Rough river conditions cut the first day of Regatta racing short - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Rough river conditions cut the first day of Regatta racing short

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RICHLAND, WA - For the first day of the 2nd Annual Richland Regatta, reporter Kristina Shalhoup headed down to the shore to see how things were going.

It was a beautiful day, but unfortunately it was also pretty windy. That, in combination with the high water level on the river, made for unsafe conditions out on the water. In fact, the first time Kristina went down there around noon, the race course hadn't even been set up yet.

She spoke with volunteer Joe Ahrend, who was working on welding the race course buoys. Ahrend said that since yesterday, officials had been trying to weigh those buoys down, hoping to keep them in place.

"We're using railroad ties, pieces of railroad tie on a chain, that weigh about 100 pounds a piece," Ahrend explained. "And on some of the buoys we have four or five of those railroad ties."

Doing the math, some of those buoys are weighed down by four or five hundred pounds...and the craziest thing of all is that even that's not enough to hold them.

Ahrend said that some of the buoys laid out last night were actually found floating down by the bridge. He says that the problem is caused not only by the conditions, but also by the fact that the bottom of the river is mostly sand and silt, so there's nothing for those railroad-tie anchors to latch on to.

Luckily, the wind is supposed to calm down tomorrow.

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