SailTime Portland sits on a small island in the middle of the Columbia River, which straddles Oregon and Washington. The base is at the center of a vibrant sailing community, boosted by strong winds and scenic views of Mt. Hood.
Portland, Oregon has an active sailing community, especially considering the size of the Columbia River. River sailing is different from traditional sailing because of the current, making the experience unique, and you have to master the technique to play the currents game. The Portland area is home to a fair share of Olympic and America’s Cup sailors.
SailTime Portland is based on Hayden Island, which is the center of the sailing community on the lower end of the Columbia River. The river is sectioned off by five locks, and Cascade Locks is known for hosting regattas whereas the area above the dam locks feels more like lake sailing, and the winds are unreal. The Columbia River Gorge, a canyon of the Columbia River, used to be the capital of the world for windsurfing. It has phenomenal winds and is a popular area for racing.
From the SailTime Portland base, it is a quick trip to the beautiful waterfront of downtown Portland. Sailors love to view the city’s many beautiful bridges from the water (Portland is also known as “Bridgetown”). Sailors can also visit the many gorgeous state parks along the river, like Beacon Rock or Multnomah Falls.
Sailing is a year-round pastime in Portland, although it doesn’t happen quite as frequently in the winter. Even during the coldest time of the year, the weather is inviting on a few sporadic days.
Mike Fitzhugh is the owner of SailTime Portland, and water is in his blood. He has been on the water since he was born, and his family even lived on a houseboat when he was growing up.
Mike has a retail management background, and he jumped at the opportunity to get into the sailing business. He got his foot in the door more than two decades ago working for The Sailing Life, a sailing school and boat dealership. He took over operations in 2008 and renamed the school and dealership Passion Yachts. In 2014, the business became the SailTime Portland location.
SailTime Portland has a team of nine instructors who help sailors learn the ropes. The location partners with cleaning and maintenance services to take care of the boats.
Mike’s two young daughters, Adelynn and Ava, also love to lend a helping hand and frequently visit Portland’s base to ride the golf cart around the island and look at the fleet.
Mike says it is an absolute joy to work for Wes and Paula, SailTime Portland’s current owner members. They own a Beneteau Oceanis 38.1 named “A Good Life,” and Mike says he enjoys taking care of their baby.
In addition to working with members, Mike also operates a boat dealership. He loves selling boats because he enjoys becoming a part of someone’s dream. He helps them design their boats to make them exactly what the owners want.
Getting to know his clients is one of the big reasons why Mike enjoys the SailTime program. They know he is there for them during every part of their sailing journey.
There are two sailboats and one motorboat in the SailTime Portland fleet, and they are all available for members.
- Beneteau First 25
- Beneteau Oceanis 38.1
- Jeanneau NC 795 Motor Boat