Delta Rat Scrapbook - September 2019

Stephens Brothers At The Haggin Museum

The Haggin Museum has a special exhibit of Stephens Brothers boats this summer. It will be in the New Gallery through September 29. There are a lot of photos and blueprints you don′t normally see of a selection of their boats over the last 100 plus years.

The piece de la resistance in the exhibit is a .375-inch scale model of Miss 102, one of the most famous Stephens yachts. She was designed by Dick Stephens and launched at the Yosemite Street yard in April of 1956. The model was underwritten by Dick and Donna Stephens. As you should be aware, she is currently owned by the Areias family who have restored her to better than new condition with Dick serving as a consultant.

She is literally one of the most stunning yachts in the Bay or the Delta. On July 20 a reception was held at the museum to unveil the model. It was built by SD Model Makers of San Diego. The detail is amazing, the craft is a work of art.

The museum is home to the Stephens Brothers archives. About the time the factory was closing, Barry White, an employee of the museum removed thousands of documents and took them to the museum. The museum is also home to a 24-foot Siam teak Stephens runabout. Hal Schell was on hand in the last century when they used a crane to shoehorn her through a window.

They have an archive of most of the boats built there from 1902 until they quit building in 1987. Stephens boat owners and enthusiasts make appointments to view the archives and gather information about their own boats or vessels that they are interested in. Many times, the archive includes the original specification sheet and the original bill of sale.

There is much more in the Haggin Museum and it is well worth it to spend a day or two there to see all their exhibits.

On The River

This was the second annual event at the Stockton Sailing Club. An assortment of wooden masterpieces dropped in for the day. The Antique and Classic Boat Society is the primary sponsor and a good chance for their members in the central valley to get together without having to travel a long distance. I was tied up elsewhere, but my friends Patti Brennan and John Paval went. Also, Cyndy Green who is a professional photographer and videographer was on hand and got a couple of photos. She has been very generous letting me use some of her images.

Delta Doo Dah & Artfest At Park Delta Bay

Say that three times rapidly. Eric Chiu put together a fun event at his resort on the Delta Loop. A raft of local artists and photographers attended displaying their creations. We met a lot of new folks and a few people that I have been friends with on social media but never met in person. I published a beautiful photo by local drawbridge operator and photographer Demi Stewart recently and it was good to meet her in person. She was showing several of her works that are just stunning. Demi is a drawbridge tender and I think she generally works the morning shift, so she gets some beautiful sunrise shots. She introduced me to her friend Janet Wilcox who has been a bridge operator for 20-plus years. Demi says Janet was the first woman stationed at the Coast Guard base in Rio Vista many years ago. That is where she met her husband Glenn, he was stationed there too.

It was a day of fun at the marina, you could have your boat inspected, taste some local wines, admire and purchase some local artworks and meet some great people. Eric had asked me if I would do a repeat of my recent Delta presentation. About 30 folks were on hand to watch and listen while I spoke about my experiences in the Delta. One thing I like is that whenever I put on the presentation there will be people there that have had parallel or similar experiences and add to the presentation. I also met another artist, Robbie Ann Gabriel, she works mostly in acrylic and photography, she had some excellent images of chickens on display.

Chris Weaver and Mitch Perkins were there from Latitude 38 magazine. Chris and I keep in touch via email. Mitch has been the advertising manager of the publication forever. Back in the 1990s when I was selling boats at Stockdale Marine in Sacramento, we would put a full-page ad in Latitude 38 each month. Stockdale had assigned me the duty of creating the ad every month and after a while I just started submitting them on my own without Gale Stockdale proofing them. I had a field day with that naturally and I put in many references to his advanced age and he always got a kick out of seeing the latest insult I would hurl at him.

Visit Stockton

Every year Blair Hake takes the management staff of Visit Stockton out for a day′s tour of the Delta. This year Wes Rhea, Megan Peterson, Tim Pasisz, Robyn Cheshire, Kalena Fields and Kelsey Moren accompanied him.

They started at the crack of dawn with breakfast at Bob′s at Village West Marina & Resort. They cruised down the San Joaquin and then up Little Potato Slough to Tower Park and checked out Yogi Bear′s Water Zone which is about ready to open. The women all jumped in the new bumper boats and with encouragement from Blair, they all turned their water nozzles on their boss. After all that strenuous work they headed to the Waterfront Grill where the bartender served fresh squeezed fruit cocktails!

From there they cruised upstream to the nearby Wimpy′s for a “fabulous BBQ Western burger lunch.” Visit Stockton CEO Wes Rhea had never been to Giusti′s, so the crew made the short trip from Wimpy′s over to Giusti′s where they enjoyed a cold drink and tried to count the hats on the ceiling.

They headed back down the Mokelumne River, where they stopped for a swim, and then it was on to Windmill Cove to check out the continuing upgrades Jerry Wolfe and Dave Theis are implementing at the resort.

The Stockton Visitor′s Bureau does a great job promoting the Delta and it is always good to take a fresh look especially now with so many things happening. Blair, former president of the Delta Chambers and current board director is likewise an excellent promoter of the region.


Rebekah Ashley advises me of a revolutionary new product that will remove plastic and other polluting materials from waterways. According to their literature, one Seabin has the capability of removing 90,000 plastic bags from waterways in one year. They can pick up a wide range of items from cigarette butts and straws to plastic bottles, and oil. Rebekah says, “Australian surfer, father, Ecopreneur (a cool new word), and clean ocean advocate, Pete Ceglinski, toured from San Diego to San Francisco and then to Hawaii with his partner Sascha and their one-year-old son in a truck with surfboards and Seabins over June and July. Seabins, a device that is essentially a trash can for the water invented by co-Founders Pete Ceglinski and Andrew Turton to help reduce, and ultimately eliminate pollution in our waterways, have been globally recognized as one of the most promising ways of turning the tide in the battle against plastic pollution.”

Each Seabin installed can remove up to 1.5 tons of waste from marine waterways per year. Since Pete successfully crowdfunded the Seabin invention in 2015, the product has received substantial uptake throughout marinas, harbors and ports around the world. To date, there have been 719 Seabins installed worldwide. What does this mean? Each day, a total of 1.95 tons of waste is extracted from the world′s waterways. Their goal is to install, demonstrate, give corporate presentations and host community events throughout the tour. The issue of ocean plastics is an “everyone′s problem” and not any one person or group can solve it by themselves. We are looking to engage and activate communities by giving them the Seabin technology as a powerful communication platform.

Pete is excited to build awareness of ocean plastic removal in the U.S. throughout the tour which kicks off in San Diego and includes stops in Marina Del Rey, Ventura, San Francisco, and the East Bay. The final stop will be in Oahu, Hawaii. At each location the public is invited to join Pete and his family for one of the following: Seabin installations, demonstrations, educational presentations, beach clean-ups, and community events. The goal is to empower individuals, communities, corporations and local governments to take a stand on plastic pollution and make a difference in their local marinas and ports.” You can reach Pete through Rebekah at rebekah@compasscre

Village West Yacht Club (VWYC)

Sonia Mountjoy a member of Village West Yacht Club reports on a recent event: “On Saturday, July 13 the Village West Yacht Club transformed into an amazing Hawaiian Luau to benefit the Wounded Warriors Project. The moment guests entered, they ‘traveled′ to Hawaii, where they enjoyed authentic decor, award winning hula and Tahitian dancers along with live drumming and special dancing by our club members, including the Event Chair, Director Wendy Foulks.

“Everyone enjoyed delicious island faire including 2 roasted pigs and frozen island drinks to sip as they enjoyed the breathtaking sunset at the new outdoor bar! This sold out event was a huge success made possible by the hard work and generous donations of the VWYC membership, the Village West Marina & Resort and tenants, a spectacular raffle and silent auction, which raised $8,500. Everyone enjoyed dancing provided by the live music of the Bone Shakers band, and before the event came to a close, Commodore Byron Beck acknowledged and thanked all the Veterans present, as well as, the Event Committee.”

Bridge Marina Yacht Club (BMYC)

Bridge Marina Yacht Club will be hosting an Open House/Grand Re-opening of their clubhouse located at 20 Fleming Lane, Antioch on Saturday, September 28th from 1000 hours to 1600 hours.

You will recall that in October of 2017 their 50-year-old clubhouse which is situated over the water close by the south terminus of the Antioch Bridge was struck by a towed construction barge causing significant structural damage to the support beams and pilings which rendered the building uninhabitable. It looked like it had been knocked off its pilings. After more than a year of repairs and construction the work was completed earlier this year. The repaired and refreshed clubhouse is open once again.

Bridge Marina Yacht Club was founded in 1963 with the members moving into the current clubhouse in 1968. BMYC overlooks the San Joaquin River near the south end of the Antioch Bridge. It is known for its million-dollar view and is considered one of the most beautiful locations on the Delta. The clubhouse dining room and bar are open, there is a dock adjacent to the clubhouse and a private dock at an island in nearby Dutch Slough. You can contact the club at 925/706.1187.

Independence Day Follow Up

I was slaving over a computer on Independence Day but many of my friends were at Venice Reach for the 61st annual Barron Hilton Fireworks display. A few thousand boats were in the area and the party lasted for a week. It sounded like it was all good times and no major mishaps took place.

Jack Hanna files this dispatch, “It′s hard for me to write a story about Fourth of July at Mandeville Tip. I just had my 16th experience. Others we know have nearly twice the years and dozens more days on the water, waiting for the party to build to a crescendo and the fireworks display. Water wars, cruising, re-connecting to folks you don′t see much in other places than there. The loud music that appears on the third or so and other irritations are all a part of the experience. Anchor follies, of course, may be amusing or problematic. We chose to grab a pole in the Cut and opposite was a raft of Bethel Islanders we know well from the San Joaquin Yacht Club and the Rusty Porthole. This location turned out to be the biggest action for the water fights. Looking back, as we tend to do if we have history for this event, I must think of Bob Garzee and the Official Bead Boat. Exxon Valdez and other notorious and wild events seem to have settled down. Places we have anchored and people with whom we rafted. On the other hand, sons and nephews of good friends are driving boats and playing music, as well as inviting a cool splash of water from a squirt gun.”

Hydro Dave Hernandez checked in from Camp Verde, Arizona. I am pretty confident he has the fastest boat in the state. He spent the 4th at Lake Pleasant north of Phoenix. He found some new boating friends, Greg and Susana Whitney. They have a 2006 Sea Ray Sundancer 36-footer with twin 454s. He stays in his racing world with his 1988 Kurtis 501 cubic-inch, 1400hp, 135 mph boat, they are the points champion for 2019 in the 8 second bracket. He is with the National Jet Boat Association out of Bakersfield.


Later in July another eclectic group gathers around Mandeville Island. This would be Ephemerisle. This event is billed as the “Burning Man” of the Delta. A whole bunch of boats and other types of watercraft raft up and have a several-day party. This is an enthusiastic bunch with plenty of live music and off the wall fun. My people tell me that there was one lady there that asked a band to change their music so they “can have an orgy.” I have always been interested in Burning Man, but I feel I have paid my dues in the desert and will stick to water travel. It will be interesting to see if this event grows, I like the concept and there were a lot of local folks who came out in their boats and rafted separately from the main group. There are attendees that are not too well versed in seamanship but apparently there were no major mishaps here either.

Frank′s Tract Project

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has initiated the second phase of planning for Franks Tract. “The project involves working with the public, local communities, local agencies, and interested stakeholders in developing a detailed habitat enhancement plan for Franks Tract using a transparent and collaborative process. This effort will develop and evaluate alternative approaches to restoration that integrate multiple interests identified in the previous Franks Tract Futures Report.” If you remember in 2018 the CDFW proposed filling in much of the waterway potentially with toxic muck from the twin tunnel WaterFraud project. It looks like that scheme has been abandoned for the time being. Carl Wilcox of CDFW and Bret Milligan of UCD facilitated the meeting, it also included some paid consultants. The Scout Hall in Bethel Island was packed with Bethel Island residents, mostly small businesspeople that would have their livelihoods destroyed if the wrong course of action was taken in the restoration of Frank′s Tract.

Originally there was a proposed budget of $315 million for the project. According to their documents: “Moffatt & Nichol (M&N) was retained by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) to provide an engineering feasibility assessment for restoration of Franks Tract State Recreation Area (SRA) in collaboration with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), and the California Department of Water Resources (DWR).” It looks like they were proposing to use 23,790,000 cubic yards of tunnel muck to fill in the waterway. It is curious, as when a group of us were testifying at the water board we pointed out that the DWR plan to dump the toxic muck on the east side of Bouldin Island would have a disastrous effect on Tower Park Resort just across Little Potato Slough. So next they decided to use it to fill in Frank′s Tract.

According to Carl there is no budget currently as there is no project. From past experience I urge everyone in proximity to Frank′s Track to keep a close eye on this project. Government officials know full well that the taxpayers affected by these schemes do not have unlimited resources to keep coming to meetings and undergoing data dumps for hours on end. They should really level the playing field and make sure everyone involved be it government workers, consultants or taxpayers are compensated the same. I think that would shorten a lot of meetings and ensure they move along smoothly. I would also question any Delta activities that Metropolitan Water District is involved in as their primary focus is to maximize water exports from the estuary.

Be Safe Out There

The California Boater Card has been phasing in over the last couple of years now. On January 1, 2018 persons 20 years of age or younger needed to have a boater card to legally drive a power boat. Coming up on January 1, 2020 everyone under 35 will have to have the card. Eventually we will all be required to have it. I have no statistical data to back me up, but it seems there are more boating mishaps since the card has been implemented. Of course, part of that could be that there are more boaters on the water this year. I get many calls from folks wanting to visit the Delta in their boat and they frequently ask about a map and I say they need the NOAA charts for the region. I am surprised that most people don′t know what I am talking about. I think probably one of the most important safety items to have in the Delta are the proper charts. Next in line would be a reliable sonar, followed by a GPS. Okay I am leaving out life jackets, fire extinguishers and other items, hopefully they are taken for granted.

My correspondent Nancy Immekeppel sent me a photo of someone unfortunate that ran aground on the Mokelumne river in a nice sailboat. It looks like they went in at high tide and were totally on their side. According to Nancy the Coast Guard rescued the crew but the boat stayed there for a week or two, I hear she has been removed now. Well, I will have to say I broke a prop getting too close to the side around that area one time. Luckily it was an aluminum prop on my daughter′s boat and not one of the bronze props on my boat. You can′t call yourself a Delta boater unless you have run aground at least a few times. I have not done it for years and knock on wood hope it never happens again. Remember, explore new areas at low tide and you can save a lot of grief.

Hal Schell Award

Delta Chambers members and friends gathered at Spindrift Restaurant in Isleton for their July mixer. Roger Kelly lured Tracie Glaves to the event. During the meeting Yachtsman Publisher, Ty Mellott brought her to the front and with the help of our MC in training, Addi Collins, awarded Tracie the 2019 Hal Schell Award.

Tracie and her husband, Jeff, are local Stockton residents and boaters. They have a great love of the Delta. Tracie has been an activist for years promoting our waterways. She started the San Joaquin Delta Neighborhood Watch group on social media in February of 2018. It has really taken off. The San Joaquin County Sheriff′s Department is involved and appreciates the help. The charter partly reads: “Our purpose and goal of organizing the San Joaquin Delta Neighborhood Watch group is to give our community a constructive and productive platform to help address Delta - crime, safety and environmental issues.”

Tracie conducts meetings around the Stockton area bringing local boaters, state officials, and law enforcement together to work on solutions to ongoing problems of crime and environmental damage in the region. The social media page is a great forum to post photos of stolen or abandoned boats, crimes being committed and environmental concerns. Already people have seen a reduction in vagrants openly using drugs and terrorizing people along the waterways in San Joaquin County. I am hoping they can export this program to other nearby counties. In Sacramento there is a homeless jungle extending from the confluence of the San Joaquin River for a few miles upstream on the American River. There is a bike trail there that I used to use with my children when they were young. Now you can′t use the trail without being concerned about being attacked. Ironically Sacramento Mayor Daryl Steinburg was appointed by Governor Gavin Newsom in May as a co-chair of the governor′s newly created Homeless and Supportive Housing Advisory Task Force. The State Capitol is two miles away from this human disaster. The Sacramento City Hall is 1.4 miles away.

Well I digress, congratulations Tracie, that is an extremely well-deserved award.

Eight Bells

Captain Billy Callinan has crossed over the bar. He passed away on a yacht that he had been maintaining and staying on in Marina del Rey. He was the skipper of Rusty Areias′ Southern California boat JOIE. I met him at the Classic Yacht Association Change of Watch in Sacramento last January. He seemed like a great fellow and Rusty and others confirmed what a great guy he was. Billy had been captaining Rusty′s yacht JOIE since she came out of the yard early in 2018. A memorial was held for him in Marina del Rey. The Classic Yacht Association also held a separate memorial for him. CYA Staff Commodore Rick Olson says this about him: “Billy was always there when JOIE was at an event. He was a friendly charming man. With his weathered and salty good looks, big smile and twinkle in his eye, he was easy to like. I wish we had time to get to know him better. He was going to join CYA. He told me more than once how he thought we were a fun group, not stuffy like some yacht club folks.”

Irish Pennants

You know I never brag about anything but occasionally I do make an exception. Many of you have met my granddaughter Daisy, she has captained my boat on many trips. Daisy just graduated from high school and is headed to college. She applied for and won a scholarship from the Pacific Inter Club Yacht Association. I am extremely proud of her. The scholarship will come in handy as she has just started at UC Berkeley.

Driftwood Marina

Driftwood Marina is putting in solar power. Michael is the harbormaster and he calculates that there will be enough power to run the whole marina.

Deon Culberson has opened a new bait shop at Jim′s Holiday Harbor in Antioch. I am confident he will do well, there is a shortage of bait shops nowadays.

Our friend and local videographer Gene Beley is headed to Fayetteville, Arkansas in Johnny Cash′s traveling photo exhibit. Gene was a personal friend of Johnny Cash and covered his famous concert at Folsom Prison as a reporter. The photo exhibit is at the Clinton House Museum. Apparently, the museum is the first house Bill and Hillary lived when they got married and were college students at the adjacent college.

Send me your photos, just remember they need to be JPEGs at least 300 dots per inch to be usable in the magazine. Stay in touch! Commo or phone: 916/869.9141. H

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