Delta Rat Scrapbook - May 2018

Stockton Yacht Club

The Stockton Yacht Club held their spring cleanup swap meet in early March. I love these gatherings, a good chance to pick up some junk and sell some valuable antique items. I took some rare Delta books and managed to unload a couple on Dave Breninger. Dave seemed to think one of them had extra value because my name was stamped inside. Donald and Jorga Ivie were right next to me, so I managed to replenish my book inventory with a book they had. They had some nice wooden steering wheels, but I procrastinated too much and someone else bought them. I did pick up a good dockline from them; it was a thick long line that will make a great springline. I have one about 35-feet long already, it was over 40-feet but I have wasted a few feet trying to make a good looking eye splice but I seem to have lost my touch so it just has a bowline on the end. This one has a nice eye splice and is about 40-feet long. It would make a great towline too.

We returned a week later for a dinner and to participate in Jean Darrah’s induction into the club as an honorary member. Her brother Peter was so honored also but he was unable to attend the ceremony. When we got in line for dinner, we were pleasantly surprised to see Vern Vierra serving the tri-tip. Vern is a club member and owns St. Jorge Winery. He is a great cook as I have had lunch at the winery a couple of times. This meal did not disappoint. Whenever you see Vern cooking you know you are going to get some great food.

The Darrah family is a major part of Stockton history. Jean is an attorney in San Francisco. She grew up in Stockton where her father James Darrah was a San Joaquin County Superior Court Judge. Her mother Jean was Stockton’s mayor from 1990 to 1996. Her grandfather, Guard Darrah, was an attorney and served as Stockton’s district attorney from 1927 to 1934.

The family owns the property adjacent to the Stockton Yacht Club right on the Calaveras River with their own private dock. They at times let the club use part of the property for event parking. They imported the “house of the future” from the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition, World’s Fair in San Francisco and placed it on their property. It was delivered via barge trip up the San Joaquin and Calaveras Rivers. After a period of time the house was packed on a barge again and taken to Lost Isle where it eventually fell into disrepair. Bill Conner an ODR (Original Delta Rat) filled me in on some of this fascinating history.

Don’t forget the Stockton Yacht Club will be holding their Car and Boat Show on June 23. If you have an exotic car and want to enter it, contact Randy at


Marina West Yacht Club (MWYC)

Jerry Tremain from MWYC checks in: “Eight is by land, six is by sea, I sat on the shore with a toddy in hand. Marina West Yacht Club’s 1st joint Cruise Out to RiverPoint Landing Marina organized by MWYC Fleet Captain Bob Kocher working with Riverpoint Landings’ Harbor Master, Andrew Rehberg, has proved a joint cruise out can be an absolute success! Hobo Stew Friday, BBQ’d Bargain Buzzard Saturday. Everyone brought a side dish. What a fantastic variety of food. Try it folks, if the boat happens to be down, you can still cruise out with everyone in your Land Yacht. I might suggest RiverPoint Landing as a test. They were great! The RV spots are right on the San Joaquin River, you can watch the boats and ships go by all day and night if you wish.”


Sacramento Boat Show And Offroad Exposition

Just remember a couple of decades back there were boat shows all over Northern California. When I first got out of the Navy in 1967 and went to the Cow Palace boat show I walked around drooling over the boats. I guess that was about the heyday of yacht making in the United States. Fiberglass technology was fairly new and boats were massively built. Many of them are still around today.

We dropped by the Sacramento Boat Show. These days it is combined with an off road vehicle show which gives you plenty of ideas to consider. They should include more recreational vehicles. Many Delta marinas have RV spaces and more are coming. Riverpoint Landing, Eddo’s, Jellystone Park, Snug Harbor, Windmill Cove, Delta Marina, Ox Bow Marina, and Sugar Barge come to mind, all great spots to stay. Village West Marina should have their RV spaces open in the near future.

The boat show was worth the time spent, plenty of inventory and lots to see. What I used to really like about the old shows is that there were plenty of booths with the latest in technology on display. It now appears to be limited to new GPS units and fish finders. Here and there were booths offering exotic vacations, whole house fans and a lot of other interesting stuff. You could see several types of motorcycles on display. There were even electric motorcycles and of course plenty of quads, ATVs and snowmobiles.

It was a great show. Yachtsman had a booth just a couple of spots down from Freedom Boat Club, which is a great way to go boating without all the maintenance. You join the club and you have access to several boats anytime you want to use them. The club takes care off all the storage and maintenance. Give Rob a call at 209/531.6996 and he will get you started in time for the boating season.


Breninger Family Update

Dave and Linda Breninger are heavily involved in the area yachting scene. Between the two of them they have been members and officers in many local clubs and organizations. Dave is a past commodore of the California Carver Club. Linda is past President of the Pacific Interclub Yacht Association. Dave is past president and current director of the International Order of the Blue Gavel District 19. They are members of the International Yachting Fellowship of Rotarians and the Stockton Yacht Club. I could go on for a couple of pages of their accomplishments but there are space limitations. Let’s just say they are very active in the community whether it is boating or their Sun City Roseville community where Linda has the prestigious role of President of the Board of Directors of that very large HOA. Don’t forget their weekly radio show either!

Dave and Linda recently celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary. They had a ceremony at Saint John’s Episcopal Church in Roseville where they renewed their marriage vows. Sue and I were honored to join them along with many area luminaries. This is the 2nd marriage for both of the Breningers as they both were widowed fairly early in life and found each other later. They have a large family with six children and a flock of grandchildren.

Father John Shively was there and did a reading from the bible. Father Shively is an old friend of mine. He came down and blessed my boat when I first purchased her and renamed her 25 years ago. He also baptized and confirmed my children into the Episcopal Church when they were young.

After the ceremony a reception was held in the lobby of the church with plenty of exotic foods, wine, champagne and lots of good friends. We wish the Breningers another good 30 years.


Village West Marina

I stopped by Bob’s at the Marina for my ritual chiliburger and when I was returning to the parking lot I dropped by the marina office. Manager Vickie Baumann was just getting ready to go up to the point to work on their new bungalows and invited me to go with her. These are beautiful waterfront cabins with a 600-square-foot deck will provide guests a fantastic sundown view looking out towards Mount Diablo. Each one is individually decorated very tastefully with all the amenities you would expect in a good hotel room. They are about 400-square-feet and sleep four people. Parking is right at the cabins so there is no long walk to where you will stay and the guest dock is close by so you can bring your fishing boat or ski boat and hit the water early while it is very calm, come back to your cabin for lunch and go out again. You can rent them through the VRBO website at Also, they are developing RV sites right on the point where boats go in and out of the marina, this will be another great view and convenient for boaters.

Village West Marina will also be the venue for at least two great events this summer. The 17th Annual Taste of the Delta will be held on Saturday, August 4th and the Stephens Yacht Rendezvous will be held there August 3, 4, and 5th. These are two amazing events. The Stephens Yacht Rendezvous is open to the public at the guest docks. On display will be Stephens boats built between the 1920s and the 1970s. The rendezvous has been held there in past years and it attracts some really interesting people. One time I met a fellow who was retired from Stephens Marine and whose family had owned my boat in the 1940s. He was really interesting and gave me a drawing of Ranger he made in his high school drafting class about 1941. Stephens’s family members and former employees of the company will drop by to reflect on the past.

The Taste of the Delta includes wine and food tasting from many Delta region restaurants, wineries, and breweries along with selected local businesses and artists. There will be live music and live and silent auctions for plenty of great treasures. Please join us for a weekend of fun at Village West Marina.


Locke Asian Pacific Festival

Don’t miss this fun annual event taking place in greater downtown Locke on Saturday, May 12. It is sponsored by the Locke Foundation “to celebrate the unique cultural heritage of Locke.” This event is great for families and especially children. There is a lion dance, exhibits, demonstrations, music and food. Everything is colorful, and the youngsters love it. Admission is free; the fun starts at 1100 hours. There is a parking lot in the town but I predict it will fill up quickly; you can also park along River Road or come by boat. Locke is on River Road just a few hundred yards upstream from Walnut Grove.

Locke was founded in 1915 on land leased from George Locke. Over the decades it has become legendary. In 1924 Al Adami purchased a restaurant from Lee Bing. This became the famous “Al the Wop’s,” or, as it is called now in this more politically correct era “Al’s Place.” Wop, by the way, means WithOut Papers. You can visit Locke by boat or car. Walnut Grove has a public dock on the Sacramento River where you can tie up for a small fee and walk a few hundred yards to Locke. Railroad Cut (sometimes called Railroad Slough) behind the town on the Snodgrass Slough side has been a great anchorage in the past.

I have cruised in there many times with and without my friends. We would cruise in and tie the bow of our boats off to trees and deploy a stern anchor (did not want to put an expensive propeller close to the bank). Sometimes we would walk into Locke or Walnut Grove for dinner or we would pile into one boat and cruise the short distance down to Guisti’s for dinner. It is a great place to wake up in the morning with the only thing breaking the calm is thousands of birds having breakfast. There is plenty of other wildlife there too. Sometimes in the evening we would fire off our cannons for amusement. You can’t do this too much or law enforcement will descend on you. Railroad Cut has been plagued by invasive plants in the recent past and I have not checked it out this year. Maybe a reader can give us an update?


Areias Family International Dog Show

Rusty and Julie Areias who live almost directly across the river from Locke have been putting on their dog show for several years. It is always on Easter day and I try to drop by when possible to see my friends and see some spectacular dogs.

It is not just a dog show but an entire party day. Parking for the crowd spills onto adjacent fields and it is a who’s who of local residents, political figures, the yachting community and the Areias and Sandino families. Master Chef, Giancarlo Bortolotti, and his team took over the Hemingway room and prepared a fabulous meal of rack of lamb, roast beef, ravioli and Caesar salad. The line was out the door and a lot of folks went back for seconds and thirds. I am sure no one went hungry. Tom the bartender was serving Ramos Fizzes all day along with your standard beer, wine and other beverages including real Coca Cola in glass bottles. He was helping a lot of thirsty folks when we were there.

Many local yachtsmen were also in attendance. Bryan & Tom Weisman just got their 1948 Stephens, Donella, out of the yard and are ready for the season. Along with some transom adjustments they have been scrubbing and replacing fuel. The vessel is diesel powered but at some point an owner installed a gasoline generator and used one of the boats fuel tanks to hold gasoline. It has troubled them for quite a while and caused them to replace a couple of fuel pumps. They drained the tank cleaned it and refilled it with clean fresh fuel and it has been working great ever since they report.

While I was talking to Bryan he told me about 12 volt LED light bulbs that are available online. On my boat my major electrical draw is the interior lights. These new LED bulbs only draw about three watts each, so I can run them all night without running my house battery down. I have the classic Stephens “dolphin” lamps that use a regular house lamp base, but the bulbs must be 12 volts. The package for the ones I purchased say that if I use them 5 hours a day they will last 16 years. I probably won’t use them 5 hours a month so they will very likely outlast me. I have been converting my home lighting to LED as the current bulbs burn out. I have noticed a reduction in my electric bill. Many recreational vehicles use the same type of lighting. There are other LED bulbs that have different bases and I am confident you can find some to retrofit your boat. Of course, most of you probably already know all this. I generally am the last person to find out about some new amazing device. By the way the bulbs had free shipping and I received them the day after I ordered them. That is some good customer service.

Bob Slobe reports that his Stephens, Contessa, is doing great and ready for the summer season. He keeps her at the Sacramento Marina. Ted Reed is with Oceanic Yachts in Sausalito nowadays. He has a 65-foot sailboat that he brings to the Delta each summer. I met Eric Wright, a retired 49er, he sells lumber and milled wood and he helps keep these wooden boats going.

Steve Mannshardt a boat skipper to the stars in this area took a rare day off to attend the party. Rusty has just put his newest Stephens Joie back in the water in Southern California after doing a bottom job which included a couple of planks and some work on the propulsion machinery. From this perspective it looks like everything is a go for the summer.

Getting back to the dog show, it was spectacular. It appeared to me that it was a lot like herding cats. Things were moving so quickly I did not get names but there was an award for the dog that looked most like it’s owner, best small dog, best large dog, best trick (by a dog), and my favorite, a dog race that was handily won by a chihuahua who kept running even past the finish line. Everyone had a great time and the children especially had big smiles on their faces.


Delta Rat Poker Run

Regretfully we have had to cancel the Delta Rat Poker Run. We ran into some challenges beyond our control that prevented us from going forward with this great event. Thanks to everyone that has spent their valuable time working to pull this off. Special thanks to the U.S. Coast Guard for reviewing our proposal and to the Contra Costa County Sheriff for their advice. Thanks especially to Doug and Gary from Twin Rivers Marine Insurance for their sponsorship and help every inch of the way.



When winter sets in some Delta boaters use the time to visit other places. Randy and Linda Welch just returned from Ocho Rios, Jamaica. Linda was celebrating a significant birthday.

Blair and Mary Hake are just back from Belize. Blair carried his latest issue of Bay & Delta Yachtsman with him. I think in the competition for carrying the magazine to the most interesting place, Blair qualifies on sheer numbers and miles traveled. He has been to the summit of Mauna Kea in Hawaii, Bali and now Belize. Tom and Cathi Sawyer have been to the coldest spot and Liz Zamora has reached the greatest height by hiking.

Make A Wish Foundation

Bonnie Stetson advises us of the Low Country Seafood Boil at the Stockton Yacht Club scheduled for Sunday, May 27. Tickets are $45.00 and proceeds go to support the Make -A-Wish Foundation that serves children with serious illnesses. The fun begins at 1400 hours with “mudbug races” (no, I don’t know what that entails) the dinner of crab, shrimp, andouille sausage, corn, potatoes and crawdads will be served at 1500 hours. The entrée will be served with salad, sourdough bread with drawn butter and cocktail sauce. You don’t have to be a member of the club to participate in this worthwhile event.

Each Make-A-Wish chapter follows specific policies and guidelines for granting a child’s wish. Make-A-Wish works closely with the wish child’s physician and family to determine the most appropriate time to grant the wish, keeping in mind the child’s treatment protocol or other concerns.

Most wish requests fall into five categories: I wish to go, I wish to be, I wish to meet, I wish to have, or I wish to give.


Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Workshop

So far this year the invasive plants in the Delta seem to be pretty well under control. I think it is a combination of good work by the Division of Boating and Waterways, plenty of rain, and citizen awareness.

Vivian Matuk checks in from the California Coastal Commission and advises us of an upcoming AIS prevention workshop. They will help you understand the impacts invasive species have on the economy and the environment. Learn how to recognize AIS, how to take action and how to prevent spreading AIS.

The workshop will be in Sausalito on June 13th, (you must register by June 8th). It will be at the Bay Model, 2100 Bridgeway St. in Sausalito. There is free parking and either bring your lunch or you can go to a local restaurant. Contact Vivian at 415/904.6905 or for more information or to register.

Vivian has also advised me that there will be oil spill response workshops for marinas and yacht clubs. These will explain the state’s oil spill response structure, response equipment grants, claim process and resources available to increase communication between boating facilities and the Office of Emergency Services. The first one will be held on May 10th at the Vallejo Yacht Club, 485 Mare Island Way, Vallejo, 94590. The second one will be on May 22 at McClellan Training Center, 4940 Lang Avenue, McClellan, 95652. Contact Vivian to register for these events too. Please register by May 7th for the first class and May 18th for the second class.


Eight Bells

Alvin Machado a native of Brannan Island has crossed over the bar. He was born in 1929 and was a lifelong Delta farmer. He is survived by his wife Inga and two sons, Craig and Brian and step children Randy Dement, Rod Dement and Ryan Dement. Alvin was a lifelong boater and water-skier in the Delta. He was the former scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 85 in Walnut Grove and was a founding member of the Walnut Grove Presbyterian Church.


Irish Pennants

Marsha Ferguson a friend of mine called and advised me that there is a website where you can create a memorial to a deceased person. Many local boaters prefer being cremated and having their ashes cast into some body of water. By creating an online memorial future generations will be able to research and find out the final disposition of a person’s remains. Currently if you are cremated, unless you are famous, you may be forgotten when your immediate friends and relatives also cross the bar. The website also lets you lookup some of your long lost relatives if you know at least a few facts about them.

The Sacramento Yacht Club had their 2018 kick off cruise to Freeport. They took over the guest docks and enjoyed golf at the Bartley Cavanaugh golf course and then enjoyed wine tasting at the nearby Minors Leap Winery. It was in March and the weather was iffy but it held for them during the cruise.

Ox Bow Marina is now selling ValvTect fuel. This is special marine formatted fuel that will keep the ethanol in solution with the gasoline. You won’t have to use a separate fuel stabilizer or other additives if you use ValvTect.

There are rumors floating around that the huge water tower at the Delta Farmers Market on the corner of SR 12 and SR 160 was stolen. I sent one of my people by to check it out and I am happy to report the tower is still there. I think some prankster started the rumor as a tasteless joke.

Jan McCleery, one of our favorite authors has published a new book Sassy the Salmon. It is the exciting adventure of a young salmon as she learns her purpose in life. Her story is valuable for all ages yet simple enough for younger children. It teaches the circle of life and why we must all be good stewards of our environment.

The book is available at Ama and the proceeds from it and Jan’s other book The Fable of the Farmer and the Fish go to Save the California Delta Alliance, an organization working to stop the water exporters from diverting the Sacramento River around the Delta. Jan further advises that the “star salmons are Sassy and Trip.” These are her grandchildren’s nicknames and the book is dedicated to them.

Summer is here and it will be spectacular! Stay in touch! 916/869.9141 or commodore H

© 2010 Yachtsman, All Rights Reserved.   |   Home   |   Contact Us                     Bookmark and Share