The RS Aero Class will be descending on the Pacific Northwest for the RS Aero World Championship at the end of June. RS Aero sailors will compete in the 2022 World Championship from June 24th – July 1st at the Columbia River Gorge in Hood River, Oregon.
The Gorge is a unique sailing venue, a true showcase of the mighty forces of nature. Here, the Columbia River cuts through the Cascade Mountains, creating a wind-tunnel that runs between the beautiful mountains that rise from the water’s edge, reaching nearly one mile vertically in some places. The afternoon thermal breeze pipes up against the Columbia River’s current to provide some fantastic long downwind rides through awesome scenery. The upwind current then provides a conveyor belt back to the windward mark. Sailors can get ready to enjoy some long downwinds!
North American RS Aero Class Representative John Renehan shared with us why the venue helps contribute to the excitement of this year’s event. “The really cool thing about this event is the venue, which is a deep river gorge cutting through a mountain range. Sailors often compare it to Lake Garda because of its consistent breeze and scenery. Its somewhat remote location (the venue is within a national scenic area 45 mins from the nearest big city) makes it a true destination venue. Great sailing combined with good weather, abundant hiking/waterfall sightseeing, and charming small-town winery/brewery/resort-style opportunities serve to make the Gorge a must-visit location.”
Carl Buchan, the 2022 RS Aero Worlds Co-Chair, is equally excited about the unique conditions the Gorge has to offer. “The Gorge is known for the westerly winds that funnel through the gap in the Cascade Mountains on their way from the Pacific Ocean to the interior of the Pacific Northwest. The Columbia River current heads in the other direction and helps shorten the upwind time while stretching out the reaching and running legs for lots of fun and fast paced off-wind work. Tactically, the mix of the current, wind shifts and puffs keep things challenging both upwind and downwind, even from one leg to the next. On the occasion it is hot enough on the coast, the wind will come from the East and shake things up a bit. The experienced Columbia Gorge Racing Association committee has successfully managed numerous regattas throughout the summer for many years.
The sail to the racing area is short and the days are long in the summer, which gives plenty of time for you and anyone travelling with you to relax and socialize ashore as well. Enjoy some of the other activities the Gorge is highly regarded for like hiking or biking (if you have enough energy left over after sailing). For more variety, you can head to the town of Hood River for some kiting/foiling or to enjoy the various restaurants and shops. Venture a little further out of town to the many local wineries. The Gorge is all about maximizing fun on and off the water.
Recalling a trip he took with friends Buchan says, “I once took some non-sailing friends of [mine] to the Gorge and they said, ‘what is it with this place, everyone here is smiling’.” After one visit to the Gorge, it’s easy to see why it brings such joy to everyone who ventures to its shores. We hope you will be able to join us in the Gorge for the Worlds and enjoy first-hand all that this area has to offer.