View Full Version : Second day sailing

Dave Gray
07-26-2010, 12:23 AM
I think I need to find somewhere else to sail. I've been launching from Willamette Park just up the river from Ross Island in Portland, Oregon. The first time I rowed up river which I also did the second time. This time I sailed down river which probably wasn't such a good idea as the channel narrows quite a bit. Wind was light to non-existent, the day was hot and getting hotter, and the power boaters were out in full force.

The only good thing I found about the power boaters, other than seeing Merriman, a very nice wooden yacht, is that they usually have young ladies in bikinis. Eye candy is nice! Other than that they have to have loud stereos, loud engines, and leave a nice layer of gas fumes on the water.

I managed to ground the boat out on the mud, which was interesting. I'm still not happy with the boom setup. I really think the mast could be a foot taller on this Pooduck, there is hardly any room for a decent downhaul. And the boom keeps twisting.

Haven't flown the jib yet. Right now one sail is enough and I haven't figured out a good sheeting arrangement. The plans call for a continuous sheet through screw eyes on the middle thwart. This doesn't much appeal to me.

Anyone know of good places close to Portland? I know of Hagg Lake and some places on the Columbia.

David G
07-26-2010, 12:41 AM

The Willamette, as you discovered, can be quite fluky. When it's right, it's a lovely spot. But I've spend many an afternoon drifting around, marinating in my own juices. Weekdays, or even cloudy days, are much quieter at Willamette Park. I go there because it's so close to my shop (E. end of Ross Island Bridge). Hagg Lake is a great sailing venue, as helf of the lake is No Wake. I organize a Coots outing there every July... you should come next time.

I hate the 42nd street ramp on the Columbia. Willamette Park X3 - with the addition of bigger water, and far more boats to dodge. On a sunny weekend, it's like bumper cars out there.

My actual favorite place to launch on the near Columbia is out West and North of Vancouver. There's a small, unimproved, ramp out there with good parking. It's tucked in behind the downstream end of Caterpillar Island. It's operated by the Washington Dept. of Nat. Resources, and - unfortunately - required its own parking permit which must be purchased at Fisherman's Marine or somesuch.

Once launched, you can piddle around in the slough, or stick you nose out into the Columbia. There is a whole long shoreline on the river side of the island for beaching, lunching, romping, re-rigging, catching ones breath, etc. It's a relatively quiet stretch of the river, so lots of room to maneuver. Remember, though, it's relatively big water. The current can, at times, be quite swift. The winds are more reliable than on the Willamette, with little by way of adjacent topography to turn them squirrelly. They can, however, be quite strong at times. That is the only place I've ever dumped our Goat Island Skiff (though, to be fair, that was the first day I ever sailed on my own).

To get there, go through Vancouver to the West - out past the Port. and past Frenchman's Bend County Park. Past the gun club. Past my friends property at 10,000 River Road, and just past Kadow's Marina. IIRC, the launch ramp is just over 8 miles out of V'couver.

Oh... and... Where's the Bloody Fotos?????-

Dave Gray
07-26-2010, 11:21 AM
My photographer maintains she will be bored stiff waiting for at the ramp while I am out romping in the water so there are no photos. Someday perhaps.

Thanks for the tips. I agree weekends are not the best times, especially for that ramp. I only have so many days I can take off work so the next best thing is to go early.