Fort Erie’s Niagara River Tour
by Hoppy

Fort Erie’s Niagara River shoreline gently arcs from West at Waverly Beach to West at Mac’s Crossing, a full 180 degrees. This means that within a 1-mile radius, a small group of spoiled and lucky windsurfers can sail any wind direction, with the wind opposing the river current.

Our Tour begins at Old Fort Erie, a beautifully restored stone fort at the beginning of the Niagara River corridor. If the wind is North East and you are crossing the Peace Bridge, look to the left (south) where you will see me and several Fort Erie sailors ripping and jibing endlessly drawn to the wind by a 3 to 4 knot current. By the way, entering and leaving Canada gives you access to Duty Free Shopping, which will offset the bridge toll, making your trip a profitable venture. (i.e. Molson Canadian $15.00 – that’s loonies, folks).

Let’s say while sailing the old fort the wind clock around to Northwest (this rarely happens, but for the sake of the story, let’s say it did). The Fort is still sailable, but let’s face it, I’m spoiled. I’ll be packing up in a great haste and traveling due north on the beautiful Niagara Blvd., under the Peace Bridge and the Train Bridge to the north end of the Town of Fort Erie. Here at Niagara Slick (Bowen Road Park) lies the perfect launch. Ample parking, grass rigging, sand beach launch and a side shore wind opposing a 5-8 knot current. With wind speeds 5-10 knots greater than the Old Fort as the wind is compressed into the river narrows approaching the Train Bridge. Jibe, jibe, jibe.

Well now, this must be the most freakish day in Niagara History. The wind is shifting west-southwest, and to make matters worse, it’s falling off. No Fear, let’s pack up again and head farther north along the Niagara Blvd approximately 1 mile. Here the shore line raises noticeably and bends sharply west. Yes folks, this is Mac’s, historic MacKennzie’s Crossing. Knee bashing chop when it’s windy (20-40 knots) or smooth, friendly, silky-soft when 10-20 knots. Again, ample parking, grassy rigging with a moderately rocky launch. Now since the new south west wind is fresh, Mac’s is friendly today, so come on in, sail, jibe, jibe, jibe.

Wow…great day…been fun sailing together

Ps there are a great many launches between and beyond the old Fort and Mac’s to be discovered and sailed, but my windsurfing paradise is Fort Erie’s Niagara river…for as you already know, I AM spoiled.