Wednesday, August 15, 2012
When Hood River County Marine Deputy Mike Anderson got up Friday, he figured it was going to be one of those days.
High winds and heavy chop on the Columbia River offered to make things difficult for boaters, so Anderson decided to stay close to the marina and his powerboat.
It turned it to be a smart decision.
Two catamarans in trouble made for a busy day for local law enforcement.
The first catamaran flipped near the mouth of the White Salmon River Friday morning.
While the sailors managed to get the boat righted again, Anderson warned them that the boat was likely to have to have difficulty in the weather conditions.
“I told them they were probably going to get wet,” he said.
The boat wound up flipping three more times before they called it a day and returned to the Hood River Marina.
“I saw them as they pulled into the marina and they said ‘Yeah, it was a little windy,’” Anderson said.
The next call came in around 4 p.m. when another catamaran was reported capsized in the river near the Hood River-Wasco County line.
The sailors reportedly tried to right the boat several times, but each time it just flipped again.
“The wind was just way too strong for that Cat,” said Anderson.
With an OSP trooper spotting from the freeway, Anderson picked up Fish and Game officer Justin Frazier and again went on the river.
The sheriff’s boat towed the catamaran into slack water behind Stanley Rock.
With the shelter from the wind the sailors, one from Gresham and one from White Salmon, were able to flip the 16-foot yellow Hobiecat over and get under way again.
Anderson said that while high winds can make it seem like a good day for sailing, those going out on the water need to be aware of their capabilities and those of their boats.
“They need to be aware that the wind has a steady but also a high peak gust. If they are using their big sails they need be aware of how the wind is,” Anderson said. “If they don’t have a smaller sail they probably need to stay in for their own safety.”
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Kiteboarders in action during the pro competition Friday at the 16th Annual Bridge of the Gods Kite Fest in Stevenson. All photos by Ben Mitchell. Enlarge