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Almost Drowned in Gorge (Rowena)
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untwed



Joined: 29 Jul 2003
Posts: 40

PostPosted: Fri Jun 09, 2006 10:59 am    Post subject: Almost Drowned in Gorge (Rowena) Reply with quote

Im quite happy to still be alive today. This is my 3rd season at the gorge and consider myself a decent windsurfer having sailed the hatch and dougs beach often. Rowene is relativily new to me but for some reason, I had a really tough time trying to swim to my gear. I had to give up and swim to shore. Buying a LIFEJACKET at my next opportunity.

The gear I lost was a 77L JP free wave with a blue Naish Force sail. I can identify all the other parts and brands of the rig. Pleas contact me if found:
Ken Lie
untwed@yahoo.com
503-367-8075
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WMP



Joined: 30 May 2000
Posts: 607

PostPosted: Fri Jun 09, 2006 2:21 pm    Post subject: RE: Almost Drowned in Gorge (Rowena) Reply with quote

Glad you made it out alive, Ken. In the past couple days of sailing, Ive twice seen ghost gear floating down the river. Yesterday I saw a body floating at Rufus on the WA side... thought for sure the dude was dead. I yelled out ARE YOU ALRIGHT??) the guy looked up and said he was fine, apparently just got the wind knocked out of him and was catching his breath, eventually got back to his gear.

I dont know if a PFD is a really good idea on Gorge nuker days, especially in big swell.... if you are in the water in a huge set of swell and someone is sailing along and doesnt see you (happens quite often), youll need to duck under the water really FAST... cant do that with a PFD on. Also, Ive heard of folks getting run over by a barge and their only way of escaping death was to swim down under the barge and over to the side.... they would have died with a PFD on.

Its your choice, but there are certainly hazards and dangers either way. I choose to be a good swimmer and hang onto my gear as much as possible while sailing in the super nuker conditions.

-- Wind Mtn. Pete
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coachg



Joined: 10 Sep 2000
Posts: 2012

PostPosted: Fri Jun 09, 2006 7:29 pm    Post subject: RE: Almost Drowned in Gorge (Rowena) Reply with quote

Getting a lifejacket will save your life, but not your gear. You are much slower swiming with a lifejacket than without, but a life is worth more than any gear. I have the lifejacket made for kayaking. It is cut real short at the waist so it doesnt interfeer with my harness.

Coachg
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coachg



Joined: 10 Sep 2000
Posts: 2012

PostPosted: Fri Jun 09, 2006 11:19 pm    Post subject: RE: Almost Drowned in Gorge (Rowena) Reply with quote

Dude,
You sound like the guys trying to tell us why motocycle helmets are dangerous and it is safer to ride without one, or how seatbelts can choke you so you are better off driving without one.

I read about people dying all the time because they didnt have a PFD on. I cant remember the last time I read about a person that died because they had a PFD on. You are right, it is our choice. But I think you have a better chance of wining the California lottery than getting killed wearing a PFD in the water.

Coachg
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bobgatpdx1



Joined: 13 Oct 2002
Posts: 384

PostPosted: Fri Jun 09, 2006 11:58 pm    Post subject: RE: Almost Drowned in Gorge (Rowena) Reply with quote

Ive always used a PFD in the Gorge. Makes it easier to waterstart, gives a little extra cushion for crashes, and of course helps you float a long time. I use ProMotion PFD - works well with harness, but is NOT Coast Guard Approved.

Im not an ocean sailor, but I guess that in big waves a PFD can be a problem because you cant duck into the wave to avoid being rolled. Ive never had that problem in the Gorge even in 30MPH conditions.

Hope your gear turns up, but mostly glad you made it back to shore. Dead windsurfers suck.
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hilton08



Joined: 02 Apr 2000
Posts: 401

PostPosted: Sat Jun 10, 2006 12:16 am    Post subject: RE: Almost Drowned in Gorge (Rowena) Reply with quote

Pete,

I cant say that I agree with your logic. A PFD should make you float higher in the water and be more visible, especially a bright colored PFD (and helmet). Diving under the water will just make you invisible to the next guy and more likely to get hit by someone else when you do come up for air. I learned this the hard way. Thankfully I only got the dull bottom of the board (and not the fin) to the skull.
As for barges, theres no excuse for not seeing them and you should be able to avoid them altogether.
I do agree with hanging on to your gear, dont rely on the PFD if you are not a strong swimmer, and be realistic about your skills and physical conditioning before going out on the really big days.
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hilton08



Joined: 02 Apr 2000
Posts: 401

PostPosted: Sat Jun 10, 2006 12:16 am    Post subject: RE: Almost Drowned in Gorge (Rowena) Reply with quote

Pete,

I cant say that I agree with your logic. A PFD should make you float higher in the water and be more visible, especially a bright colored PFD (and helmet). Diving under the water will just make you invisible to the next guy and more likely to get hit by someone else when you do come up for air. I learned this the hard way. Thankfully I only got the dull bottom of the board (and not the fin) to the skull.
As for barges, theres no excuse for not seeing them and you should be able to avoid them altogether.
I do agree with hanging on to your gear, dont rely on the PFD if you are not a strong swimmer, and be realistic about your skills and physical conditioning before going out on the really big days.
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 14339

PostPosted: Sat Jun 10, 2006 12:40 am    Post subject: RE: Almost Drowned in Gorge (Rowena) Reply with quote

PFD/life jacket . . . no . . . for the reasons given. Just too dang bulky and floaty. The ticket -- to water starts, swimming efficiently for distances especially in chop, and rib protection -- is as flotation vest. They have about half the flotation of a legal PFD, you can swim straight down wearing one, they AID swimming by keeping your body higher in the water and keeping your piehole out of the chop, they are entirely unobtrusive as long as you fasten them to your harness to prevent their riding up, they add no discernable bulk . . . in a nutshell, the only way you know youre wearing is that you can breathe and swim better while wearing them and landing FLAT on your back from mast high doesnt hurt. Zeiner, Maui
Magic, DaKine, and Pro Limit are some of the brands of slim, unobtrusive vests. Windance carries the latter.

And get to the gym more often for that wind sprint problem. It really helps to swim all winter. Wink

Mike \m/
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WMP



Joined: 30 May 2000
Posts: 607

PostPosted: Sat Jun 10, 2006 2:00 pm    Post subject: RE: Almost Drowned in Gorge (Rowena) Reply with quote

Seat belts and motorcycle helmets are proven to be safer than without... thats why they have laws requiring them. No such law for PFDs while windsurfing, gotta be a good reason why the coast guard doesnt require PFDs while windsurfing.... why do you think that is?

Prevention is best... like, not letting go of gear while windsurfing? If the sail somehow gets out of my hands, I make sure to keep my feet in the straps and Ive never had an ankle injury as a result of a fall, even while still in the straps at full speed (I only sail small stuff). The moment gear gets away from me (almost never), I swim like crazy after it... 25+ years of sailing the Gorge (year round), Ive never lost my gear, never had to swim in without it.
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coachg



Joined: 10 Sep 2000
Posts: 2012

PostPosted: Sat Jun 10, 2006 11:29 pm    Post subject: RE: Almost Drowned in Gorge (Rowena) Reply with quote

The coast gaurd doesnt require PFDs for the same reason we dont have to register our boards. We are not considered boats.

I have no problem with people wearing or not wearing PFDs. I have a problem with people trying to justify not wearing a PFD by saying you are safer without it. That is a long reach.

Coachg
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