Delta Rat Scrapbook - April 2018

Joltin’ Joe

I mentioned Joe DiMaggio’s Chris Craft runabout that is treasured by the City of Martinez a while back. I had the opportunity to go take a look at her in person recently. She is in concour’s condition and kept in a warehouse near the Martinez Marina. Wylie and Trevor, two city employees, towed her down to the marina parking lot so we could get some photos. They are good lads, very enthusiastic and hard working. The city is lucky to have them.

Dave Scola, the Public Works Director spearheaded the project of restoring the boat and provided a lot of information. The boat was presented to DiMaggio on “Joe DiMaggio Day” by New York Yankee fans in 1949. Joe donated her to Martinez, the city of his birth, in 1991. In 1954, Joe took his new bride Marilyn Monroe for a cruise as part of their wedding reception.

DiMaggio had loaned the boat to various people over the years and the she was in fairly bad shape when she was donated to the City. They kept her on display outdoors at the marina for many years where she deteriorated further. Luckily the Sons of Italy in America, Diablo Valley Lodge #2167, decided to restore her. The local Carpenters’ Union 152 offered to provide free labor to help with the restoration.

They found an expert on Chris Craft, Don Curtis, to supervise the restoration and make sure it stayed true to the original specifications. Having the original “Boat Equipment Record” helped considerably. The boat apparently sat outside from 1991 to 2010 so you might imagine that she needed a lot of work. There were rotted planks. The framing as well as the stem was deteriorated to the point of needing replacement.

They replaced all the wiring and restored the gauges along with the steering gear. By early 2013, she was looking a lot like a boat again. The restoration was completed in 2015 and she was re-christened on October 15, 2015. The result is beautiful. The Chrysler six-cylinder motor sits like a polished gem. I am confident that she looks better than when she came off the factory floor in 1949. The boat is a 22-foot Chris Craft Sportsman and according to the spec sheet she is a 1948 model.


Super Bowl Sunday

Parties broke out all over the Delta on Super Bowl Sunday. Sacramento Yacht Club was a full house for their party and potluck dinner. The dinner was “fit for a yacht club,” said Vice Commodore Simon Antill. The club has also been doing a lot of tree trimming and has several renovation projects on tap for the spring.

The Marina West Yacht Club had a Super Bowl party at their clubhouse. Twenty-five or so folks attended and cheered on the Eagles. Well, that is everyone except Ron “Doc” Harper who sat in front row by himself while being heckled by the others. As it turns out he was the only one rooting for the Patriots. Every time they scored he’d turn around and yell at everyone, “Yeah, go guys! Go guys!” Jerry Tremain said, “You had to see him. It was hilarious and then he had to eat crow, uncooked.”


California Carver Club Change Of Watch

The CCC held their change of watch in February at the Pittsburg Yacht Club. The CCC is a paper club. After an excellent dinner of beef and chicken with mashed potatoes and salad, Elaine Landro kicked things off welcoming all the members and guests. Joan Marsh delivered the invocation followed by George Iaconis leading the salute to the American Flag.

Janis Cutaia-Iaconis presented the year 2017 in review with the club’s accomplishments. Paul Clausen swore in the officers for 2018. Richard Hardy is Commodore, George Iaconis is Vice Commodore, Janis Cutaia-Iaconis is Rear Commodore and Jim Beaty is Treasurer. 


International Order Of The Blue Gavel (IOBG)

The Pittsburg Yacht Club is a busy place. The Sunday following the Carver Cub’s change of watch, IOBG District 19 held their joint meeting with District 14 for the induction of new members. After cocktails and a nice lunch from the club galley, the meeting was called to order and the induction ceremony was held. New members for 2018 are: District 14 members inducted by President Charlie Thome: Les Cochren - Classic Yacht Association, Kim Collins - Metropolitan Yacht Club, Paul English - Barbary Coast Boat Club, Nina Lesowitz - Emeryville Yacht Club, Mike Scheck - Encinal Yacht Club, Jim Vickers - Encinal Yacht Club and Neil Weinburg.


Encinal Yacht Club

District 19 members inducted by President Jack Michael and Vice President Paul Clausen: Rick Barton - Sportsmen Yacht Club, Ronda Beasley - Stockton Yacht Club, Louis J. Rocha - Sportsmen Yacht Club, Andy Rowland - San Joaquin Yacht Club, John Sims -Oxbow Yacht Club, Jill Stevenson - Village West Yacht Club, Ken Stites - Sacramento Yacht Club, Mary Jo Sullivan - Pittsburg Yacht Club, Matt Tate - Sportsmen Yacht Club. Congratulations to all of you.

From the IOBG website: “The mission of the IOBG is to recognize Past Commodores of the international yachting community and unite them in order to promote the highest ideals of yachting and preserve its customs and traditions through social, educational and humanitarian programs.” 


Steamboat Landing

I stopped by Steamboat Landing at the confluence of the Sacramento River and Steamboat Slough. After years of hard work, the Steamboat Landing Restaurant is resurrected! It actually opened last summer but it has taken me a while to get by and pay a visit.

The new building is actually Steamboat Landing (SBL) No. 3. The original SBL No. 1 was built in the early 1900’s on the water side of Highway 160 behind the gas pump island which still stands. It burned down in the mid-1940s. The family then moved a two story building up to the land side of the Highway which became SBL No. 2. It operated until the mid-1980’s when for various reasons it closed. In 2012, the family decided to re-establish SBL as an eatery, deli and bakery. In 2014, SBL No. 2 was demolished to make way for the current new building. The building is beautiful inside and out and a wonderful new asset to the Delta.

The Neuharth family represents prior generations who came from Tennessee for the California Gold Rush in 1848 and settled on the banks of the Sacramento River and Steamboat Slough on Sutter Island. They fairly quickly found out that agriculture was a better way to make a living than seeking gold and took up farming. Originally, they grew grains and asparagus but over the years have converted to a pear orchard. Some pear trees are over 125 years old on the 300 acre Sutter Island Farm.

The restaurant is very open and airy. You can sit inside and admire the antiques and artifacts or sit on the L shaped deck that encircles two sides of the building and overlooks the pear orchard. Be sure to check out the vintage 1890’s map of Sutter Island that is framed and mounted on one inside wall. Both sides of the deck have a lunch bar where you can eat while you enjoy your beer or wine with beautiful Sutter Island country scenery. The deck is wide enough to have a large group of people enjoy a wonderful meal for a party or special dinner. You can also take your food down to the deck overlooking the private beach and enjoy the SBL beach. There is a guest dock on the Sacramento River side that is available for customer use. Naturally there is plenty of parking at the building. These are all located right at the northern mouth of Steamboat Slough on the north side of the bridge.

Steamboat Slough has been used as a vacation anchorage for generations. In many cases succeeding generations of the same family have been coming to the same spots for years. In the 1950’s Bob Chatfield’s parents would anchor their boat there all summer. Kids of all ages would lounge on the beach during the day and jump off the bridge to show off. The bridge jump of course is no longer advised.

Several films were made at the location including one of my vintage favorites from 1934, Mandalay. The crew reworked the beach to make it a Burmese steamboat landing and planted some palm trees to make it look tropical. Other films were, Macon County Line starring Max Bear Jr., The Bird - The Life and Times of Charlie Parker starring Forrest Whitaker, and The General’s Daughter, starring John Travolta.

You owe it to yourself to take a drive along State Highway 160 or the Sacramento River or Steamboat Slough and try out Steamboat Landing. That entire journey is very serene winding along the riverbank past farms and orchards. The street address is 12414 State Highway 160, in Courtland. Currently they are open Thursday through Sunday from 1000 hours to 1900 hours with plans to soon extend the days and hours of operation. They offer a great food and beverage selection with dine in or take out options. It is great to see Steamboat Landing back in operation and once again on the map. Give them a call at 916/775.1121. 


Sea Scouts

Don and Nita Rienhart invited us to attend a fundraiser Cioppino dinner for the Point Weber Sea Scout ship. It was at the Stockton Rod & Gun Club on the San Joaquin River. The servers were the scouts from the ship and what a fine group of young lads and lasses they were. Our country will be in good hands if young people like these take over from us. Don had a couple of tables reserved for his friends and fellow members of the Stockton Yacht Club. It was far more than Cioppino. We started with salad, then a pasta course and then the Cioppino was served, it was great, fresh crab, shrimp and fish in a tasty sauce. Of course we washed it down with a couple of glasses of wine. We were stuffed when finished and ready for a nap.

There were many silent raffle items to be had, gift baskets of wine, snacks, gift cards, you name it. I am really bad when it comes to winning things but low and behold I won three nice prizes including an Asian tea set and a gift certificate to a local Stockton jeweler. Sue and I shared a table with Dave Rajkovich and his friend Jose Jauregui. Dave is the head of the Stockton Maritime Museum. They are restoring the minesweeper U.S.S. Lucid (MSO 458). I have told you about their efforts and their trips “scrounging” equipment and parts. Dave located a 3-inch, 50-caliber cannon on the east coast. He along with Jose flew back there and rented a truck to bring it back to Stockton. This thing is a real cannon weighing a few tons. They had to mount it on a steel plate and carefully load it onto the truck. They bolted it to the floor so it would not go flying out while they drove back to California. While they were there they also acquired a vintage torpedo and a magnetic mine (these were inert). They packed all these treasures into the truck and headed to California. When they crossed the border, they were stopped at the agricultural inspection station. The ranger asked to look in the back of the truck so they opened it up and the fellow spent a few minutes staring at the armament and then said, “do you have any fruits or vegetables with you?” they replied in the negative and were waved through with no further hassle.


Opening Days

Bernadette Sweeney checks in from the Corinthian Yacht Club: They invite all boats to the 55th Annual Blessing of the Fleet on Sunday April 22, 2018, the 101st Annual Opening Day on the Bay. Every year the yachting season traditionally begins on Opening Day on the Bay a celebration started in 1917 and sponsored again this year by the Pacific Inter-Club Yacht Association (PICYA).

“In 1963, the Corinthian Yacht Club added the Blessing of the Pleasure Craft to Opening Day festivities, modeled on age-old traditional blessings of vessels of working fishermen. This year the Corinthian invites all vessels to participate in the 55th Annual Blessing of the Pleasure Craft by sailing or motoring past a blessing vessel positioned in Raccoon Strait in front of the Corinthian Clubhouse between 1030 hours and 1230 hours on Opening Day.

Onboard the blessing vessel are clergy of different faiths who bless the hundreds of boats and boaters for the coming boating season. Conducting the blessing will be USNR Capt. (Ret.) Rev. James Current (Pastor Emeritus, St. Mark’s United Methodist Church, Orinda), Cantor, David Margules (Congregation Rodef Shalom, San Rafael), Deacon, Ed Cunningham (Saint Anselm Catholic Church, Ross) and Fr. Constantine Efstathiu (Pastor Emeritus of the Nativity of Christ Greek Orthodox Church, Novato).

The 2018 blessing vessel is a spectacular 58-foot, 1969 Trumpy Coastal Cruiser, AURORA V, owned by Gerry and Karen Kamilos. AURORA V was designed by naval architect, Frederick C. Geiger, and was launched at the Annapolis Yard of John Trumpy and Sons on Spa Creek, MD.

Yacht clubs all around the San Francisco Bay celebrate Opening Day by decorating boats to a theme; the theme for 2018 is “Nations on the Bay.” PICYA encourages properly decorated yachts to cruise in squadron along the City-front offering a perfect opportunity for families to view a constellation of sail and power boats all decorated to one theme. The parade starts at noon at Crissy Field.”

For more information see or or contact Linda Witong at or 415/435.4771.

The Vallejo Yacht Club announces the 119th Great Vallejo Race on April 28th and 29th. Check it out:

Closer to the Delta, the Stockton Yacht Club will hold their opening day parade on Saturday, April 7th. The theme of the parade is Caesar’s Palace in ancient Rome. The dress code is togas and the parade will be followed by a dinner and party at the clubhouse in the evening. Contact Donald Ivie at for information.

The Pittsburg Yacht Club is holding their opening day parade on Saturday, April 14th. The parade will be followed with a potluck dinner at the clubhouse. Call Samantha Fox at 916/476.6123 to register.

San Joaquin Yacht Club will hold their opening day at Bethel Island on April 21st. This is a fun parade circumnavigating Bethel Island. There will be a party at the clubhouse after the parade. Contact the club at 925/684.9985.

Sacramento Yacht Club is holding their parade on Sunday, May 6th. Call the club at 916/371.5058.


Super Secret Ship Club

I have been researching the Super Secret Ship Club. This shadowy organization started in the last century when Hal Schell and Bill Conner were sitting at the bar at Lost Isle. They were lamenting that none of the Bay Area yacht clubs had asked them to join so Hal and Bill decided to start their own club. The decision was made to make it kind of an anti yacht club so there would be no clubhouse, no meetings and no charter. There was only one rule - you had to say “Super Secret Ship Club” ten times real fast after you had a few cocktails. Once you did that, you were in. As time went by somehow the secret got out and many Delta Rats asked to join. I continue to be amazed at the number of people who are/were members. The roster is definitely a who’s who of the Stockton and San Joaquin River area.

Hal is apparently the originator of the club nicknames. He was a master of the double entendre and all the names reflect this. Hal’s nickname for instance was “Horny Hal” now it is not what you think; Hal played the bugle and was noted for shattering the quiet of a peaceful morning anchorage by playing reveille on his bugle, at the crack of dawn.

As the club grew, it was decided that they would wear purple windbreakers at their gatherings. The jackets had your nickname embroidered on the front. They also made up a large purple banner with SSSC printed on it. Some other notable names are: Pushover Patty, Vee Dee, Cow Patty, Lusty Lynn, and many, many more. You get the picture.

Sonja Harris sent me some copies of the club newsletter. They were very active with several cruises and events each month. One newsletter from 1983 mentions a cruise to the Stockton Downtown Marina where the guest docking was 25 cents per foot per night. The newsletters are written in the classic style of Hal Schell and are a treasure trove of innuendo and humor. One great piece was, “Cow Patti just graduated from college, quite naturally with a B.S. degree...”

Thanks to “Succulent” Sonja Harris who sent me a whole folder of club lore and “Buffalo” Bill Conner who is a fountain of Delta lore and history. Bill says he is going to loan me his collection of club newsletters to copy and share. If you have any club anecdotes please contact me, we need to keep this important part of Delta history alive.



Dave Spensley celebrated his birthday recently. Dave and Clare recently closed the sale on their Andrus Island farm and their home at Korth’s Pirates Lair. They are now living full time in their Florida home. We hope they will pay us a visit occasionally.


Eight Bells

Georgia Conner, the former wife of Bill Conner, has passed on. They co-owned Lost Isle back in its legendary heyday. Mary Lynn Pelican sent me the story of her life which is fascinating. She was born on George Washington’s birthday in 1932 hence the name Georgia. Georgia had several careers in her life starting as an onion picker when she was 13 and shortly moving up to a car washer. In high school she was crowned Fun Fest Queen, Homecoming Queen, and Campus Sweetheart. After graduating from Stockton High School, she married her sweetheart Bill Conner who she met at the Armory’s Teen Canteen Dance. Their reception was held aboard Treasure Island, an excursion boat operating out of downtown Stockton.

In 1966, the Conners purchased Lost Isle and presided over it during its heyday. These were the days of flamingos, monkeys and other wildlife roaming the Island. They raised their children on the island and Georgia made them wear life jackets when they went outside.

Georgia was a great cook so now people came to Lost Isle to enjoy the great food and the cocktails. Georgia handled the décor also. She created a Tiki paradise out of bamboo, driftwood and palm fronds. She was fond of the music of Don Ho and it was featured at the resort.

In 1980, they sold the resort and it continued on for many years but has been closed for the last several. We look forward to it opening again in the future. 

Archie Baker has crossed over the bar at age 88. He served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War. Later he joined the Stockton Fire Department and retired as a Captain/Paramedic. He then started Archie’s Small Boat Repair and spent the next 30 years servicing many small craft throughout the Delta. In 1983, along with his family, he packed up his 53-foot trawler and cruised from Village West Marina to Alaska on a several month trip. They had such a great time they repeated the adventure a couple of years later. On one return trip they found out a granddaughter was going to be born so he stayed at the helm for 23 hours trying to make it back for the event. They did not make it in time but only missed it by two hours.

Mike Manley, a longtime member of the Sacramento Yacht Club has passed on. He was commodore of the club in 1987. Mike is survived by his wife, Beverlee, two children and several grandchildren. After raising their family, they fulfilled their dream of living aboard their boat. After a career as an attorney he spent years in musical theater as an actor and director, where he received numerous awards.

Bruce Borass former (1997) commodore of the Sacramento Yacht Club has crossed the bar. He is survived by his children, Steven Boraas, Cynthia Krek, and Debra Moynier. In addition to boating, Bruce enjoyed riding his motorcycle and skydiving. 


Irish Pennants

Ko-Ket Resort has some great new plans for the upcoming year. The management is making it more accessible for RVs and expanding the snack bar with beer and wine as well as food. They have a boat launch and this is a popular spot for fishermen along the Sacramento River. They are at 14174 Isleton Road, Isleton. Call 916/776.1488 to make your reservation.

Word has it that near the time you are reading this, if not shortly thereafter, the completely remodeled upstairs grill and old store area at Tiki Lagoon, (yes Lagoon is correct), will be open for business and serving food in the brand new Tiki Grill. I will provide more details once they are up and running. In the mean time you can call them directly at 209/941.8975.

The new restaurant at Tower Park will be opening soon. They have remodeled the entire interior and we met Julio Camberos who will be the chef and manager. Julio is a ball of fire with great enthusiasm and some great ideas for the location. We look forward to giving a full report soon.

On April 14th, Tower Park Marina will be hosting their first annual “Boaters’ Bash.” It starts at 1200 hours and they will be grilling hot dogs and hamburgers for all attendees! The management is also allowing free access to Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort Tower Park for the day! Come hang out with us for the afternoon so we can ring in spring with all our fellow boaters at Tower Park Marina’s first annual Boaters’ Bash!

Barron Hilton’s people have checked in with the fireworks schedule at Mandeville Tip this year. They will be held on Wednesday July 4th starting at dusk. This will be the 60th year of this extravaganza that Mr. Hilton started for his children’s enjoyment. You should make a week of it and enjoy one of the greatest parties the Delta has to offer. Bring plenty of ice.

Judy Weibel has been promoted to Vice President of Weibel Family Winery. Congratulations Judy! By the time you read this they should have moved into their new tasting room just a couple of doors down from their current location on School Street in Lodi.

The Sacramento Yacht Club is doing a Community Outreach Program. They have selected St. John’s Program for Real Change as the benefactor. Saint John’s is for the woman who wants to make the leap and “Break the Cycle.” Who will fight the pervasive influence of homelessness, poverty, and abuse. Who will make an empowered decision to rise up and become a productive community member. Who understands, unequivocally, that the decision to create a better life - for herself and for her family - rests entirely on her. Deborah Ramirez is spearheading the program.

Mark your calendars, the 17th Annual Taste of the Delta will be held on Saturday, August 4th at Village West Marina. The Stephens Yacht Rendezvous that attracts Stephens and other classic yachts will be held there over the same weekend.

For you classic yacht enthusiasts there are a couple available that might be of interest. Lizzie M is a 1907 cruiser that won some races back in that era. She is one of the oldest boats in the Delta and she is floating but needs a lot of TLC. If you are interested call Dave at 916/580.7520. Take Five is a twin engine Stephens whose owner has moved out of state. She has a lot of potential too. Contact Jamie at 925/684.2141 to learn more about her.

Every month I get a few phone calls and emails from folks asking why I did not mention some event or other. My answer is always I did not know about it. I have to be the easiest person to reach in the entire Delta. Every month I publish my email address and phone number. I strive to answer the phone whenever it rings. If I don’t answer I am on the other line or (rarely) not in a cell area. I turn off my phone at night when I go to bed, otherwise I am available.

Let me know what you are up to, give me a call 916/869.9141 or email H

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