Feeling the need for speed? You need a healthy dose of Skamokawa!
Skamokawa is located about an hour west of Longivew/Kelso, WA on the Columbia River. The sleepy little town is stuck in the 1950s when it was a vibrant shipping port for WA timber. But the town is also home to a huge park — Skamokawa Vista Park. The park is rustic, but sports over 80 RV campsites, numerous more tent sites, bathrooms, showers, and one of the larges sand beaches around!
“Skamokawa” is Native American for “smoke on the water”. It is surreal to wake up to the thin veil of fog hanging over the glassy river, only to watch it all burn off by noon and the thermally-driven breeze fill in the afternoon. And “fill in” is putting it mildly.
Sailors will start out in a pedestrian 8k of westerly breeze. But by 4 p.m. you could be double-trapping in 20+ knots. Rarely if ever is racing cancelled due to too much wind. It always seems to top out at a very manageable level.
The Columbia River is a shipping lane to Portland, so it is not uncommon for racing to be temporarily suspended while waiting for commercial shipping to pass.
But the highlight of Skamokawa — what makes it so near and dear to so many Hobie sailors — is the long distance race on Sunday. With a Le Mans (beach) start midday Sunday, racers will sail down river (and upwind) towards Astoria 12-15 miles before turning around and riding the strong breeze back home. It is a hoot and well worth the cost of admission!
This site is rated: Advanced. High winds and commercial traffic require competent handling of the boat by crew.
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