Racing the Buoy (aka Sailing the Columbia)

Posted: June 20, 2013

By: Bruce Bateau [Three Sheets Northwest]

Stand on Portland’s Interstate 5 bridge on a sunny day, looking down at the Columbia River. You may notice something strange.

The breeze is perhaps 10 knots and steady, and scads of colorful boats and sails dot the water. Upstream, a particularly striking keelboat catches your eye, its generous genoa jib and mainsail completely filled with wind.

The crew is smiling and lounging about the cockpit, drinks in hand, enjoying the day. The bow is slicing through the water, the aft end leaving a fine wake. You stand on the bridge for a long time, watching. The people in that boat are finishing their drinks when it dawns on you. The keelboat has scarcely moved since you arrived.

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