and shift hunting contest.  Steel Breeze and Mirage seemed to play the shifts really well, with Mirage making up a lot of ground on Steel Breeze right before the Hood River bridge -- it seemed to pay to stay south. 


Max Q finished first, Steel Breeze finished next (and probably corrected out in front), followed by Mirage, Gorgeous, Symbiosis, Space Ark and Mojito.


Thanks to Randy for doing race committee!


For official results and standings, see the Race Results page.



Race 5: 5/16/07  Mojito Gets a Bullet


Course: Hatchery-Bingen-Finish


Conditions: Windy, but not too windy, sunny, but not too sunny


The usual suspects were out racing -- Mojito, Max Q, Mirage, Symbiosis, Gorgeous and Space Ark.

This week's race saw Mojito over early but able to claw back to victory with a freshly scrubbed bottom! Symbiosis and Gorgeous had several fun port/starboard crossing situations on the windy beat back to the bridge with Mirage close behind up until the bridge. Gorgeous did a few depth soundings (sailed close to shore) over near the Bingen mill and again on the west side of the bridge - apparently finding NO rocks!


Overall, it was a great night.  Nobody died, we didn't break anything, we had a great sail, a great night of sailing all in all.


Thanks Lance & Martha for the race reports!

 For official results and standings, see the Race Results page.



Race 4: 5/9/07  Warm, Decent Breeze, Six Boats... Nice!


Course: Upwind to Event Site Buoy, downwind to Bingen Buoy, upwind to Event Site Buoy, downwind finish


Conditions: 8 to 16 knots, Partly Sunny, Low 70s -- Nice Spring Weather

The biggest fleet of the year turned out tonight, with Max Q, Symbiosis, Mirage, Mojito, Space Ark and Gorgeous all showing up for the race.  Tod and Lisa were back on Windswept as Race Committee -- thanks Tod and Lisa!


Conditions looked breezy at the start, with whitecaps up by the Event Site and breeze into the high teens.   Gorgeous took the pin end and used its long waterline to outpace the fleet upwind; Mirage took the committee boat end on port, and the rest of the fleet was spread out in between.


The short upwind leg was relatively uneventful, with Gorgeous rounding first, followed by Max Q, I think Mojito, Symbiosis, and Mirage.  Mirage tried to cut the layline a little too close and got in some dirty air near the mark and had to tack four times to get around, giving Symbi some precious seconds to slip ahead downwind.  Space Ark rounded just behind everyone I think... but Bart may have been right in the mix -- it was a pretty tight upwind leg.


On the downwind, Gorgeous flew their big chute and walked away from everyone in the fleet except for Max Q, who also had good speed downwind -- Martha and Charlie seem to be getting back in the groove, which is bad news for the rest of the fleet.  Symbi had some sort of snafu on their hoist and sailed the first section of the leg without a spinnaker, letting Mirage creep back into the race.  Symbi and Mirage stayed neck and neck for quite a while, with Randy at the helm of Symbi being a very nice fellow and not luffing Mirage into the Hood River Bridge (Thanks Randy!).  A fun moment for all was when Mirage and Symbi were both by the lee and had a "Mojito" sandwich between them -- with Mojito on port and the two bigger boats on starboard on either side of her.


The breeze started to die off East of the bridge, and also turned a little more southerly, almost headstay reaching at times.  Gorgeous looked like it rounded the Bingen buoy first, followed by Max Q.  Symbi was next, followed by Mirage... and then I think Space Ark and Mojito.


The breeze was lighter on the final upwind, perhaps eight to ten knots with a few bigger puffs.  As usual, the breeze picked up again up near the Event site buoy.  Gorgeous and Max Q came home in the first pairing, with Symbi about a minute ahead (and probably just in front on corrected time) of Mirage.  Space Ark was next, followed by Mojito.  It looks like either Max Q or Symbi would correct out as the leader.


 For official results and standings, see the Race Results page.



Race 3: 5/2/07  Abandoned!


Course: Upwind to Hatchery Buoy, downwind to Event Site Buoy, back to Hatchery Buoy, finish


Conditions: Turbulent, dark clouds, sunshine, squalls, rain, no wind!


Another set of squalls rolled through the Gorge around 6:00PM, pelting the boats and the crews on the docks with blasts of wind and cold wintry rain.  The squall passed through and the racers headed out to the course in a mild post-squall breeze (8 to 10 knots with a few bigger gusts).  Jim Case made his season debut on his Nelson Marek 41, Gorgeous, and was joined by the usual suspects: Mojito, Mirage, Symbiosis and Max Q.  Bart was on the dock working on Space Ark getting his halyard fixed, but -- with the wisdom of being the Gorge's resident weather guru -- didn't rush to get the mast back up before the race.


Symbiosis was the rabbit boat in the self-start race,  and slowly edged out into into the lead.  The wind lightened up as the fleet reached the windward mark, turning into ghosting conditions.  Symbiosis was the first around, followed by Mirage (or was it Gorgeous?), Max Q and Mojito.  The wind took a crazy unusual shift to the north, and the fleet jibed and was doing headstay reaches on port tack down the river.


Symbiosis was far enough out in front of the fleet to catch the best of the northerly shift and extra breeze coming down the White Salmon river, and punched right, deep down towards the Event Site before taking their chute down and heading up and sailing the rest of the "downwind" leg on their genoa.  They rounded the Event Site Buoy and headed straight upriver on starboard tack.

At the same time, the rest of the fleet was stuck in the doldrums near Wells Island, except for Gorgeous, whose tall mast, big main and powerful diesel had her leaving the rest of the fleet in her wake.  Past Wells Island, the fleet finally got into the breeze that Symbi had gone through seemingly hours before.  Mirage rounded second and continued upwind on starboard, but Max Q and Mojito wisely called it quits and headed for the Marina. 


The wind finally completely died, leaving Symbi stranded up by the Hatchery and Mirage windless by Wells Island.  Symbi sounded the abandonment horn, and everyone motored home... Mirage aided by a tow from Gorgeous -- thanks to Jim Case and crew for helping Stan and crew get home!


 For official results and standings, see the Race Results page.



Race 2: 4/25/07 Sophomore Jinx


Course: Upwind to Hatchery Buoy, downwind to Bingen buoy, back to starting line


Conditions: 10-15 knots, partially cloudy


Relatively light winds and flat water (for the Gorge at least) greeted the five boats out for the second race of the season.  Charlie and Martha made their season debut on their J/35 MaxQ, as well as the usual suspects from the first race -- Bart on his Soling Space Ark, Doug and Meg on Holder 20 Mojito, Stan on the Santa Cruz 27 Mirage and Lance on his S2 Symbiosis.


The first beat to weather was a puff-hunting expedition, as a few patches of stronger wind rolled down the river.  The heavy spring current made the right side something of a winner; the current seems even slower than before on the now-shallower south side.  Symbiosis rounded just ahead of Mirage, followed by MaxQ, and I think then Space Ark and Mojito.


On the downwind, Mirage charted a course close to the new Sandbar and had good speed down to the bridge; the other boats stayed further into the channel.  The wind shifted south a bit and MaxQ overtook the fleet and rounded first at the leeward mark, just ahead of Symbi and Mirage.  The wind lightened up on the second upwind, making the Mirage crew wish they had brought the #1 genoa.  The front three boats were close until Mirage gambled on the center of river rather than going left with Symbi and MaxQ, and that mistake allowed Symbi to open up a winning margin by the finish line.


Very Unoffical Results:  Symbiosis, Mirage, MaxQ, Mojito, Space Ark


For official results and standings, see the Race Results page.


Race 1: 4/18/07 Breaking In, or just Breaking?


Course: Event Site buoy, down to the green West Bridge buoy, up to the Hatchery, then down to the finish line East of the Event Site.


Conditions: 0 - 30 knots, alternating sun, dark clouds and heavy rain

Squalls and sunshine greeted the four boats who braved tempermental conditions to open HRYC's Wednesday Night Race Series.  The start of the race was delayed by a squall that pelted the boats with rain and 25-30 knot gusts.  Everyone rushed to put reefs in their mains and reduce their jibs, but as soon as the race got underway the squall passed through, the sun reappeared and the reefs quickly came out.


At the start, Mojito just tagged the anchor line of the committee boat and had to do a 360; Mirage didn't hear the warning horn in the squall and got the line late... but with plenty of speed.  After the start, it seemed like that everyone was shaking off some of the winter rust and dealing with "first race of the season" snafus.  The wind was up and down and very shifty the entire race, a challenge for any day of the year, much less the first race of the season.

On the second downwind leg the wind got very light, with collapsing spinnakers and cursing skippers as befits a crazy wind day.

Unofficially, Symbiosis was first to finish, but Mojito may have corrected out it front.   Mirage crossed the line third, probably just far enough ahead of Space Ark to correct out in third place

Thanks as always to Tod and Lisa for doing a great job on race committee.  Stay tuned for the official race results.