A Dispatch from the Delta


The summer in the Delta is turning into a great boating season.  Even though rainfall was somewhat light this year there is plenty of water in the rivers and the fish are biting like crazy from what I hear.

I spent most of the winter fooling around with the water pump on my port motor.  It had been leaking slightly from the bearing all last season.  I had a spare that I rebuilt myself a few years ago and when I installed it it leaked worse than the one I took out.  A few years back you could buy a Perko pump for about $60.00 nowadays they retail for about $400.00.  I found one online for $200.00 that included shipping so I jumped on it and now she is pumping like new.  The other pump lasted almost 20 years so I guess I got my moneys worth out of it.

The Classic Yacht Association held the Stephens Yacht Rendezvous at the Stockton Downtown Marina on the weekend of June 8, 9, and 10.  I had planned to pull out of Oxbow Marina at the crack of dawn on the 8th and had topped off my fuel tanks and moved my boat to a guest slip a couple of days prior so I would be ready to go.  One thing led to another and I finally left the marina at 0930.  It was an uneventful trip down Georgiana Slough and the Mokelumne River but once I reached the San Joaquin the wind picked up and there were white caps on the river.

Luckily the wind was from the west and I was headed east so I was able to surf most of the way to Stockton.  I had Jan and Dean’s “Surf City” blaring from my stereo to add a little atmosphere on the trip.  About the time I passed Windmill Cove at light 37 I spied a couple of classic yachts approaching from the stern so I cranked the motors up to 2,000 rpm to keep ahead.  I passed under the I-5 bridge and into the no wake zone at about 1100.  By now the other boats had closed the distance and I recognized them as Makato and Triple Crown two beautiful Stephens from the Bay area.

I pulled up to the dock in front of the Waterfront Warehouse and managed to tuck Ranger under the bow of David McDonalds beautiful mega-yacht Casino Royale that was also at the dock.  By the evening some fifteen Stephens and a few other boats were lining McLeod Lake and the Fremont Channel.  Makato and Allure were both recently out of the yard and were looking fantastic.  Owner Martin McNair says Allure looks better than new and I agree with him.

On Friday evening we had a cocktail party with I think 50 or so people attending.  I don’t know how many drinks were served but we went through 60 pounds of ice.  Shawn Ball provided every boat with a goodie bag of local items and the Delta Chambers supplied each boat with a Delta map and visitor information guide.

On Saturday evening Sue and I were unable to attend the dinner as we had previously been invited to a cocktail party aboard Casino Royale.  Some 100 Delta luminaries attended the party.  Delicacies such as lobster and salmon tacos and a host of other exotic foods were served.  The bartenders aboard ship were kept busy with a thirsty crowd.  People have asked me of my impressions of being aboard.  I have to say to me it is like my idea of heaven.  Every where you look aboard there are artworks and objects of beauty.  Most of the countertops are made from beautiful stonework.  The marble bar in the main saloon is lit from beneath which gives it a heavenly glow.  She is literally the most beautiful vessel I have ever been aboard.

On Sunday I followed the fleet back downstream after giving my friends staying at the Lexington Waterfront Hotel a demonstration of my horn, siren, and cannon.  On the way down we pulled into the mouth of the Calaveras River to pay homage to Dick Stephens who lives almost at the mouth.  I don’t know what his next door neighbors Joe Faso and Adam Farrow thought with all the horns and sirens blaring on an otherwise peaceful Sunday morning.

Our commodore Les Cochren was in attendance throughout the weekend, charming many of the local ladies.  Les is a firm believer in community service and helped put on the Kids on the Water event at the Sacramento Marina on June 12.  The marina brings in about 75 local school children and gives them a day of fun and safety instruction including a boat ride on the river.  Many of these children have never been on the water and they were all excited to spend a day at the marina.

There is plenty happening in the Delta during the summer, not the least of which is the Taste of the Delta wine and food festival at Village West Marina on July 21, you can get more information at www.tasteofthedelta.com.


About Bill Wells - A retired yacht broker, Bill is currently the Executive Director of the California Delta Chambers & Visitor's Bureau. He is an active member of the Northern California Fleet of the Classic Yacht Association. In their spare time he and his beloved wife Sue cruise their 1937 Stephens cruiser Ranger to boating events throughout the Delta. Bill is active in matters helping to preserve and protect the California Delta. He chronicles his adventures in the monthly Delta Rat Scrapbook column for Bay & Delta Yachtsman magazine.



3 Responses to “A Dispatch from the Delta”

  1. Tan Nguyen says:

    Looks like a lot of fun bill! Thanks for the great post!

  2. KJ says:

    Thank you Thank you Bill for the great article on our California Delta Events website BLOG. Our readers are truly enjoying it!

  3. Tan Nguyen says:

    Thanks for the post Bill! Looks like a lot of fun in the sun.

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