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When's the last time anyone launched from Home Valley
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rhorton1



Joined: 19 Aug 2010
Posts: 42

PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 9:06 pm    Post subject: When's the last time anyone launched from Home Valley Reply with quote

So the last few times out I've been sailing at Stevenson to work on my basics before moving on to launches with more swell. I've dropped by Home Valley a couple times post-session on my way to the Hatchery to get some inspiration, but NO ONE is there. Ever. Home Valley looks pretty flat (like Stevenson), but is oftentimes windier. Whats the deal here? Is it a sketchy launch? Sketchy people? Just want to get a feel on the place before sailing there myself...
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johnl



Joined: 05 Jun 1994
Posts: 1089
Location: Hood River OR

PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 10:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Its been a couple of years for me. If I remember it was a pain to launch there. Nice rigging but a bit of a walk and a good sized wind shadow. At least that is how I remember it...
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tweeky



Joined: 19 Sep 2004
Posts: 256

PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 10:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

johnl wrote:
Its been a couple of years for me. If I remember it was a pain to launch there. Nice rigging but a bit of a walk and a good sized wind shadow. At least that is how I remember it...


That's about right... nothing sketchy about people/parking. Rig up in the grass... bit of an awkward step down to the water with your gear. You'll be in the lagoon, its shallow with a muddy bottom... walk your gear as far out as possible, the water will get shallower on the outer edge of the lagoon, and then go deeper again as you start going out into the river... there is usually a wind shadow, so wait for a good puff and then go for it. I've found its usually much easier to get back in than out, and if the wind is up & down, try to head in on a reach where you are really lit up. If you're using a smaller board, you may have to swim a little back towards the shore to get back in... the swim will not be as bad as it initially looks if you head right for the middle of the lagoon, because you can usually touch bottom sooner than you think.

Home Valley often has nice steady winds, and smaller, fairly clean ramps; great place to learn to jump. I think there's a bit of a wind shadow on the far side too, but that's only when you are really close to shore. Fun place to sail and never busy!
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westender



Joined: 02 Aug 2007
Posts: 583
Location: Portland / Gorge

PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 10:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This year especially I call it Dog Shit beach.

I think everyone has moved on from HV looking for better places. If it's a little north, it can be awesome.
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mikephillips2011



Joined: 09 Jun 2012
Posts: 32

PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 1:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I usually go a few times per year. Usually I am the only one sailing. My family likes the wind protected beach and the kid's swim area next to the launch. Getting through the lagoon to the the wind is not that bad. The lagoon is very shallow so you just wade through the waist deep water for a minute or two. The only problem with the spot is that you're out on your own which is probably not the safest thing to do.
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 13270

PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 8:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tweeks nailed it pretty well, except it sounds like he may be launching from the campground rather than the usual public launch. That, or the bank has changed since I last launched there; I've never seen an "awkward step down to the water", but it's been years. Maybe the heavy foot traffic kept the bank tramped down then. With high water I walk into the lagoon, walk along its west shore past the point, putz past the modest wind shadow, and away I go. If the water's low, I just walk along the dry west beach out to the point. Either way is simple, and it's easy to plane back to walkable water.

What I find most rewarding at HV is the port reach. When the Hatchery is blown out with too much west wind and chop to enjoy, HV is Jump City on port. When it's 3.0 @ the Hatch, it's 4.2 at HV, and if you can't get 6-8 or more good jumps on every port reach, you can't jump or aren't trying. Swell it ain't, but endless waist-high port ramps it is. The ramps are smaller but still very inviting with less wind, allowing greater speeds so loooong jumps are still right at your feet. The WA surface off to the left provides a huge flat jibatoreum and a good speed reach, the shade in the parking lot is great, the grass rigging area is plentiful, and the blackberries are endless if the professional harvesters don't get them all.

It used to get completely parked out towards the highway on strong east winds; we'd get there before dawn to get a shady spot near the front and escape the triple-digit midday August heat. Some guys would take their slalom gear up into the narrows on E winds.

Like every other Columbia launch, HV has its own set of unique pros and cons, adding to the variety available. Sounds like one huge advantage now may be lesser crowds and, when Swell/Hatch gets too blasting to enjoy, more manageable wind. Locals say the new sandbars have really messed with the Hatchery's terrain this year; maybe HV is better even on some routinely windy days, especially on the more northerly days westender mentioned.
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rhorton1



Joined: 19 Aug 2010
Posts: 42

PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 9:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice! Thanks for all the info. I'll definitely make it a point to launch from HV at some point before the end of the season. Sounds like a good place to get introduced to a bit of swell.
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tweeky



Joined: 19 Sep 2004
Posts: 256

PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 9:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

isobars wrote:
That, or the bank has changed since I last launched there; I've never seen an "awkward step down to the water", but it's been years. Maybe the heavy foot traffic kept the bank tramped down then. With high water I walk into the lagoon, walk along its west shore past the point, putz past the modest wind shadow, and away I go. If the water's low, I just walk along the dry west beach out to the point. Either way is simple, and it's easy to plane back to walkable water


No, I'm talking about the normal launch spot from the lagoon... but I think you're right, it got eroded... years back it was fine, but I think the high water messed up what used to be a just a little step down to the lagoon... its no big deal, but now you have to be careful not to nick your board as you step down or up...
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 13270

PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 10:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welllllll ... by "swell', most of us mean big half-pipes one can ride on and in, carving turns while powered or luffed. By Gorge standards HV's terrain is more like bumps than swell, so you might find them a bit rough. What they are, though, is sharp enough to offer air time with almost every row, as fast as one can build up speed from the last bump and jump. Folks not accustomed to blasting across bumpy water might see only the "bump" part without the "jump" part. If so, get some relief by sailing just east of the launch cove, where hero jibes and speed runs are readily available. Of course, in lighter winds, maybe 5.2 and lighter, the whole venue is fairly flat.
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westender



Joined: 02 Aug 2007
Posts: 583
Location: Portland / Gorge

PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 10:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Normal West wind direction will make the knee buster port ramps and the funky conditions that drove everyone away. If there's a wind shadow on the inside at Bob's Beach it's time to check out HV.

When it sets up, the swell is similar to a good east wind at Stevenson.

The river mouth can be some of the best slalom sailing on the river.

A stop at the secret beach is fun too. Cool
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