The weather was super for the down river trip. Just slightly overcast and a little cool. The trip down river was very easy with no complication. Of course we had to wait at the Vancouver Railroad Bridge. But the bridge tender was in a good mood and only held us up for 5 minutes or so.
We meet up with up with Craig and Julie Beck on "Beck -N - Me at around 1045 hours. They had stayed at the Portland Yacht Club outstation Friday night. So we now had a flotilla of 6 boats heading for Cathlamet, WA.
We heard from fellow club member Brian and Kathy Lawrence on "Katrinka" as they were stopping at Martin Island after two months up North cruising Puget Sound. They wanted us to stop at Martin Island and visit, but we were on a mission. We assured them we would stop and visit them on the way back in St. Helens.
We also meet our Commodore on his way up the river. He was delivering a trawler for a friend. He informed us he would meet up with us in Astoria on Monday.
The trip was uneventful until we got to the Cape Horn area on the Columbia. This area is noted for its afternoon high winds and short nasty chop. It didnít disappoint us. The winds were right on the nose at 16 MPH, with a 2 Ė3 foot chop, about 1 second apart. Needless to say the smaller boats had quite a time. I noticed it had knocked our speed down about one and half knots. But once we turned into Cathlamet Channel it abated quite a bit and the rest of the trip to our destination was uneventful.
The channel now has cans located along the prescribed route. The channel
is noted for boats going aground for those who didnít have one of the maps from Jim Mast, the harbormaster at the marina.
We arrived at appox. 1730 hours and got settled in for the evening. Of the first thing on every ones thought were to get something to eat. So, the whole group headed for the Riverview Restaurant. We all had a just a great meal and after we were finished headed back to the boats for some more socializing.
On Sunday August 6, 2000 are destination was Astoria, OR. Our schedule time to leave was 1000 hours. This time was determined to give us a good push down the river, riding the outgoing tide. Craig and Julie Beck stayed in Cathlamet, as they had to be back in Portland by Thursday. The trip down the river was under clouding skies, but no rain. The river traffic was very light, we only encountered a couple small vessels and no ships.We arrived in Astoria at 1315 hours and were meet by the Harbor Master assistance and were assigned our slips. Greg Brannan on " Sail Le Vie" arrived at 1530 hours. We all did our own things for the rest of the days. I think we all took a ride on The Astoria Trolley. This is a new addition in the last couple years and makes the trip into town a pleasant ride along the waterfront. Some of us ate on the boats and a few found a good place to eat in town. Some of the folks stopped in the Red Lion for an after dinner drinks and were entertained in the bar with the Karaoke singer.
On Monday August 7, we woke up to slight drizzle and overcast skies. The group went into town and explored the shops. Rick and Marlene and Jim and Marlene spent most of the morning looking in the gift shops and trying to find a bus schedule. Walt and Marilyn, Bill and Marla and Craig spent most of the morning also exploring and visiting the Maritime Museum.
On our arrival back at the marina, we noticed our Commodore had arrived after his trip up the river delivering a boat for a friend. Kathie, the first mate on "Wind Raven" and secretary and treasurer for the club had also had arrived and had a surprise for us.
The surprise was our new burgee were had selected at our last meeting. It was better than anyone expected. So we sat around had some cheese and crackers and our favorite beverage to celebrate the occasion.
Around 1630 hours Rick suggested we go for a sail. So Rick and Marlene, Bill and Marla and Craig went on "Misconduct. Jim and Marlene, Mike and Walt went on "R-Time". We had wonderful sail out past buoy 29. It sure was nice to go on some long tacks without looking for wing dams or the shore line as we have to do in Portland.
After all that fresh air we decided we needed to get some food. So the group descended on the Portway Tavern. The staff wasnít expecting that large of a group and had to call in the reserves. We all enjoyed a wonderful meal and the service was just wonderful.
On Tuesday Rick and Marlene, Jim and Marlene and Greg decided a trip to Ilwaco was in order. A couple of the other boats wanted to go, but they were new to sailing and since this was a trip that took us close to the Columbia River Bar, we thought it would be better if they sat this trip out until they had a little more miles under their keels. The trip started with no wind but as we got closer the winds started to pick up. We had a nice sail down the river. Jim and Marlene who had never been to Ilwaco missed the entrance and before they knew it was out past buoy 10 and on their way to the ocean. Rick hailed them on the radio and got them turned around and back to the entrance. We had heard the entrance to Ilwaco was tricky, but we didnít have any trouble. You just had to pay close attention to the channel markers.
To those of you who are not familiar with Ilwaco, it is an old fishing port that had its hay days in the 60ís. There were a few more boats there this year because the fishing has been good this year. Below is a picture of the docks at Ilwaco, this was state of the art in the good old days as some people refer to it.
After we got settle in, we all decided to take a trip to Long Beach. The local transit system is very good and we had nice ride to Long Beach. We visit many of the shops and took a walk down to the beach. We make our way back to the boat and Jim and Marlene fixed a spaghetti diner for everyone.
The next morning [Wednesday] we visited some of the shops along the harbor and Marlene Redfield pick up some fresh caught fish to take back to Astoria. We had a pleasant sail back and meet up the other boats. They had done some sailing and some more visiting of the local area.
On Thursday we headed back down the river. We were going to see how far the wind gods would take us. The plan was to get to Walker Island. This is usually one of the best sails of the trip. With an incoming tide and a West wind it is a great downwind sail. Our trip up river started off as expected. A nice West wind and great sailing. It looked like our plans to get to Walker Island was going to happen. But, the trip was cut short when Jim and Marlene had trouble with their spinnaker. Just past Pillar Rock the wind started to pipe up, so it was time to take down the chute and just go with a head sail and the main. But when Jim went up on the fore deck to sock the chute, he noticed the sock had wrapped around the forestay. No problem, just released the halyard. But somehow the halyard also was wrapped around the forestay. Now we really had a problem, 20 knots of wind and no way to get the chute down. The only solution was to let the tack go and let the chute fly free. Jim will tell you this was no fun. We had thought about going into Steamboat Slough and trying to take the sail down there, but Rick suggested since it was only about 4 miles to Cathlamet, we should head there. So after a nerve-racking trip to the marina, we arrived and were able to get the sail down in about a minute. We had enough fun for the day, so Jim and Marlene, Rick and Marlene and Walt and Marilyn stated at the marina for the night. Bill and Marla and Greg decided to proceed up the river a little further and would meet us in the morning when we started up the river.
We left the next morning [Friday] for St. Helenís. We caught the tide right and had a very easy and relaxing trip. Along the way we caught up Greg on "Sail le Vie".
We all arrived in St. Helenís safely and without any problems. Everyone did their own thing, knowing this was the last night and tomorrow would bring an end to our journey.
One of the nice things about this trip it gives you a chance to relax. And like they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, see the following picture of Rick at rest in Astoria.