Stevenson Sailboat races hazardous to windsurfing
- Last Saturday (Aug 16) we sailed at Stevenson. Conditions were decent 5.2
for most of the afternoon. The problem was the sailboat races that were
occurring. The sailboat race officials placed their Start-line-staging
buoys right in front of the launch area (Bob's Beach) in Stevenson. There
were numerous sailboat races conducted while I was there.
Each time a race was staged, about 20 high-performance 2-man boats would
jockey for best position on the starting line. While this was happening, it
was absolute chaos on the water as about 25 windsurfers attempted to weave
their way through the sailboat fleet that was in constant motion. I saw
many near-miss collisions, several windsurfers fall-in and nearly get
run-over by sailboats trying to establish a good position in the staging
This situation was absolutely absurd. Windsurfers were nearly being run
over, and the sailboat racers were getting very frustrated with the extra
traffic hampering their race tactics.
The solution was obvious to me. So I sailed out to one of the race
committee power boats to discuss the problem with the race officials. I told
the race officials in the power boat that we had a real problem, and they
agreed. I said the solution would be for them to move the
Start-line-staging buoys upwind about 50 to 75 yards, because I explained
that unlike the sailboats, most of the windsurfers would only be sailing
straight out & back (not upwind or downwind) from the Bob's Beach launch
point. After all, the sailboats were racing from Bob's beach to about a
mile upwind and then back to Bob's again. What difference would it make to
trim 50 yards off a 2 mile course? If they wanted to keep the same course
length, then move the windward mark upwind by 50 yards also!
My suggestion was met with arrogant defiance! One of the race officials
said: "we're not moving this course one inch.... we have a permit to be here
and you windsurfers need to stay out of our way....." They flat refused to
consider a slight adjustment to their course which would have made the day
much more safe and pleasant for both the sailboat racers and the
windsurfers. Instead, race officials and sailboat racers spent their day
yelling at windsurfers to "get out of the way".
This chaos went on all afternoon (from noon to 6 PM). I don't see why these
guys don't get it. Am I missing something? The river is 200 miles long,
and they have to put a race staging area right in front of a windsurfing
beach on a busy weekend? Only a slight adjustment on their part would make
it safe & fun for all, but the race officials are determined to stand their
ground and put everyone at risk.