The World Championship for the RS Aero dinghy will take place in Cascade Locks from June 24 – July 1, 2022. The event and the boat are generating a lot of excitement. 

The RS Aero fleet is deep and talented, but also varied and welcoming. And both the fun-meter and preparation efforts for this summer’s big event are registering off the charts. It’s not every day we get a regatta announcement from a sailor as immensely accomplished as Carl Buchan, but here’s what he wanted 48° North readers to know about the upcoming Aero Worlds: 

The Aero is a single-handed dinghy that has become popular in recent years, including here in the Northwest. The event was originally scheduled for 2020, but well you know… it was postponed to 2022. The Aero features 3 different rig sizes (5, 7, and 9 square meter) for sailors of different sizes and abilities. Each rig size will be racing separately for its championship. RS Sailing is providing great charter boat opportunities and we are also planning a pre-Worlds event and a clinic for those who just can’t get enough!

The Gorge is known for the westerly winds that flow from the Pacific Ocean and funnel through the gap in the Cascade Mountains. The Columbia River current heading the opposite direction helps shorten the upwind time and stretch 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 keeps things challenging both upwind and downwind, even from one leg to the next. On the occasional days when it is hot enough on the coast, the wind will switch around and come from the east just to shake things up a bit. We are fortunate to have such a great sailing venue in the Northwest and look forward to sharing it with those who come to the Worlds from outside of our area. 

Local Aero sailors have been working hard to prepare for the event. In addition to the regular racing schedule, which began the year with frostbite racing in January, the fleet has organized its own training sessions on weekends when there is no scheduled racing, featuring some of the top local sailors on a rotating basis, as coaches. The goal is to bring up the level of all the sailors. The Aero is a very sensitive boat with lots of speed potential just waiting to be tapped into and responds well to differences in sail trim, weight movement, and steering technique even with subtle changes in the wind or waves. The boat has a wide variety of modes both upwind and downwind that can work. Learning which mode works best, and when, will be critical to success at the Worlds. So, plenty of things for all to work on! In addition, the Seattle Aero group is constantly sharing what they are learning, knowing that the more we can raise our level as a group, the better each of us will do against those who come to the event from around the world. 

In addition to the great sailing conditions and proximity of the course area to the shore, the variety of great outdoor activities in the area make it a fun event for friends and family as well as the competitors. If you’re interested in lending a hand, the experienced ColumbiaGorge Racing Association race committee is looking for support boat personnel.


Title background photo courtesy of Bill Symes.