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Old 07-16-2008
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Question Hi all Pacific Northwest sailer friends

Hi everyone,

Haven't been on for a while. My husband and I have a sailboat on the Columbia River and planning to finally head down river for a few days.

With the river so high, has anyone found any things to watch out for? We will be starting at Goverment Island and hopefully making it to Saint Helens.

Still looking for daytime sail buddies to share time with sailing.

Happy Sailing!
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Old 07-16-2008
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Have fun! I learned to sail on the Columbia, and sailed my first boat (Newport 28 MkII) on the river from Bonneville Dam to Longview. Had a lot of fun. The trip down to St. Helens should be easy. Just watch out for logs and deadheads due to high water.

And the railroad bridge there at Vancouver can be a bottleneck if the trains are moving back and forth. I remember waiting for more than an hour one time. Other times I sounded my horn and they opened within 5 minutes. I can't remember the number and length of blasts required to signal your request to have the bridge swung open, but someone down there will probably tell you (if you don't already know).

Sand Island (across from St. Helens) is a great spot to spend a day or two, and usually has more available dock space in summer than the Courthouse Docks. If there isn't much wind to speak of, and you'd be motoring anyway, take a side trip up or down the Multnomah Channel. The current will be less than the river, and it's a very nice, quiet, serene little pastoral cruise. Then you can tell your friends you "circumnavigated" Sauvie Island - which, IIRC, is one of the largest natural river islands in North America (or maybe just the states).
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