Delta Rat Scrapbook - November 2019

Stockton Yacht Club

The club held its seventh annual Specialty Car and Boat Show. This is Randy and Linda Welch’s signature event every year. There were at least 50 interesting vehicles attending and several classic yachts. The Boats were Catherine E, Northstar II, Triple Crown, Eslo and Richard Dunn’s beautiful Stephens runabout gracing the docks. They were all built by Stephens except Eslo which owner Tom Clothier keeps trying to pass off as a Stephens. Catherine E is an honorary Stephens based on her 20-kilowatt genset that can supply electrical power to a small village or several smaller boats. Patrick Welch’s beautiful Triple Crown received the people’s choice award for boats.

Randy and Linda both belong to the Pantera Club of Northern California so there is always a large contingent of these classic vehicles. Patti Brennan had her MG Midget, not sure if I mentioned this before but the MG was her first car, it is still in great shape. Classic American hot dogs and hamburgers were barbecued for lunch.

The entire parking lot was filled with interesting automobiles and other vehicles. My personal choice for the most interesting vehicle was a very early 1900s firetruck. I brought my Mustang to show but had to park in the Vice Commodores spot because the Commodore’s spot was already taken.

The clubhouse was packed for dinner. We enjoyed another classic piece of Americana, meat loaf. It was a great day.

Ox Bow Marina

Ox Bow Marina held its annual harbor party on a warm Saturday afternoon. Back Forty Barbecue once again provided an excellent lunch of chicken, beef, corn, salad, rolls and dessert. The bar was open with beer, soft drinks, and water. Ralph, The Hat, Banuelos provided the music for the day. Ralph is great and has a huge repertoire of songs that he sings and plays. Ox Bow management puts on an excellent party for their tenants every year and it is a great gathering of the folks at the marina that you somehow miss throughout the year. We met Matthew Ceryes the new marina manager who was the manager of the Vallejo Yacht Club for many years. One of my favorite folks at the marina has announced her retirement, Dee Briones will leave at the end of the year.

Korth’s Pirate’s Lair

Korth’s Pirate’s Lair had their party the following weekend. This is always another excellent affair. There is always entertainment by Tiki Tom. I wanted to crash it, but I had business in the Bay area and had to pass, my people tell me that it likewise was a superb party.

Village West Yacht Club

The club hosted the Delta Chambers at a great mid-week mixer. Brenda Jackson and friends created a feast, with sandwiches, macaroni, several cheeses and crackers. Rocci Jackson was tending bar so no one went thirsty. Ralph, The Hat, who I seem to be following everywhere provided musical entertainment. It seems I am seeing Ralph and or Tressa Gaye at every party I attend around the Delta. The club was packed to capacity and plenty of folks were sharing their stories of summer and Labor Day adventures.

It was a great party with about 75 folks attending, Ralph was playing out on the deck and we managed to watch another beautiful Delta sunset over the water.

Classics At The Corinthian

The Corinthian Yacht Club hosted the Classic Yacht Association for a show open to the public. Several boats braved the high seas of the Bay to attend the event. It was sheer coincidence but all the boats attending were built by Stephens in Stockton. Patrick Welch single handed his beautiful Triple Crown over from Alameda, Alan Almquist was there with Northstar II. Allure, Elizabeth, Sea Breeze and Skal also attended. The day started with the CYA bridge meeting in the clubhouse. This meeting was at 1000 hours, so we had to leave the Big Tomato at the crack of dawn to arrive almost on time. Luckily coffee was being served so I managed to stay awake. Your read it here first, one of the things discussed was the possibility of holding the Stephens Yacht Rendezvous at Village West Marina & Resort in September of 2020 to help celebrate Dick Stephens 100th birthday. When I returned, I spoke with the folks at Village West Marina & Resort and we scheduled the weekend of September 11-13 for the rendezvous. This will be a big event; Dick is the patriarch of the Stephens family and was the principal designer for the company from the late 1940s onward until the last boat was launched in 1987. The change of watch was scheduled for December 15 at the Encinal Yacht Club in Alameda, always an excellent spot to dine.

Miss 102 made a grand arrival in the afternoon after observing the Rolex Big Boat races at the St. Francis Yacht Club. She appeared to be missing a few fenders and several of us mentioned it to the skipper. Rusty arrived with a gang of young lads via land yacht, they stayed around for a while but left prior to dinner. We hung around the boats all day trying to drink up all of Alan Almquist’s and Patrick Welch’s alcohol supply without success. At 1800 hours we headed to the dining room overlooking the Bay and enjoyed a nice dinner of filet mignon, salmon and lamb. We took leave early and headed back to Sacramento. I was joking about drinking as had a single glass of Pinot Noir with the fine dinner.

Tom Patti

Joe Faso hosted a fundraiser for San Joaquin County Supervisor (District Three) Tom Patti. A lot of his supporters attended and enjoyed hors d’oeuvres and beverages. I have mentioned before that Tom is a rising star in the Stockton/San Joaquin County political scene. He is the owner of Delta Crane and has volunteered his time and equipment in helping remove derelict boats and other junk from local waterways.

He is a hands-on supervisor and he shows up anywhere he is needed pitching in to help. He has been a huge help to Tracie Glaves and her San Joaquin Delta Neighborhood Watch group. Tom is a good man and is making a big impact in his community, you should vote for him if he is on your ballot.

Andrew Rehberg

Andrew has been the Harbormaster at Riverpoint Landing for many years. He has done an excellent job there and was popular with the owners and tenants. He is also a longtime Delta boater and very knowledgeable of goings on around the Stockton area and a great resource for local information on our waterways.

Andrew has moved on and has accepted a position as harbormaster of the Brisbane Marina. Riverpoint and the Delta’s loss is the Brisbane Marina’s gain. I think he will be a great resource in the Bay with advice for boaters cruising to the Delta.

The Brisbane Marina has slips for 580 boats up to 120-feet in length. Andrew has moved his boat there and stays on it during the week and goes home on the weekends. We will miss him in the Delta and wish him well in his new position.

Delta Coves

DMB Development’s Delta Coves subdivision on Bethel Island is officially open for business. We attended the grand opening on September 12. This subdivision has been 40 years in the making. It was worth the wait. There are 494 single family waterfront homes, each with its own dock. In addition, there will be 66 condominiums with dockage available at the marina. Nick Taratsas cut the ribbon to officially open the subdivision. It was a perfect day with plenty of sun and little wind. There were a lot of folks there from Bethel Island and the surrounding area who had been waiting for this day with anticipation for years. We were all oohing and awing [sic] over the homes and the grounds. Team Sugar Barge catered the food and it was a feast, piles of shrimp and other delicacies along with a selection of beverages. The developers have collected a lot of local Delta memorabilia and photographs that were on display in the models. I think ultimately most of the memorabilia will end up in the Island Camp a beautiful 4,500 square-foot community center serves as the epicenter of social life. the These folks have gone the extra mile to make this project part of the Delta lifestyle.

The models are furnished beautifully, all in a nautical theme and all have windows looking over the water as well as a great view of Mount Diablo. Looking around the area it seems most homes will have a great view. If you are considering a waterfront home, I don’t think you can go wrong with Delta Coves.

WaterFraud Update

The short version is that the Governor is moving forward with his plan to divert the Sacramento River around the Delta. Opponents are lining up once again to stop the scheme.

Peter Robertson of Recreational Boaters of California and I met with Kathryn Mallon, the Executive Director of the Delta Conveyance Design and Construction Authority and Patricia Clark, an Associate Governmental Program Analyst with the Department of Water Resources (DWR). Kathryn is new to California, but she has a lot of experience managing large capital projects including building some large water tunnels in New York. She also was in charge of helping the city recover from hurricane Sandy. She certainly has impressive credentials for this type of project.

Peter and I were there to talk about how diverting the river would destroy the Delta and the two ladies were there to talk about communications and outreach with the Delta people. Well, outreach will be refreshing, as I testified at the water board during the last go around the DWR never returned a phone call or reached out for the ten plus years the project went on. I gave Kathryn the contact information for some of my associates that I felt it would be good to reach out to and sure enough she appeared with some DWR folks at a town hall meeting at the Delta Legacy Communities in Walnut Grove to answer questions. Unfortunately, it was about the same thing as our original meeting. The audience wanted to talk about how to stop the tunnel and Kathryn and the folks from the DWR wanted to talk about how diverting the river would be good for the community, I think we have an impasse here.

One positive thing that did happen at the meeting was the Board of Directors of the Delta Conveyance Design and Construction Authority are seeking applications for a new Delta Stakeholder Engagement Committee and somehow most of the people in the Delta did not know about it so they extended the deadline for signing up by one week. By the way, you see the word stakeholder bandied about a lot, I generally avoid using the word whenever possible. I use stakeholder to generally speak of government employees or others that are benefiting from a project. I generally refer to the people that will be affected or will be paying for the project as taxpayers.

There were many folks from all over the Delta at the town hall, it was good to see them all and to see they are all still active in saving the Delta and in particular Tom Herzog, a noted Delta historian who has had some health issues lately, but is looking good, rested, and ready to go another ten rounds in the water war. Our Delta videographer Gene Beley was there and recorded the entire meeting.

Nicky Suard of Snug Harbor informed me that as of this writing both Ryer Island ferry boats are out of service. The ferry landing was recently damaged, and the ferry sat idle for several weeks and now they have discovered there is a problem on the boat itself so it will be out of service until mid November. Why not check the ferry when it is not being used and make repairs while the landing is being repaired?

River News Herald & Isleton Journal

We are sad to report that the Rio Vista River News Herald and Isleton Journal newspaper has gone out of business after 129 plus years of service to the people of the Delta. The paper covered happenings in Rio Vista, Isleton, Walnut Grove as well as the overall Delta. You would see editor Galen Kusic at meetings all over the Delta.

Most importantly the paper was an early participant in the Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build tunnels diverting the Sacramento River around the Delta. I think Galen attended and reported on virtually every public meeting during the twelve-year process even as it evolved into the WaterFix. Galen received a lot of threats over the years, but he never let anyone intimidate him and continued his unbiased reporting.

Bob Light was the cartoonist for the publication. Bob has a biting satirical wit that he unleashed weekly in the RNH. He spared no one or any institution with his humor. Bob even made your correspondent his subject a few times. I was honored by the mention. I have to say one of my goals in life was to be the subject of a political cartoon and Bob fulfilled that wish.

Cecile Giacoma covered many meetings when Galen was not available. She also received a hard copy fishing report weekly from Jolly Jay Sorensen and typed it into the computer for publication. She would send it to the Delta Chambers for publication on our website where it was the most popular feature. The ever-gracious Jay has offered to continue his report for the chamber. Look for it on the chamber website.

I wish Galen, Bob, and Cec the best in their future endeavors and I am confident they will land on their feet.

Bridge Marina Yacht Club

On October 2, 2017 at about 0230 hours a barge struck the pilings that support the BMYC clubhouse at the southwest terminus of the Antioch Bridge. From the outside the damage did not look too severe and the barge company repaired the support beams and straightened some of the pilings. After a closer inspection though, more damage was discovered, and the building was pretty much rebuilt on the inside. The floor was replaced and a whole new bar installed. Nowadays when repairs to a structure are made, the entire building must be brought up to the latest building codes. This necessitated remodeling and modernizing the galley and replacing the plumbing and wiring. To meet updated structural codes, it looked like a couple of windows would have to be eliminated which would have damaged the great views of the river from the clubhouse. They figured out a way to retain the windows and the view remains. There is a deck over the water too, there is a fantastic sunset view from the clubhouse. They added a new pool table room and wired the clubhouse with an audio/visual and security system. After two years of construction they held their grand opening on September 28th and invited the public to come in and check it out.

The result is beautiful, and I think it will attract new members and be the venue for some excellent events like weddings and parties. The club was founded in 1953 and moved into the current clubhouse in 1968. They also have a private dock on an island close by that is only accessible by water and is perfect for a getaway. You can check them out at or give Commodore Jim Azeltine a call at 925/695.4478 for information.

San Joaquin Delta Neighborhood Watch

September 21st was Coastal Cleanup Day. Tracie Glaves, Roger Kelly and their team of 52 volunteers were already out cleaning up our waterways. For this day they picked the Smith Canal in Stockton where they removed 300 and some odd shopping carts and 32 tons of trash and garbage. They had plenty of help, Tracie gives special thanks to the Stockton Police Department, San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Department and the Stockton Public Works Department! Stockton Waterski Club donated a barge and Tom Patti of Delta Crane donated a crane to the project.

Tracie was the well-deserved recipient of the Hal Schell Award in July and she has not slowed down since. I think she has a movement going that will spread all over the Delta. As Tracie says: “Delta boaters are voters.” It is time to take back our waterways, if you see a polluter turn them in at: 888/334.CalTIP (888/334.2258).

Eight Bells

A Delta icon and one of the most beloved people in the Delta has crossed over the bar. William Barron Hilton who has been putting on the Independence Day fireworks extravaganza at Mandeville Reach since he started setting off fireworks for his children in 1958, has crossed over the bar. He was 91-years old and had been in declining health for a few years.

Hilton was a noted philanthropist as well as a very astute businessman. He took over from his father, Conrad Hilton, as president and CEO of Hilton Corporation in 1966. This was preceded by his helping to start the American Football League and being an owner of the San Diego Chargers. He turned a $25,000 investment into $10 million dollars in a several year period. He loved flying and earned his pilot’s license at age 17, at 19 he qualified for a twin-engine rating. He was also qualified as a helicopter pilot. He had a ranch in Nevada that he devoted to flying where he brought in gliders, balloons and experimental aircraft.

In the Delta he was a partner in a first-class duck club on Venice Island. Clark Gable and others were partners. The main building is a treasure and a museum of bird hunting. Mr. Hilton had many friends in the Delta including one of our greatest fishermen, Jay Sorensen and of course, Rusty Areias who took him cruising on Miss 102.

You can hunt from any of eleven permanent duck blinds at the club, one even has refrigeration to keep your food and drink cold while you wait for the action. In addition, there are many portable blinds. The club is a bird hunter’s paradise right on the Pacific Flyway with 1600 acres of corn growing. The island is inhabited by plenty of pheasants and quail when the duck action is slow.

Irish Pennants

I stopped at Korth’s Café for lunch and was sitting at the counter reading Bay & Delta Yachtsman magazine when a fellow came up and struck up a conversation. He didn’t recognize me and said, “that is a good magazine.” I chuckled and agreed with him. He was Wayne D’Anna who I knew from my yacht broker days 20 years ago, back in the heyday of boat sales in the Delta. He had D’Anna Yacht sales since 1974. Since the last time I saw him he went back to school. Now he is a Certified Wellness Trainer and helps folks enjoy a better life. You can contact him at 925/240.8300. It was good to see him. He says he comes over to Korth’s from Discovery Bay for a bite to eat every few weeks.

Gene Davis is a good friend of mine and just bought his first boat, an 18-foot Stingray that he is cruising around the Sacramento area. He is also on the board of the Delta Chambers, he called me up on a Tuesday claiming that it was Monday and asking what time the board meeting was. I thought he was all discombobulated from purchasing his new boat. He explained that the real reason was that he just returned from a vacation in Lahaina Maui. Maui does have that effect on people.

I had to go to the Discovery Bay Yacht Club for a meeting of the Save the California Delta Alliance. It was Taco Tuesday and I was there early, so I helped down a few it was a good dinner. For one low price you get enchiladas, tacos, beans and rice, a great tasting nourishing dinner.

I saw Ron Gregory with Scandia Boat Sales. He was power washing a dock at Ox Bow Marina near my boat. I thought maybe he had taken on a new part time job. But no, he explained that he had listed the adjacent boat with his brokerage and wanted the whole area to look attractive to a potential buyer.

Vivian Matuk of the Division of Boating & Waterways advises us of San Mateo County’s flare collection day. On November 2nd, you can turn them in at Pilar Point Harbor from 0800 hours to 1300 hours and Oyster Point Harbor from 0800 hours to 1400 hours. Call Wesley Won at 650/655.6217 for information and to make a reservation.

I didn’t make it to the Margot Brown Wheelchair Regatta at Encinal Yacht Club this year, but my correspondent Cindy Breninger did. The regatta takes 200 plus veterans for a boat ride in the bay and then serves them a barbeque lunch after. I have been to this event in the past and the veterans all have a grand time. They all have great personal stories of their time in the military. Cindy volunteers every year, she takes photos of the veterans with a Polaroid camera so they will have a souvenir of the event. She also helps the veterans take photos with their own cameras.

Ranger is headed into dry dock for some new planks and securing some butt blocks. She should be out and back in the water by the time you read this.

There is plenty of good weather left. Let me know what you are up to. or 916/869.9141.

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