local knowledge

the gorge games

RS Aero,Hayling Island,UK

The first-ever RS Aero North Americans kicks off this weekend at North America’s most beautiful sailing venue.  Class Manager Peter Barton sent in this preview.

In just nine months since the first RS Aero arrived in the States, the first RS Aero North American Championship is set to achieve over 20 entries with sailors expected from all corners of the U.S. Three boats are making the long drive north from Santa Barbara, California, with another journeying from San Francisco Bay. One competitor is flying in from Florida and two more all the way from Hawaii. The mountain venue of Park Lake City, Utah, is also fielding a competitor, together with a good splash of ‘local’ Portland and Seattle boats.

The Santa Barbara fleet could be ones to watch having enjoyed more sailing hours after receiving their boats in January in the warmer southern climate. However, Pacific Northwest sailor Michael O’Brien dominated the Seattle fleet’s POD regatta in May and Eric Aker won the first Boston fleet event. In such a new class, with sailors coming together from such a large area, it remains near impossible to conclude any meaningful guide, providing much anticipation as the fleet revs up to the first start line.

The clinic is open to all and will be a perfect opportunity to pick up some last minute tips and tricks to blast around the challenging Gorge racetrack in good shape! Those wishing to come try the boat are welcome and should book through West Coast Sailing for any remaining slots.

The Friday opening day will conclude with the RS Aero GPS Speed Challenge. Each sailor will have 10 minutes to post their fastest time on the Velocitek SpeedPuck reaching across the river.

The main championship will take place on Saturday and Sunday, July 25th and 26th, with all 3 RS Aero rigs scheduled to start together. This could provide some interesting results with the likelihood of good breeze. Short course racing will be held with plenty of downwind angles for sailors to make the most of the fantastic wind and waves at the Gorge.

West Coast Sailing, RS Sailing’s western U.S. distributor in Portland, OR, has been instrumental in the making of this event and the growth of several U.S. Aero fleets. By end July there will be 90 RS Aeros in the States with nearly 50 on the West Coast. The excitement of the West Coast Sailing team has recruited sailors from newly formed Aero fleets throughout the country to this regatta.

Renowned for its fresh water, reliable breeze and unbelievable scenery, Cascade Locks has been a source of inspiration for Columbia Gorge Racing Association (CGRA), who have gone from strength to strength promoting small boat sailing events in the Gorge since 1996. Sailors can expect a professional, well run North American championship. Full news, results, details and entry list are available here;

RS Aero Class Website here, and Facebook Group here.