About The Bay - March 2018

A rainy day is very good for writing. I don’t feel guilty that I’m not outside doing something more productive like washing the boat. Neighbor Dean was out prior to the downpour giving Fellowship a bath. Now that Mrs. Harper has La Tortuga spiffed up and shiny, it has put the rest of the neighborhood into a tizzy of spring cleaning.

It truly is amazing how dirty boats get during the winter months. Hopefully my darling Sweetie will come out of hibernation soon and help me scrape off some of the scum that has accumulated.

Tackling two decks is more than I can manage at one time now that I am older. I generally start on the flying bridge and let gravity carry the accumulated dirt flow down, down, down, never to be seen again, or at least until I can recover sufficiently to follow through and wash the main deck.

My front door is located at the stern. The swim platform and stern boarding gate make for easy access, one of the reasons we selected and bought this particular style of trawler. Boarding the trawler is much easier than the sailboat but one drawback is the shallow cockpit is a good spot for stuff to accumulate. Ideally I would like my entryway to look inviting and tidy, but that probably stems from watching too many design shows on HGTV. Since we don’t have much on-deck storage and my cockpit is too narrow to support a storage box, I will probably have to live with the clutter.

We don’t have any sort of storage space on shore so everything we own is on board. Finding places for everything is sometimes a challenge but nothing that can’t eventually be solved. I will always feel that I have too much stuff and take great pleasure in purging lockers and drawers of unwanted flotsam. Sweetie says I get carried away with my spring cleaning and loves to tell the story of the time I accidentally threw out the pink slip to my car in one of my mad cleaning frenzies. But today it is raining, and I am happy to spend the day at the keyboard instead of with a mop and bucket.

We drove down the peninsula to see what was happening with the big development projects that have displaced so many live aboard boaters at Docktown, Peninsula Marina and Pete’s Harbor.

Docktown Marina residents are again in a state of change. The on again, off again estimated plan by the City of Redwood City to relocate the residents has escalated from the original $10 million in February of 2016 to over $20 million today. The price has gone up as more floating home owners are willing to sell to the City than originally expected. The adjusted amount has now been approved. Of the 70 tenants who were living in Docktown, 27 have already relocated, 31 have accepted a relocation plan (which involves a payoff of some sort, I imagine) and 12 have dug their heels in for the fight.

Docktown is located on Redwood Creek and is controlled by both the State Lands Commission and Redwood City jurisdictions which further confuse the issue. Any time you have more than one government agency involved you can be assured the issue will be slow to resolve.

The former Pete’s Harbor has been transformed into as many condo units as the developer could possibly squeeze onto the property. The marina has been revamped into a single line of slips wedged between two stacks of boxy condos, each of the slips looking to be identical in size. As of this writing those slips remain empty.

Peninsula Marina has also undergone the great condo transformation and the few docks there are for the temporary use of the residents. No permanent docking is allowed.

Of the marinas along Redwood Creek, only the Port of Redwood City Marina, Bair Island Marina and Westpoint Harbor have survived. Currently Westpoint is being badgered by the Bay Conservation Development Commission (BCDC) even though every permit to build and dredge was applied for and approved by the appropriate government agency. Their final decree has been moved to later this month.

Hundreds of slips have been lost to development on the Peninsula alone. Here in Oyster Cove we are not immune to the Developers, although we are finding that the wheels of progress grind very, very slow.

As a live-aboard slip renter I have absolutely no legal rights to protest. We are actually considered homeless according to the last U.S. Census. As my old dad used to say, “If you don’t like it, move along.”

The thing is, we, and I speak for my neighbors here, love the boating lifestyle. We are easy on the environment and use less than our share of resources such as electricity and water as compared to our land-dwelling friends. Our homes are small but cozy and well equipped in case of an earthquake. I wish you could see our darling Mrs. Harper sitting in her comfy deck chair just enjoying life on the water. Oh yes, it’s a very special privilege to be allowed live on our boats. I hope to do so as long as the forces that be will allow. Unfortunately, every marina here on the peninsula, which has undergone redevelopment, has been voided of its recreational as well as liveaboard boating population. It doesn’t bode well for our future.

Word just in, neighbor Dean Altschuler, AKA my second husband, got tired of playing the wait and see game with the developers here in Oyster Cove and has purchased a 38-foot motor home, coincidentally the same size as his boat. Fellowship is now for sale with a broker and once Dean takes possession of his new coach, will drive off into the sunset to be nearer his family in the foothills. The only thing you can count on in life is that it will change. Oh, and death and taxes, we mustn’t forget those.

The Treasure Island Yacht Club annual crab dinner was cancelled because the crabs had been measured with toxic levels of Diabolic Acid, or some such thing. Darn, I had paid my money and was looking forward to doing my Miss Piggy imitation again this year. The popular event has been put on hold until the crabs recover from their malady. I hope it’s soon!


Congratulations To Helmut’s Marine!

Our favorite Volvo Penta dealer, Helmut’s Marine, is celebrating their 30th year in business on the San Rafael Canal.

Helmut and Lisa moved to the United States from Germany in October of 1987. Their English was rather unique and often quite funny when they opened the door to the family business on the 1st of March 1988, but their most beautiful memory from those hard first days was the welcoming spirit in which they were treated and accepted by the boating and marine community. This spirit was further strengthened by Helmut’s vast knowledge of Volvo Penta engines as well as the extensive inventory of parts. They worked hard and every penny that Helmut and Lisa earned went right back into the business. Lisa, holding their newborn daughter Nadine in one arm, took care of the office and the parts department, while Helmut performed his magic on local boats with Volvo Penta engines. It is interesting for them to look back on how the engine preference changed over time from gasoline to now mainly diesel engines.

Word spread and business increased and now they are the authorized Volvo Penta Power Center in charge for the dealers in CA, UT, NV, NM, AZ, HI and Guam. Helmut unfortunately had to trade his beloved overalls for an office and a laptop, but with Nadine, the little baby girl born as they opened their doors and grew up using a Volvo Penta auxiliary engine instead of a rocking horse, as Service Manager and a great technical team of 4, the service department has developed a very positive, fresh new wind in addition to the high quality in workmanship in which HMS is known. Just so you know, Helmut spending time in the office and overseeing such a wonderful crew does have its rewards but truth be known, his first love is hands on and often he can be found in the shop still doing what he loves the most, working on a Volvo Penta engine. Lisa now commutes between the “old country” and California on a regular basis still overseeing the business and the Parts Department that has become the largest on the West Coast. Most of the crew has been with them for many years and one of the team shared this funny story from the early days. One day the UPS guy arrived to deliver a package to the Grateful Dead, which, unbeknownst to Lisa, had their business office right next door. She told the UPS guy that she didn’t know of any mortuary or funeral parlors nearby and apologized that she couldn’t be of more help. The driver left with a smile and a chuckle. A day or two later Jerry Garcia himself appeared in Lisa’s office explaining the mix-up and shared with her that they all enjoyed a good laugh over the incident.

By the time they moved to their new location on 619 Canal Street in 1992, Helmut’s Marine was beginning to thrive and an outside sales team was added to cover their growing AOR. In 2012, Nate Urciuoli joined the team as Applications Engineer and to Helmut and Lisa’s joy, Nate and Nadine got married in 2014. They are being groomed to one day take over the business and have already established themselves not only within the industry as future leaders, but are also actively involved in important related issues like getting the San Rafael Canal, a vital waterway for many, finally dredged again.

The customers of HMS embrace the dedication and expertise that Helmut and his team brought and still bring to the local marine industry. The HMS family has maintained their integrity and work ethic and the business continues to grow.

Congratulations for 30 years in business to Helmut’s Marine! These hard working folks have created a successful venture from nothing except a lot of hard work, integrity and a belief in the Great American Dream of a better life for them and their family. Well done! Helmut’s Marine has been an advertiser with Bay & Delta Yachtsman since 1988. We look forward to the next 30 years where we wish Helmut and crew the very best in their continued success. For information on Volvo Penta sales, service or repairs you can reach them at helmutsmarine.com or by calling 800/326.5132.

Oceanic Yachts is pleased to announce they are now a dealer for Regency Yachts. Contact Rick Peterson at 415/599.5506 or rick@oceanicyachts.com for more information.


Asphalt Cruising

“Would you like to ride with me over to Svendsen’s tomorrow?” asked my darling neighbor, Mrs. Harper. Good company, a chance to look at boat stuff and maybe gather a few hundred words, count me in!

Mrs. Harper is a widow who owns and lives on board a 34-foot CHB trawler directly across the dock from us. She has spent the past five years investing every disposable penny into upgrading and restoring the sturdy little vessel. Mrs. Harper has been lucky to enlist the help of a few extremely capable and reliable experts. Isaac Crawford on engine detail, Jose Rodriguez on structure and Brian Rogers on electronics. Jose is just about done with his portion of the project and I want to congratulate him again on the magnificent job he has done. Jose Rodriguez can be reached at 510/861.6688.

Mrs. Harper is now moving onto the electronic portion of her restoration project and our trip to Svendsen’s was to purchase all the parts necessary for the installation of two VHF radios. Marine electronic expert, Brian Rogers gave her a shopping list in which to work.

The nice people at Svendsen’s chandlery were extremely helpful generously spending time with Mrs. Harper to fill the items on her list. Four, #14 screws, was that flathead? Phillips? How long? I lost interest about 20 minutes into the screw debate and took a walk around the now empty boat yard.

The property has been purchased by developers and work will begin soon to build more condos. Svendsen’s well-stocked chandlery will be moving next to the Alameda Ferry Dock and as for the remainder of the operation, I was pleased to hear Svendsen’s Boatyard, Rigging and Metal Works have joined forces with Bay Marine Boatworks in Point Richmond thus becoming Svendsen’s Bay Marine. For service or information, they can be reached by visiting baymarineboatworks.com or calling 510/237.0140.

After exploring the deserted yard, I found Mrs. Harper, sales person in tow and carrying two very long cardboard tubes to the car. I thought we had only come all the way across the bay for $1.73 worth of screws. The two cardboard tubes contained new 8-foot antennas at $189.00 per unit. Satisfied with her purchases, we headed over to Nations for a guilty burger lunch.

Mrs. Harper is a shopper extraordinaire always researching and getting the very best price. She asked if I would mind if we stopped at West Marine on the way out of town just to compare prices on the antenna she had just purchased. Low and behold, West Marine was selling the very same antenna for $30 less. The kind woman at West Marine printed out their price and suggested Mrs. Harper take the print-out and her receipt back to Svendsen’s to see if they have the policy of refunding the difference if you find it cheaper somewhere else. This delighted Mrs. Harper and we backtracked to Svendsen’s to check their policy.

Svendsen’s did have a similar policy but when the salesperson entered the stock number of the two antennas into the computer to make the refund, he found the $189.00 price for the antenna should have been $139.00, a full $50 off the price she had paid only an hour or two before. Of course they gave her the lower price, which further delighted her. She now had $100 worth of savings in her imaginary shopping bank. We drove back across the bridge in light traffic laughing about her shopping prowess and spending the savings in 100 happy ways.

Spring is here at last and another boating season before us. Please, make it a safe one! Questions, comments or contributions are gratefully accepted at kim@yachtsmanmagazine.com H

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