Five Favorite Sailing Spots in Oregon
The Columbia around Portland
Portland has the largest population of sailboats in Oregon, and many Portland sailors like to cruise back and forth from the Interstate Bridge to the east end of Government Island. The summer prevailing winds, out of the northwest, are ideal for sailing upstream; you can tack all the way home. There are awesome views of Mt. Hood on a clear day, and Government Island has several good anchorages for overnight stays and lunch stops.
The Columbia around Astoria
The Astoria area also offers good winds and an opportunity to bring your boat out in the ocean. Sailing here keeps you on your toes, as the area also has a lot of shallow water at low tide and the current flows upriver on the flood tide is considerable. Overall, it’s a great place to hone your ocean sailing skills—and help get rid of the ocean jitters.
Howard Prairie Reservoir
Set in a beautiful canyon near the upper reaches of the Rogue River, Howard Prairie typically has steady winds and a lively sailing community. There are plenty of open areas for you to let out some sail, regular club sailings, and open regattas hosted by a local yacht club. It’s close to Ashland, so you can combine a day of sailing with an evening of Shakespeare!
Fern Ridge Reservoir
Fern Ridge Reservoir supports excellent sailing. Prevailing winds are from the west and provide steady sailing for the 5-mile length of the reservoir. Two popular yacht clubs host race series throughout the summer months, which include national and international competitions. Race classes include Lightening, Thistle, J-24, and Santana fleets are annual events. It’s not unusual to be able to sail round the clock to train for extended cruising. The 11th Avenue canal on the south end of the lake off Perkins Peninsula opens to a winding channel affording excellent bird watching and slow “riverboat” cruising, perfect for a lazy summer afternoon.
The waters around Coos Bay once hosted large clipper ships bound for ports around the globe. Today, Coos Bay (out of Charleston) provides great cruising. An average day might take you past old log mills, or under the breathtaking Coos Bay Bridge. These waters are tidal, so keep that in mind when you plan your day!
For more information on sailing the glorious waterways of Oregon, please visit our Outdoor Recreation section.
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