Thursday, November 12, 2009

Roll, Roll, Roll, Your Boat...

We thought we had seen a bad day until reading a post on the M Squared blog from last May. Seems the Willamette Sailing Club in Portland, Oregon put on their Spring Fling Lido 14 regatta this year on May 2nd and 3rd. Some boats from Eugene came up to join the fun and there a total of 12 boats starting.

As with our day, things for them got very interesting very fast. One of the participants related the following:

"The skipper's meeting started at 2:00 under partly sunny skies and an 8 to 10 knot breeze. The first race started on time at 3:00 under menacing skies, a building breeze, and claps of thunder. About 30 seconds later a squall rolled across the river. As it hit [us], we luffed the sails and watched them flog in the wind. It wasn't enough to prevent us from being blown over. We tried to prevent the turtle to no avail. We righted the boat and were immediately blown right back over. We decided to wait for the wind to ease a bit before trying again. So, we climbed on top of the turtled boat and began to wait. I looked behind me to see if anybody else had capsized and counted 7 more of the 12 starters turtled as we were. Only 4 boats remained upright, 1 being an 81 year old [with] his grandson on board for his first ride in a sailboat.

"The rescue boats arrived in no time at all, including 3, 2 manned jet skis from the Portland Fire Rescue team.

"[We] were able to right our boat the second time about the same time the rescue boat arrived and decided to accept the tow they offered rather than sail back, as our machismo seems to have evaporated at some point during the adventure.

"Several people had abandoned their boats in favor of the rescue ride as the river water got very cold, very quickly. It took a while to get all the people and boats back to WSC and the race committee decided to cancel racing for the rest of the day. Nobody was hurt and no boats were damaged.

2 races were completed on Sunday in very light winds with [one of our own] taking home a 3rd place trophy in the A Fleet."

Cold water and rain too. Almost makes our little adventure look like a piece of cake. Eight boats turned turtle? Maybe they should look into mast floats...

Until next, sweet sailing.


Don Snabulus said...

That is not a river you can stand up in either. I am little surprised they started the race with claps of thunder since that is a sign of atmospheric turbulence...but the thrill of the race took over I guess. May in Oregon is famous for weather changing on a dime.

I am glad everyone and their boats were safe and it is nice to know that jetskis can actually be useful. Before this, I thought their sole purpose was to annoy everyone not riding one.

Pandabonium said...

For close work, jet skis do provide speed and maneuverability. Quick to launch too. My son in law is in the rescue team of the Maui Fire Dept. and they use them sometimes.

As a toy, however, they certainly are annoying.

Anonymous said...

I hope they all wore life vests... And I just love the fact that the 81 year old was one of the few who remained upright. Way to go, granpa!!