The Lake Garda of the West

736 miles and 11.5 hrs of driving later…, we have made it to skiff mecca, the Columbia River Gorge for our 3rd camp of the summer!

We are looking to spend the next 2.5 weeks here in Cascade Locks, Oregon and once again take advantage of some of the best conditions that the United States West Coast can offer. Great breeze, fresh water and beautiful views!

Why do this?

  • The Gorge is known for its beautiful venues, fresh water and epic skiff conditions, which will continue to keep the learning curve high and allow the group to push hard in challenging conditions
  • Easy and quick access to the sailing venue will allow for multiple session days; keeping the feedback loop tight and the energy high
  • We are once again! able to get some great coaching support for the US Squad from Skiff Master and Cascade Locks Guru Charlie Mckee!

Another big benefit to our 3rd camp is our ability to stay together safety, which is facilitated by camping at Marine Park, right next to the venue! De-briefs around the camp fire are going to be a nice change of pace from our previous camps.

Here are the things we are looking to work on while in The Gorge:


  • Stability and balance out of gybes: quick transitions back to racing mode, kite control, and smooth body weight movements in the second half of the gybe
  • Settling time and driving into tacks: minimizing the necessary time to get ready for a tack, working on the correct entry angle and boat speed
  • Windward mark Roundings: working to transition from “full boat speed mode” to “bare-away mode” quickly and efficiently
  • Leeward mark Roundings: consistent rate of turn in gybe-douses, smooth movement across the boat, clean douses and control of gybe 

Boat Speed:

  • Focusing on finding the proper tuning quickly: falling into the groove as fast as possible
  • Putting ourselves in more “compromised lanes”: learning to be comfortable with the uncomfortable
  • Improving communication on VMG Gain/Loss when other boats are difficult to view

Starting/Short Course Racing:

  • Specific starting practice work: holding and defending positioning and acceleration, time and distance to build confidence in our speed when we cross the line at go
  • Racing situations: working on racing comms, decision making and strategy planning

Of course, we wouldn’t be able to do any of this without the help of so many different organizations and people. We would like to give a big thank you to the Columbia River Gorge Racing Association and their members and staff for all the generosity in allowing our squad to come train out of their facility and to the US Skiff Advisory Council, US Sailing Team and US Sailing Development Team for providing all of the specific help and support, which allow us to continue to train this summer!

Can’t wait to get sailing over the next couple weeks and really put in the hours here at the Gorge. Stay tune for more updates and photos! throughout the next couple weeks both on facebook, @barrowshenkenracing, and on instagram, @hanshenken and @49erUSSkiffSquad.

Salty Brother Films :
Salty Brother Films :
Salty Brother Films :
Windmark Foundation

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