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  New speed spot in the Gorge (USA)

For the attention North American GPS speeders:

I have found a new strip of flat windy water here in the Columbia River Gorge. We have heaps of wind, but very few broad reach lee shores upon which we can wind up some serious speed.

I'm calling this spot "Hole in the Wall" as it exists just 200 meters upwind of the famous high wind free-sailing launches known as "The Wall". Technically, it is on the Oregon side of the river, but there is no good water access from that side. Access is closest from the western most launch at The Wall on the Washington state side.

GPS_Speedsurfing webmaster: Please add a new speed spot for the USA as "Hole in the Wall, Oregon"

From Google Maps you can get an overview of this spot (zoom out for perspective):

The lee shore is formed by the rocky shoal to the ESE of the island in the center of the aerial photo. The wind is from the WSW, somewhat parallel with the dashed line denoted the mid-channel interstate boundary.

So how fast is it? I hit it yesterday in 25-30 knots riding a Sailworks 4.8 Hucker on a 8'6" jump board - a very fast setup, but not fully out trimmed for speed. My fastest run was a 38.4 knots, backed up by three 37.9 runs. The course is very broad, so there is some following chop to deal with. There is easily 300 meters to the run, maybe more.

This stretch of the river can get seriously windy some, so there heaps of potential. Low 40's should be attainable. The Wall is one of the most hard-core high wind sailing sites in the Gorge. Check it out if you are not familiar: http://tinyurl.com/c6rtw

I will post my session speeds tomorrow.

Bruce Peterson
8/18/2005Kean Rogers

Great find Bruce, amazed no one tried it before. Have driven past it loads of times. At least you can gauge your speed with the traffic on the freeway! How deep is the water and how high is the berm? Can you get in really close for super flat water. I checked out the satellite and measured 300m with a 100m finish area, is there enough room to beat back out to windward? I will add it to the maps for GPSAR, can't wait to try it next week. Even the old Klickitatt speed strip may come back into play with the sandbar reforming, how does it compare as you have sailed both?
8/18/2005Michael Howard

Hi Bruce,
Thanks for your post on this great web site. It is good to see your long time enthusiasm for windsurfing and is great to see a company that has not been taken over to the dark side (Kites).
Will you be looking at developing Speed Sails in the Sailworks sail range?
8/19/2005Martin van Meurs

The Gorge is a famous place also for speedsurfing. I remember very fast speeds being sailed there when Bruce was racing the world cup. Great to read that there's another spot with huge potential. Good luck!

What happened to the old speedstrip? Is it correct speeds in excess of 40 knots were being reported on the 100 meter speed dash in the late eighties?
8/19/2005Kean Rogers

G'day Martin,

the old speed strip at Lyle where the Klickitat River meets the Columbia River got washed away in 1996. The sandbar is slowly reforming and it may come back into play. It was only 100m with 100m run up so may not be good for 10 sec recordings. Will check out the new spot this coming week to see its potential. Will take some GPS waypoints and post a map for it when I get back from California on Monday.

Hi Martin,

The Hood River Marina speed area was used for years as the finish for the Columbia Gorge Pro Am speed slalom and it was indeed fast even before sandbar grew. Speeds up to about mid 30 knot range were recorded at finish in the 80's. We locals had some awesome afternoon drag sessions for years in that area

Brian Shurton, owner of Brian's Windsurfing School http://www.brianswindsurfing.com/ and one of our fastest sailors, brought the recent new awareness of this site. He has been the motivator for sailors to give it a try over past few years, , following the major sandbar growth. Bruce Peterson and Dale Cook, others have sailed down a bunch as well. Thanks Brian!

Some very fast times were recorded at the Klickitat in 90 s when Ken Winner assisted in setting up a good timing system. I competed in all whether windy or not. It was a great bunch of guys who worked together to make it happen.

Mike Delahanty had the fastest time at 45.6 knots. I believe at least Brad Duffy and maybe Ferris Hamilton broke or almost broke the 45 knot range.

Bruce Peterson, fast then, still fast now clocked almost 43 knots. There are about a dozen guys or more who exceeded 38 knots (almost 45 mph over 100 meter).

At this point I sailed for Hot Sails as did 18 yr old Finian Maynard. I drove him out there many times. He was fast as well, winning some days, not there the record day, though. You could see his potential, quite a feell for water.

I have been checking it out over last year. Today I spoke with veteran , Richard Sperling who lives in Lyle nearby. It appears quite sailable. It does take some trouble and time to set up and rig.

We could get some nice GPS times there, but most of us take the measured timing as we had to be the best setup for serious speed so as to be fair for all. The GPS runs would be fun, though.

The GPS thing is just terrific. I have been using for several years now for fin testing for my company, previously onboard speedometers. This site is a good way for all of us to get a general idea of speed at sites around the world.

Best wishes,
Bill Kline
8/24/2005Kean Rogers

Fastest speed at the Klickitat River Course near Lyle was 44.45 knots over 100m by Mike Delahanty on a Gorge Sails 4.8 in the early 1990's. No one has ever recorded 45 knots in the Gorge. Mike is back in town now and I set him up with a GPS the other day, he's eager to get out at Lyle and see what he can do on the GPS. With the advent of the GPS, GPSAR software and this site, the days of measured speed trials are coming to a close. It's now convenient for sailors to go fast anywhere in the world and measure it accurately.

8/24/2005Tom Tlusty

Great to see Bruce and Dale put up some very quick numbers. Hole in the Wall sounds really good, the Marina gets about the crappiest wind in the Gorge so an alternative was definitely needed. Good stuff.

Mike Delahanty Speed Knots
45.61knt Speed MPH


Mike Delahanty 52mph 45.61knt Hood River Ken Winner 100m Speed Trap Sept 13, 1994 8'2" Priester B&J Gorge Sails

8/24/2005Kean Rogers

Confirmed by Mike Delahanty and listed on his business cards: US Speed Sailing Record 44.45 knots - 51.2 mph. As I said no one has gone 45 knots in the Gorge.

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