Yacht Club sails through summer

The Hood River Yacht Club held its annual Double-Damned downwind race Saturday. The downwind, every-boat-for-itself sprint from Cascade Locks to The Dalles has grown in popularity and reputation since its conception in 2008. This year’s field of 27 boats was a record for the event, and as the fleet lined up in Cascade Locks for what has proven to be 40-plus miles of gut checking, crew testing, gear breaking, mast snapping and general mayhem on the water.

“That’s what put the event on the map; when it’s on in the Gorge, it’s full-on, and that’s what people who come for this race are looking for,” said HRYC’s Doug Archbald. “This year it was a different challenge, however. Wind was light and the race was incredibly tactical. It was a very fine line between working the edges of the river to get relief from the current and following where the strongest wind was.”

Of the 27 to start the race, only 14 finished. Several pulled out of the race at Hood River and several more had to retire frustratingly close to the finish line because the wind was all but dead just west of The Dalles. For those who finished, a major handing-over of the revolving trophy and bragging rights was due. The winning boat, captained by William Erkelens from the San Francisco-based Richmond Yacht Club, finished first in just over seven and a half hours, ending Hood River Yacht Club member Morgan Larson’s four-year winning streak.

Last summer Erkelen’s boat was in the running but suffered a broken mast near Wind Mountain and had to pull out of the race.

Larson finished in the middle of the pack with a time of 8:16:12, while the last of the 14 finishers came in with a time of just under nine hours.

“Typically times are just over four hours for top finishers,” Archbald said. “I had to retire about a quarter-mile from the finish because the wind just wasn’t there. It was a long day on the water, but the wind was warm and the scenery was amazing.”


The Hood River Yacht Club recently finished its annual summer evening race series and moved on to its fall series. For the eight-race summer series, 15 boats were in the running. First place went to Larson and boat “Brunzer,” a Moore 24 that is particularly well-equipped for downwind racing in windy conditions. Second went to Tyler Bech’s “Super Friends,” followed by Romeo Robichaud’s “Martin,” Archbald’s “Morjito” and Brian Petros’ “Electric Mayhem.”

“We had record attendance for the summer series, which is a sign of the growing interest in sailing around Hood River,” Archbald said. “As racers get better, so does the caliber of racing, which is attracting more people, both locally and from out of town.”

Archbald said anyone “seriously interested in getting involved in sailboat racing” can contact him for details on how to join the action. He can be reached at doug@donnunamaker.com. For more on HRYC visit hoodriveryachtclub.org.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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