IF YOU'RE A SAILOR there is perhaps no lake in the American Northwest which offers so splendid a sailing opportunity. Bear in mind, however, the lake is so large and the surrounding topography so varied you'll find distinctly different prevailing conditions depending on where you're sailing. Also keep an eye out for storms.
The majority of sailors on the lake berth at Bayview, at the southern tip of the lake. The prevailing winds here are from the southwest when weather is brewing, though morning winds in summer usually come from the east. The mountains surrounding Bayview are quite precipitous, however, and can often block wind.
Those setting sail from Sandpoint will encounter three different wind patterns. With a weather front coming through, the winds are usually from the southwest. On other occasions, a north wind will blow down from Canada, usually coming up during the night, blowing in the morning and dying by noon. But most typically in the summer, a light but steady easterly wind will come up in the early afternoon.
The winds around Hope are the most unpredictable, and departing from Garfield Bay is challenging because it faces south into the prevailing winds.
Resources for lake sailors:
- The Sandpoint Sailing Association website includes information about sailing, plus a calendar of regattas and events. This group races most Thursday nights and Saturday mornings in summer and always welcomes newcomers. Most sailing association events sail out of the Windbag Marina at Sandpoint City Beach.
- Learn to sail. The City of Sandpoint provides beginning and advanced sailing classes, with small craft sailing out of the Windbag Marina. Details available at the Sandpoint Recreation Department.