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Self rescue at The Wall/Maryhill
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AfterDarkMark



Joined: 03 Oct 2011
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Wed Aug 13, 2014 5:55 am    Post subject: Self rescue at The Wall/Maryhill Reply with quote

Fellow boardheads: I so enjoy the comments and info that posters put on this forum, so I'll finally give something back and contribute a little tale of misadventure myself.

Last Thursday 8/7, I was speeding along at The Wall, on my 4.2, looking for a great ramp to jump about 3 hours into a great sesh, and got tripped up in the chop somehow and had a terrible crash. A violent enough ragdoll to send me smashing right through my Naish Force sail! I ended up underwater, completely upside down, tangled in the sail, with my harness line twisted about the hook. Somewhat disorienting! And I knew something was broken right away because of the awful sound of the impact. When I realized that I surfaced through my sail, I knew what it was! The whole middle section was ripped out. What a bummer. At least I was not hurt.

No one was close by, so I knew I was on my own, with a really long swim ahead. The sail was too torn up to even keep in the air. I guess I was about one forth of the way across from the Oregon side, and the current was taking me downriver quickly. (Lucky it was not Spring). So I worked to get my boom off my sail to cut resistance, tied it all to the rear strap of the board and started paddling, surfer style. No barges at the time I was crossing the lane, thank God. But within 10 minutes of me getting out of the lane, one came through, looking to munch some Naish gear for lunch, but he was too late. ha ha. So I continued paddling, and the whole Wall has gone by, and then most of the orchards have gone by. The Maryhill bridge is looming ever closer. I'm getting tired shoulders. (And I had sailed most of the day before, too). Finally, at the very end of Maryhill Campground, a sailor sees me out in the water and launches. She comes out to see if I need help. I ask her (Jennifer) to drag my sail/mast in. In the confusion of untieing all the gear, my boom does not get tied back onto my board adequately, and it came off about 50 ft from the WA shore. I noticed it too late, (too tired I think) and it had floated away. Damn. So stupid. After all the extra effort, to lose it at the last.

Anyway, Jennifer and I finally reach shore almost to the bridge. She hands me the sail and heads downwind to find her boyfriend Tom. She said they might be able to give me a ride back to the Wall area. After about 15 minutes walking upriver I finally get to the Maryhill Campground beach. There I meet Tom, and Jennifer carries my board over the gravel, while I carry the sail/mast. Tom offers to get me his flip-flops to help in my walk back to The Wall, two miles upriver to my car. I say fine. Then he goes off to get them. After realizing it was easier than he first thought to unhook his trailer, etc. he decides to bring his truck around and gives me a lift back to my car, along with my gear in back. Awesome! It would have been a sad, tired, hot walk. So thanks much to Jennifer and Tom from Ft. Collins, Colorado for helping me out and being so friendly. Jasper the dog too. They were missing out on good conditions while helping me, but building their karma.

It is good to know that I can still swim across the Columbia dragging my gear! Sure was glad that is was so warm, and that I had my fullsuit on. It could have been shivery otherwise, or I might have had to ditch my rig. I think I might start carrying a nice long bungie cord - that sure would have been super useful to have. Anyway, the wind remained good most of the day. I really wanted to go back out, but was talked out of it, since I probably would not have had enough energy to adequately deal with a breakdown again, if so unlucky. So chillin' on the beach was called for - very rare for me!

So have an awesome late summer y'all, happy sailing, and keep a healthy respect for the river and the wild conditions we so enjoy.
With Light, - AfterDarkMark usKME-1 Very Happy



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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 14165

PostPosted: Wed Aug 13, 2014 7:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You had a full suit on, in his heat, when everybody else is in shorties or just boardies?
Me, too, for the same reason. Good thinking.

When one paddling/swim mode gets tiring, change modes. Backstroke, sidestroke, even crawl, using one hand, both feet, or a tow line to bring the board along. Surfer style paddling is the most efficient, but we non-surfers tire very quickly with it as we don't use those muscles for anything else.
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philodog



Joined: 28 Apr 2000
Posts: 83

PostPosted: Wed Aug 13, 2014 12:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would have tossed the sail. Yeah, it`s littering but pick up some trash on the beach to regain your karma. Tie the mast, base and boom together with the downhaul line and the extra piece of line everyone ALWAYS carries with them, lay it on the board and paddle lying on top of it. Take off your harness and put it flat on the gear for some padding. Or put your harness on backwards so the hook doesn`t kill you. If you are a good swimmer sometimes it is easier to swim backstroke or crawl with one foot on the nose of the board to tow it.
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windsurfmike



Joined: 20 Jan 2001
Posts: 182
Location: Gorge

PostPosted: Wed Aug 13, 2014 9:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Agree with Isobars and Philodog.Sail not worth the cost to repair. Better to save the boom. And I always wear at least a 3/2 for sun and crashes.
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 14165

PostPosted: Wed Aug 13, 2014 10:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

windsurfmike wrote:
I always wear at least a 3/2 for sun and crashes.

Well, ordinarily I'm in board shorts and a rash guard or 0.5mm neoprene shirt by now, but not this year, as I'm in the water 2 to 3 times per reach (due to medical problems) and the water temp takes its toll. Even 72 degree water feels chilly after an hour or three.
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AfterDarkMark



Joined: 03 Oct 2011
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Thu Aug 14, 2014 4:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I seem to like the full suit no matter how hot it is because it is always cool in the water, and I get cold easily. Also I'm in the water a lot because I'm pushing my abilities, and thus fall in fairly often. Plus I've found that I really like the "body armor" aspect of the rubber. I get bruised up enough even with it on! Another perk is those relaxing time-outs in the water, just easily floating on my back, taking a break and appreciating being out there in the Columbia. Nice.
One hot day last summer, I went out just in my boardshorts and rash guard, just for grins, to rebel and just to "be free". I found out really fast just how much floatation a full suit gives a skinny guy in the water! Seems I was totally underwater the whole time I was getting the sail in position to waterstart! Gosh, so much harder to keep my head above water without it, with the sail pushing down on me. I'll stick to my wetsuit.
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 14165

PostPosted: Thu Aug 14, 2014 8:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree 100% with that. I forgot to mention my flotation; I need it even in a full suit. I can't imagine sailing knowing that I have to tread water when I fall in, drop in to wait out a lull, swim across a wind shadow, tow my gear ashore, eat or drink something in a long session, stop and enjoy the scenery, get my breath back after a few anaerobic reaches, etc. .
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merriam



Joined: 28 Apr 2008
Posts: 62

PostPosted: Thu Aug 14, 2014 8:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You guys just need to drink more beer, then you can provide your own insulation and flotation, plus it's good hydration.
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biffmalibu



Joined: 30 May 2008
Posts: 200

PostPosted: Thu Aug 14, 2014 2:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great story, and I'm certain it was therapeutic to tell.

I am surprised you could/did not use at least the bottom panel to "waterstart" drag your way to shore. I would have tried that first, and there should have been plenty of power to drag. It's much faster than swimming. But perhaps you were fatigued from 3 hours. So I get it.

Good job getting back.
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markl759



Joined: 01 Jul 2004
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Thu Aug 14, 2014 4:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glad you got back.

Where does one carry this "extra" piece of line that is so helpful?
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