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  #1  
Old 05-14-2010
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Ideal Draft for the Columbia River

Most of my sailing experience has been in San Diego, Puget Sound, Sea of Cortez, and the British Columbia, but now I am in Portland, Oregon and I'd like to get a boat. I'll sail out of the Portland or Scappoose area on the Columbia (and perhaps the Willamette), both east and west, looking to gunkhole and explore. Obviously there is a dredged commercial channel with depth for the big ships coming up the river. Outside of the channel, what kind of draft is recommended - how deep can I get away with?
I have my eye on a Tartan 30, but am not sure the 4'11" draft is right for this area.
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Old 05-14-2010
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There are a lot of larger boats on the Columbia/Willamette. The Willamette River is plenty deep, the Columbia varies and you'll have to review the applicable charts. Coming up or down the Multnomah Channel going north to Columbia, or south towards Willamette, the depths vary, but look doable. Looks dicey up north by Scappoose Bay, heading into the Columbia. This is based on my review of the charts of the area, which I own.

I'm getting ready to launch my first sailboat (Sundance 23), up at the Rocky Point Marina (3 miles from Scappoose) on May 24. You're welcome to come explore with me once I get things all set up. I could use a hand on board, with real experience, while you're figuring out what you want to do.

PM me if you're interested.





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Old 05-14-2010
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Thanks for the feedback and the offer, Carl. I found the NOAA charts online and through ActiveCaptain. It doesn't look like a 5 foot draft is a total deal breaker, but I'd probably worry less with a shoal keel drawing 2-3feet.

I'd be stoked to take your boat out with you - I'm short on posts to use the PM feature (if I understand the rules right), but once I get past that threshold I'll shoot you my contact info.
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Old 05-15-2010
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Cool. Last few summers I've explored lots of the waters up around Scappoose, Woodland, Ridgefield, on the Kayak. Prior to that, for the past 25+ years, more in-land rivers and lakes, of which we have plenty.

You'll have a great time here in Portland. Brewing capital of the Planet.

Look forward to hearing from you. I'm really excited about my first sailboat. Did a bunch of time on a sailboat on Long Island Sound as a kid. Can't think of a better hobby right now.

Edited to add: I've paddled the waters we'll be hitting. I know some rocks that aren't on the charts. Scary riding right over the top of the berg that sunk the Titanic 2 inches below thin fiberglas and vital body parts.

Studied the charts, tons, and have charts from Alaska to San Francisco on a jump drive I use in a little netbook. I'm hoping my old Magellan GPS will interface with the yet-to-be-purchased $35 software upgrade, where you can actually really use these charts and have a cheap chartplotter. If this doesn't work, I'll have a chartplotter on the boat soonest. I have redundant systems, old and new, and will never rely, solely, on anything electric. I've climbed a couple of the mountains here, can survive in the outdoors, hunt and fish, know how to make do with little, ski patrol, first aid, military experience.

I'll install the BBQ and we'll grill whatever you want while cruising to Portland for the Blues Festival, perhaps.
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Last edited by carl762; 05-15-2010 at 02:35 PM.
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Old 05-16-2010
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Ideal?

I don't know what is the ideal draft but I've explored the Columbia from Ilwaco to Richland and I have a 6 foot draft. And I've only run aground twice. So my advice is buy the boat you want and don't worry too much about having to get one with a shoal draft. As a side note, the only time I wished I had less of a draft was one late summer I was going by Sand Island which is up river from Portland a few miles and couldn't get very close to shore to view the many nudes there. Yes, it's a clothing optional beach.

OBTW if you're ever up river stop in and see us at the Walla Walla Yacht Club. We're located right in the Wallula Gap where the wind always blows and the scenery is beautiful.
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Old 11-26-2011
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Did you get a boat for the columba, what did you end up with?
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Old 11-26-2011
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We moored our C27 in Scpoose bay a couple years ago. In late Aug. I drug bottom in the center of the channel (4" draft) barely made into slip. The H28 next to us joked that he 'd never had to use ful throttle to get into a slip before.....
Find a copy of Evergreen Pacific River cruising Atlas for the Columbia.
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