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Gorge Water Temps
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maxwellmaggie



Joined: 10 Oct 2005
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Fri Jul 21, 2006 4:41 pm    Post subject: RE: Gorge Water Temps Reply with quote

feels like 60s...you can sail in trunks and a rashgaurd. I sailed in a wetsuit top last week and it was way too hot.
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 13873

PostPosted: Fri Jul 21, 2006 4:44 pm    Post subject: RE: Gorge Water Temps Reply with quote

Gorge water temps are limited by law to a max of 72 degrees to protect salmon fingerlings. Its not quite there yet (iWs Pressure Report lists water temp below the pressures), running about 70 last time I looked. You wont notice much departure from the posted temps except maybe immediately below a dam. 70 sounds toasty, and 90 air temp sounds hot, but we had to rescue a hypothermic sailor in mid-July whose gear blew away who was clad only in a shorty, leaving him in the river for 2-3 hours. He went back out in a full steamer after recovering his gear. (No wuss, hes an expert who lives and usually sails in the Canadian Great Lakes.) Im still more comfortable in a 2mm full suit than in a 2mm shorty on the usual 90-degree afternoon, because I crash a lot and face swims up to a mile or more.

Air temps range from 50s on a chilly July dawn to 110 some afternoons.

With Google Im sure you can find much more detail, including day-by-day Columbia River surface water temperatures at many spots.

Mike \m/
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melpel



Joined: 10 May 1998
Posts: 234

PostPosted: Fri Jul 21, 2006 7:03 pm    Post subject: RE: Gorge Water Temps Reply with quote

OK, Ill bite... How do you end up with a multi-hour swim on a river? Are you trying to swim upstream to the launch!?
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 13873

PostPosted: Fri Jul 21, 2006 9:46 pm    Post subject: RE: Gorge Water Temps Reply with quote

This particular guy was trying more to retrieve his blown-away gear than get his shivering butt ashore. But then weve rescued several hypothermic sailors out east after their gear has broken or separated, and thats just in the summer. The guys who sail in Jan-Feb without hoods are on their own.

OTOH . . . its not hard to incur an hours swim out east. The reach can exceed two miles, I seldom confine myself to the rut in front of the launch (e.g., I often rip almost directly downwind for over a thousand yards if Im sufficiently powered), and I often swim or butt-sail many hundreds of yards, very often upstream, if the DAMNED WIND breaks as it often does around 9-9:30 P:M. How fast and far can we swim a board and rig, especially in overhead swell if something breaks?

Mike \m/
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 13873

PostPosted: Sat Jul 22, 2006 3:35 pm    Post subject: RE: Gorge Water Temps Reply with quote

And even when we dont go hypothermic, sailing in the gorge sans neoprene costs us shred time we can never replace. One of the three principles of maximizing available shred time is energy allocation: use neoprene to maintain body temp and save our carbs for muscle contraction. Without neoprene, part of our pasta is wasted replacing heat energy -- CALORIES, many hundreds or even thousands of them -- lost to the water. Ive always chuckled when I see kids (people over 30 are usually wiser) standing on dry land getting warm again after a session on and in 70-degree water, and quitting at suppertime because theyve exhausted their fuel supply staying warm. (Tip: shivering = hypothermia, and thee hours in gorge July water temps sans neoprene can lead to unconsciousness.) Even when the underdressed stay warm, its at the expense of shred time theyll never get back. The same three guys at our local water hole consistently come off the water later -- often several HOURS later -- than the vast majority of sailors there. Two of them seldom sail in less than a full (thin) suit except on truly scorching afternoons in late July or early August.

Bottom line: neoprene increases shred time in gorge water temps.

Now, some folks brag that they never fall in. That begs two questions:
What fun is THAT?
How do they LEARN anything?

To the best of my knowledge, the gorges only windsurfing death (not counting a heart attack) was due to summertime hypothermia, in a young professional athlete.

Mike \m/
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 13873

PostPosted: Sat Jul 22, 2006 3:41 pm    Post subject: RE: Gorge Water Temps Reply with quote

When I stand straight up and can see only sky or hilltops looking up- or down-river from the troughs, thats head-high in my book. Weve seen it while sailing 5.2s way out east, where its common on a good, long 4.2 day (it takes time to build); it usually requires more wind in the kiddie pool generally known as the Corridor. Wink

Mike \m/
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pacspeed



Joined: 14 Sep 2000
Posts: 612

PostPosted: Sat Jul 22, 2006 4:03 pm    Post subject: RE: Gorge Water Temps Reply with quote

Enough of this tripe already. A full suit in July? Anything but sunscreen in August? You are either a reptile or a complete sissy.
My rule of thumb: Shorty by June 1st, Trunks by July 1st. The first couple days of those transitions can be a little nippy, but way over heated otherwise. Losing shred time? Whatever. That is one seriously thin thread of logic to say that if you overheat yourself, youll have better endurance.

As to these endless swims, if the river is 2 miles wide (thats a GENEROUS estimate for the Columbia, that is a maximum of 1 mile swim. If it takes you 2 HOURS to swim ONE mile, you got no business out on the water. Take up golf.

Oh, yes Ive seen overhead swells on the river too, hes right on that count.
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WMP



Joined: 30 May 2000
Posts: 607

PostPosted: Sun Jul 23, 2006 12:02 pm    Post subject: RE: Gorge Water Temps Reply with quote

Mike, your body seems more sensitive to extreme temperature conditions than most folks. My biggest complaint sailing in the Gorge is that Im way too HOT most of the time.... even in winter. Ive gotta zip down my zipper to cool off many times. Got into the shorty back in April this year because I sail longer if I can just stay cool.... but thats just the way it is for me. Every body is different.

So, why is it required to fall into the water to have a good time? Why do you have to fall in to have fun or to learn something new? I find it quite fun just to stay *on* the water instead of being *in* the water.... usually its less work that way (??) and increases TOW (isnt dat the primary objective?). Besides, my ol sails feel a whole lot lighter and controllable when they are dry rather than wet.

-- Wind Mtn. Pete
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 13873

PostPosted: Sun Jul 23, 2006 7:57 pm    Post subject: RE: Gorge Water Temps Reply with quote

If Im not crashing, it tells me Im not pushing my envelope. If Im not pushing my envelope, I tend to get bored. Thats one VERY GOOD reason I abandoned dirt biking / desert racing for windsurfing.

I also dress for the Big Swim and put up with the thermal consequences, including sailing unzipped. It has saved me from hypothermia MANY times. Sailing in a shorty in sub-50-degree water is Russian roulette for ANYONE under about 300 pounds.

Mike \m/
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 13873

PostPosted: Sun Jul 23, 2006 8:45 pm    Post subject: RE: Gorge Water Temps Reply with quote

1. My early summertime full suit, at 2mm, loose, and fully Nylon II, is not nearly as warm as a normal shorty, especially in the air. Its insurance against long immersions.
2. Im also over 30, and thus smart enough to consider my safety more valuable than my cool factor. Ive often ridden dirt bikes and skiied at 20 degrees -- below zero -- but water at 65 degrees in a shorty or 70 in trunks can be far more dangerous. I prefer to control the risks I CAN control so I can TAKE risks I CANT control.
3. Ive encountered far too many hypothermic people in shortys -- even in July -- to ignore physics and physiology. Trunks in 65-degree water (early July) can be -- and have been -- deadly. Your nippy transitions often make the newspapers as tragedies when something goes wrong.
4. I very often sail until way past 9RazzM, at which point air temps can drop fairly quickly.
5. And its then that I incur many of my longer swims and butt-sails, because the wind often dies with the light.
6. A two-mile reach is not a generous estimate; its a measurement.
7. And in many places, the nearest shore is not an option, for many reasons, leaving only the launch ya parked at.
8. Ive never swum for two hours in the gorge (big lakes, a different story), but it happens to people who arent willing to abandon broken gear, tow it through a mile of big chopswell, get their shivering butts ashore any place they can, and THEN worry about how to get up the cliff, across the desert, and down 20-60 highway miles back to their dog. We dont all sail in the kiddie pool. (Youve SEEN overhead Columbia swell? Jeez, we SAIL in it MANY days a year.)

Im not advocating sailing hot (unless the water is cold and big). But intelligent selection of materials and design can safely and comfortably accommodate a wider range of air and water temps than limiting ones sailing wear choices to a couple of options.

Mike \m/
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