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Death, Injury, and the Gorge
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maxwellmaggie



Joined: 10 Oct 2005
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2007 9:17 pm    Post subject: Death, Injury, and the Gorge Reply with quote

I have had one full season in the gorge. I haven't been windsurfing very long but feel pretty comfortable because I have a really extensive competitive sailing background and surf quite a bit.

Clearly the gorge commands tremendous respect with head high swells and 40 knot gusts. In the interest of safety and experience I was wondering if anyone could enlighten me on how to stay safe in the gorge. Are there any particular techniques when wiping out in such big conditions (other than the obvious try not to land in front of the board) to prevent injuries like cracked ribs or tweaked ankles or anything like this?

Also, clearly people have had some life threatening experiences (or worse) in the gorge and are there some good things to be aware of, besides the obvious, like staying within your limits, hypothermia and barges?

I appreciate any experiences or stories anyone has as clearly many of you have been sailing there for decades.
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 14476

PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2007 10:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dress for a long swim, search for powered craft every time you start across the river, wear head, face, and rib armor, look before you jibe and watch out for idiots who don't, stay two mast lengths away from other sailors, do NOT sail behind lone tugs blowing their horns, put a volcano pad on your universal, do not step off your creeping board* at rocky launches, and have fun. That makes us pretty much bullet-proof, except, of course, for the occasional flying sturgeon*.

* = JEEZ, those destroyed knees were sickening to look at!

\m/
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h2olm



Joined: 13 Sep 2004
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2007 1:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Watch out for floating trees, logs, and other types of debris. And yes, the occasional flying sturgeon. Know where the barge lanes are and look both ways before you reach them. Kow the currents of where you are sailing. I've drifted upwind but down river and have had a difficult time getting back up river. Places such as the Wall (my favorite) can have tremendous currents!
Enjoy
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Daveryan



Joined: 02 Apr 2001
Posts: 60

PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2007 9:36 pm    Post subject: Gorge Reply with quote

You mentioned you surf quit a bit. Then the river swell will never challenge you so don't worry about that. The Gorge can be pretty gusty so moving your harness lines closer together can help a bit to quickly de-power the sail in the bigger gusts. most of the danger in the Gorge during the season comes from other sailors more then the environment. The other posts have covered the barges and water temps, etc.

My wife has been sailing the Gorge since 1986, won't rig a sail any bigger then a 3.7 thinks a 7, 10 board is big and she gets freaked out surfing even small ocean surf that you surf "quit a bit" so that might keep things in perspective for you.

D
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tweeky



Joined: 19 Sep 2004
Posts: 256

PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2007 3:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"The occasional flying sturgeon"... how many of you reading that think those guys are kidding? They're not... my wife sailing along last year when "what the holy friggin crap IS THAT!!?". Big sturgeon jumped right out at her, freaked her out for the longest times.
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 14476

PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2007 10:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tweeky wrote:
"The occasional flying sturgeon"... how many of you reading that think those guys are kidding? They're not...


Nor was the guy hauled away from the Hatchery with a knee attached only by soft, floppy tissue last year.

\m/
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jksurf



Joined: 05 Jul 2000
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2007 11:27 am    Post subject: Injuries Reply with quote

I wear some kind of foot protection, both because of natural and manmade bottom hazards and the occassional equipment failure/self rescue and hike along unfamiliar shorelines. I never thought a severe injury would happen to me until I went over the boom and dislocated my shoulder hitting the mast I think. Don't know why I was still hooked in while out of the straps jibing on a wave. Just a lapse in paying attention on an otherwise wonderful day...
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Big Winds



Joined: 25 May 1999
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2007 6:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stay away from the "Dangler" and oh yeah all those long lines tha thave a kite attached to one end.
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geohaye



Joined: 03 Apr 2000
Posts: 1367

PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2007 6:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Death, Injury, and the George"

I'm just glad the original author didn't mis-spell "the Gorge" as "the George".. like it often happens for some crazy reason. I'm sure all of us Georges would prefer to be LESS associated with death and injury.

Back on Topic: Did somebody mention Hanford?

Toxic soup in the Columbia? Are you sure those jibe markers/learning windsurfers flailing around in the water are looking at you... green with ENVY?

no..no..Despite the sensationalism, it sounds like we don't stand much of a risk of death by isotopes. As isobars provided last year:

1. How on earth can Hanford be a surprise to anyone? Its the biggest, nastiest, most toxic chemical and radioactive waste dump in the free world.

2. The gummint has already spent many billions cleaning it up, and will spend many more billions on it. They have made great strides at halting the sources of the spread, but permanent neutralization is still a long ways off as its cost keeps rising into the 11-figure stratosphere. The biggest single problem is the incompetency of the Dept of Energy; they are a classical political bureaucracy without a clue of program management principles and practice. If the DoD were in charge, this would probably have been history years ago, as they have a far greater handle on program management.

3. This was 60 Minutes, not Nightline. I and/or my wife work with and windsurf with dozens of Hanford insiders, sometimes AT Hanford, and the 60 Minutes piece is typical alarmist TV network news crapola. The plume -- thats what the water-bourne underground blimp of toxic waste is called -- will probably reach the Columbia some millennium, but not in the one you and I live in.
A. The guy whose career is tracking the plume told me his kids play on the shores of the Columbia AT HANFORD in safety. This is the most closely monitored big piece of real estate on the planet -- above, on, and below the surface.
B. He also informed me the greatest source of radioactivity in the Columbia water is natural radiation leaching from the soil of the mountains of eastern WA and ID.

4. The Solution to Pollution is Dilution, and the Columbia flows more water than any other river in the nation or maybe even the continent, if I recall correctly. If and when the plume reaches the river, itll be like someone with radioactive seeds in his prostate cancer peeing over Niagra Falls. You probably get more radiation flying to the Gorge.



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Buildflycrash



Joined: 01 May 2007
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2007 2:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had a complete rig & board hit my rig above my head while sailing. It was the windlest day I've ever sailed (gust to 60). The guy was waterstarting 100 yards, or so, up wind. I left the river went straight to the shop and bought a helmet. Wink
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