Delta Doo Dah
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Snorkling in franks tract? July-August 2010
Just wondering if it's clear enough there to float around with my face down in the water.

Yes it is. The west side of the tract has been teated for weed. The east side is still very thick.
If you do go snorkeling, make sure that you stay close to a boat. The bass fishermen run across the tract at 50 to 60 MPH!!!

I had never thought about bringing my snorkel, but I love snorkeling, so will give it a try this time. Also, a tip for us chicks: swim fins are great for shaping your legs!
Christine Weaver, Doodette
Stink Eye, Laser 28

So do you wrap the swim fins around your legs or rub them on your legs? How does that work? :~)
Jim Boissier, Ardea Tartan 37

So, how was the snorkeling? Turned out I didn't have a mask, so didn't try it. I saw that the Geronimo crew gave it a shot at Boyd's.
Christine Weaver

Snorkling was great. We actually bought a couple of masks specifically for the trip. It helped getting all that cabbage off our prop too and gained us a full half knot to knot of speed to cruise into Stockton! And it's fun too when the water is close to 80 degrees. :-)
Erik & Brian Jones, SV Sizzle, 1979 Glastron Spirit 28

Doo Dah Pics! August 2010
I took way too many pictures but did end up capturing some nice shots of some of the Doo Dah action...
I pared it down from 650 pictures (really!) to just over 200 and only included a FEW of my Firebolt family.
We had a great time - thanks to EVERYONE involved in making it such a great adventure.
Bummer that our boat is still at the Stockton Sailing Club broken down.
Jen Holden, Firebolt

The dinghy race seems like it was a lot of fun. Sorry we missed it.
Byung, Hapa Girl

If it's any consolation, we didn't make it back to the Bay either. Jonathan is hauling out in Vallejo today.
Christine Weaver, Doodette
Stink Eye, Laser 28

Uh Oh, do we have a common Laser 28 problem?
Jen - did the saildrive finally give up the fight?
Greg, Hapa Girl

Christine - sorry to hear about Stink Eye's trouble...our boat is just now passing Red Rock - Mike just called - almost home!!
Took several days since we had to wait for parts from Canada - but after 3 fuel filters were replaced and the fuel tank cleaned out it seems to be running great!

Firebolt's home and running well. Smells pretty dieselly down below since I bled the system a few times while figuring things out. We motored from Stockton to Pittsburg Thursday, then I motored from Pittsburg to Benicia Saturday, and back to Richmond (sailed most of the way) today.
Thanks to Rob from Silent Sun and Ben from Georgia for their help diagnosing and fixing. And to my dad for helping with the repairs and delivery.
Is Stink Eye going to get an outboard well?

Hi Mike -
Jonathan's intention is to build an outboard well next time he hauls out. The silver lining to all this is that since he hauled out at Vallejo BW, Stink Eye's now got a nice slippery spray-on bottom job at very good rate.
He got the boat back to SF finally yesterday. San Pablo Bay was fine; the Slot was howling! He was doing 6.5 knots on a partially furled, and now tattered, jib only.
Christine Weaver

Bay Bash, August 2010
We spent Saturday night in Antioch Marina, which always gives us a warm welcome. We made an 0730 getaway on Sunday morning to get through Suisun Bay before any weather built. At first, we encountered some waves and wind, but it really smoothed out by Port Chicago. We stopped in Benicia for gas and coffee. Still nice in the Carquinez Strait, but boy, once we got into San Pablo Bay, it was really intolerable. Jonathan was miserably wet and fearing for our jury-rigged outboard. I told him that I was willing to sacrifice a day at the office if that was the only thing keeping us from turning around.
We turned back to Vallejo YC, not the first in our fleet to do so. The club were as hospitable as can be, and we were entertained by our friends Robbie and Ruben, who had not made the rally. I called the office and told them that although I was not stuck in Lodi again, I was stuck in Vallejo.
We tried San Pablo Bay again on Monday morning, and although the wind was only at about 15 knots, the sea state was just as bad and we slammed on every wave. Back to Vallejo! The Vallejo ferry got us to our truck in SF.
Ruben recommended Vallejo Boat Works, so Jonathan is hauling out the boat today to see if he can fix the saildrive engine.
How was your 'Bay Bash'?
Christine Weaver, Doodette
Stink Eye, Laser 28

Wow Christine, sounds bad!
We left Stockton late-ish on Saturday, 930 or so, and didn't see much wind until after New York Slough. Maybe 15 on the nose. Did no sailing that day--just motored into the dying flood. It was ebbing well by the time we got to Carquinez around 4:45. And the wind was up to around 20, and the waves were big. We went into Vallejo and got lucky, got a spot at the yacht club. Had a tour of Ruben and Robbie's new-to-them Brewer 46 (envy!) and a great dinner. The wind was gusting to the high 20's in the harbor, and COLD!
On Sunday we left a little after low tide at about 930 again (just can't seem to get going before then!), and set the 1st reef in the channel. I planned to sail for a bit then start motor-sailing, but we came around Mare Island and legged out on port, pretty much laying China Camp, and then did a few tacks up to the bridge. It was bouncy at times, saw mid-20's, but not too uncomfortable. A few extra tons of boat make a lot of difference when its choppy. We got into Point Richmond at 2:30 after a boisterous sail.
Jack London once said the hardest passage he ever endured was from San Francisco to Vallejo. :)
Bob and Lori, Cal 39-2 "Sea Star"

Since we cheated and had to leave early - I think we caught the weather just right.
We motored out to Pittsburg Thursday eve with a couple other Doo Dah'ers. We had to stop there as they were forecasting gusts to 45 in the straights. It was nice at Pittsburg at 8pm, but by 11 was blowing very hard. The next morning -we waited for the fuel dock to open - then boogied out at 8:30am. They were still forecasting high winds at the straits, but was supposed to slacken, then develop into a strong westerly. Was a bit bumpy at first - but moderated and I don't think we saw anything more than 15 all the way to RYC.

Odyssey & the 'iliohale departed Stockton SC at 5:15 AM on Saturday. We had a nice motor trip going with the tide all the way to Pittsburg were we stopped for a pump out at around 10:30. The trip across Susiun was not too bad with really pretty mild conditions on a flood with at times 25 kts on the nose. We pulled into Benicia at around 3 PM for the night. Once we got off the bottom mud in Benicia harbor, we departed at around 10:30 AM on Sunday. San Pablo was in it's full glory between the Carquinez Bridge and Point Pinole with a very nasty short chop and a 25 kt SW wind. We were loving the dodger on that stretch. We motored sailed under main until Pt. Pinole against a 1+ kt flood. Once we got past Pt. Pinole, we rolled out the jib, double reefed the main and cut the engine for the balance of the trip into Sausalito. It was cold, foggy, and nasty most of the way. We had a few gusts in the low 30's off Angel Island but at that point we had a nice ebb helping us along. We tied up at Clipper YH at 3:30 PM. All in all, the trip back was well worth the great week we had doing the Doo Dah. No regrets.

Rich and I were out of Stockton at 6:05 a.m. Flat, nice motor down river. Passed "Sizzle", exchanged greetings, and soon came up to about 5 minutes behind Moor'ea, Rigel and Gitana Vela. They were going into False River and told us that they would let us know about depth. They called very soon and told us 1 1/2 feet under their keel. We opted for the main channel, which by the way took us at 6.5 knots 1 hr, 15 minutes, going with the ebb, up and around to the other side of False River. Started down toward Antioch and "Goose" flew by us with his sails up. Didn't see much of him for the rest of the day. Man, that bird can fly. Not bad motor through NY Slough, a little windy in Suisun, but mostly flat, watched a regatta of Wiley Rabbit's with Spinaker's going up river and pulled into a very calm and warm Benecia at 3:15. We were going to stay there, had a reservation and everything, but decided after fueling up that we would go for it. Left at 3:45 in relatively good conditions. Until Port Chicago. Kept going for a while and were thinking of turning around but again decided to stick it out. We watched enviously as a few boats came under the bridge and headed toward Vallejo. Conditions got worse, 30 knots, big chop, no dodger, but kept going. We put our jib up, headed for China Camp and made good time, for about an hour. Finally got under the Richmond Bridge with the very dark and cold fog rolling in. Went down to put on the running light's and they wouldn't stay on. After a few more try's they still would not work. So, no lights coming down Raccoon Straights and into the Harbor. Made it back to the docks in near dark at 8:30. Had an Irish coffee, went to bed (bunk) and got up late the next morning and started the unloading process. The running lights worked the next morning. Go Figure. Listened to Moor'ea, Rigel, Gitana Vela, No Agenda and Ebenezer II, and a few others, coming down from Pt. Pinole on Sunday morning.
Oh well. Ya gotta do it. Hopefully, if we can do it next year, we will have a dodger, light warm winds, and calm waters in Suisun and San Pablo. I can dream, can't I.
Anyway, Rich and I had a blast, made great friends, met wonderful people and are still rocking a little bit from being on the boat for 8 days.
Shawn and Rich Wideman, Bumpy, C&C 40

Here's my story, as one of the two single-handers.
After my fiancee Lisa suprised me by showing up at the party at Stockton (after giving me a story about going dancing with her friends), I left Stockton pretty much on schedule at 9:15. Motored pretty much all the way to Pittsburg YC where I spent the night. (Should have stayed at the marina where several other Doo-dahers were-I got a 'who's he?' at the yacht club.) Left Pittsburg at 6:30, following Moorea, Gitana Vela, Carousel, and Pretty Penny. Soon Moorea's engine quit and got a tow from Gitana. (They ended up towing all the way to Sausalito!) Got through 'hell' (i.e., Port Chicago/Middle Ground) in record time (two hours) with a good ebb. Motorsailing with a reefed main help smooth the rough ride. (Which smoothed out past Port Chicago and through to Carquinez Bridge.) Got to Vallejo while the ebb was still going, and the chop was horrible. Again, motorsailing helped, also sticking to the south side in 15 feet of water helped too. (Carousel was motoring straight into the chop and looked like they were having a hell of a ride. (I'm pretty sure their deck was pretty clean after that!) Finally put up the jib somewhere along the way to Point Pinole and sailed towards China Camp. After tacking many times, I thought about forgetting about sailing and going back to motoring, but I stuck it out and arrived in the Raccoon Straights to drizzle! What a contrast to the warmth of the Delta!
But overall, what a great time! Definitely my best trip to the Delta!
Brian, No Agenda

Saturday afternoon in San Pablo Bay was no picnic. Easily the worst weather of the 40 something bashes I/we've done, Wind on the nose around 30 knots. My guess is that down wind would have been a blast. I have not been that wet in a long time. Spent the night in Richmond. Best shower I've had in 40 something trips. Very nice Delta trip, Thanks for including us.
Danny, Duende

Silent Sun stayed at Stockton SC Saturday night, which ended up being a necessity as I slipped off the cockpit seat and sprained my ankle! It's a mild sprain but at least I had a really good excuse to just lie around. :-) Moved back to Potato Slough (Bedroom 1 - really, 1.5) Sunday, mainly so we could try the Doo Dah-famous clam chowder at the Lighthouse restaurant on the Mokelumne. Let me say first that the food was really excellent, and the clam chowder really is all that. But the service? I've rarely experienced such crazy bad service. At least they weren't rude, but my goodness - not a single part of our order, with the exception of the chowder, was right. Crazy! Then, on our way back, we ran out of gas. Now this wasn't really unexpected, since we have about an hour's worth of motoring time in our little OB, but it sorta sucked as the wind had really perked up while we were at the restaurant (waiting for them to get our orders right!). It was a loooooooooooong row home, arriving just as dusk was settling in. Phwew!
We left around 7 Monday morning to a decent breeze on the nose - 15 kts or thereabouts. No biggie...till we poked our nose out of NY Slough. BAM! But we really wanted to make it to Benicia so we, too, could visit with Robbie and Ruben. It started getting a little bumpy, then bumpier, then bumpier. Poor Fred lost his breakfast and was thoroughly miserable. Rob suggested we try the Suisun Cutoff around Ryer Island and down past the Ghost Fleet to avoid the seas. We'd never done it before and it was blowing like stink, so we were extra vigilant in watching the depth sounder. Running aground would have been ugly. But we made it just fine, and the seas calmed so it was a good call. By the time we got past the fleet, the whole river was calm, though it was still blowing. They're dredging the channel into Benicia, and the barge smack in the middle looked sketchy but it was plenty roomy.
Had a great dinner with Robbie, Ruben and Ben on Mirage, then left around 10 yesterday. Had plenty of water heading out and caught the last of the ebb, but we were getting really slammed by the wind. Had the jib and a reefed main up, but stuff was still flying around the cabin. (Please keep in mind that we just got done with a several-month refit and some of the cubby doors aren't latching right after being re-installed - good stuff to find out now.) When Fred took a direct hit from a hard object, I put my foot down. Down came the jib and on came the motor. The seas weren't bad, but the winds were cranking. Finally, Rob put in a 2nd reef which calmed things down a bit. Thank goodness it was warm as Rob got totally soaked from spray. We were in shorts & tshirts when we started out, and I'd gone below to comfort Fred. Rob said just to stay down as it was getting wetter, so I obliged. About halfway to China Camp, he came dripping downstairs where I ordered him to strip and threw him a towel. A fresh batch of clothes and his foul weather gear were next. He said that made the rest of the very wet trip much better! It was blowing sustained 35-40, with higher gusts, from the time we cleared the Vallejo breakwater to when we dropped anchor at China Camp. I can recall uglier trips across San Pablo, but none that honking.
Got up early this a.m. to get me to the office in time for 'Lectronic. 15 knots on the nose and drizzly. Gah! Why did we leave the Delta again?!
Thanks again everyone for sharing such a great week with us! Can't wait to do it again!!
LaDonna Bubak, Silent Sun, Crealock 37

We had a wonderful time dawdling in the Delta -- the sunrises and sunsets were beautiful. Temperatures were perfect - warm days and cool nights. The only rough patch of our trip was during the last four hours on Saturday afternoon, motoring from the Carquinez bridge to Emery Cove.
We left Stockton Sailing Club at 5:50am, and motored by Pittsburg about 10am. We had tentatively planned to stay in Pittsburg on Saturday night, but decided to keep going, perhaps staying in Martinez or Vallejo instead. We continued to make good time, motoring by Benecia at noon. Jay suggested that we stop for a lunch break, but I wanted to keep going.
After passing Rodeo and enduring 30 minutes of nasty chop and wind, Jay (wisely) suggested returning to Benecia to wait for the winds to calm down, but I was still gung-ho and wanted to keep going. Well, I should have listened to Jay, who knew from previous experience racing J/24s back from Vallejo just how nasty it could be...
For some reason I thought conditions would moderate after passing Red Rock, but it got even worse. The winds by then were steady at over 25 with gusts to 35, and we were motoring against the ebb. Confused waves, with occasional waves breaking completely over our boat. We had run two short jacklines from our dog Bella's lifejacket to the cabin ladder. However, Bella decided that must be some other location on the boat that didn't go pitch, crash, bang -- so she kept trying to crawl out of her life jacket to see if perhaps the foredeck was calmer.
I wanted to partially deploy the jib, and Jay tried to accomodate me, but the foot and leach of the sail ripped, so we rolled the jib back up again. Then one of the cotter pins holding down the bimini frame broke. I managed to reinsert the broken cotter pin and tie-down the frame with Jay's help, but trying to hold on to Bella at the same time caused me to do some kind of twist and sudden bang with my knee. Oops.
The winds increased when we passed Angel Island on our way to Emery Cove. I think at that point, the winds from the gate were steady at 30 with gusts over 40. I hadn't seen conditions like this very often on the bay, and was happy that we were on such a sturdy steady boat, diesel engine purring steadily along. We arrived at Emery Cove about 5pm. I asked our Coast Guard Auxillary dock neighbors what they thought of the conditions -- they had been out for the day, and said they had never seen such nasty conditions in all their years on the bay!
On Sunday Jay took me to the Kaiser minor injury clinic, and now I have crutches and a knee brace that I get to wear for awhile. Well, I learned so many things on the Delta Doo Dah! Next time we head to the delta, we'll have a working depth sounder and a dinghy for doggy doo runs. And most important, I'm going to listen to Jay when he wants to stop for a lunch break or an overnight to wait for calmer seas...
Jeanne MacDonald, SV Time and A Half, O'Day 35

Isn't this amazing?! We all seem to have tales of miserable conditions, and/or breakdowns, and yet we all had a great time and want to go back!!!
I guess we're all crazy!
Brian Forster, No Agenda

Well, if by 'crazy' you mean 'lusting for sun and willing to go to great lengths to soak up just a little of the stuff', well...then call me nuts! ;-)
LaDonna 'Doodette' Bubak

Photos, July 2010
Attached is the link to some of the photos we took during the trip! There are a couple photos of other boats and such so please let us know if you would like us to email a copy.

Gary & Nancy, iliohale

So I have a crummy camera and I take really bad photos, but there are a few good shots here. Enjoy.

Lori took some really excellent pictures!
Bob and Lori, Cal 39-2 "Sea Star"

Thank You All, August 2010
We had a blast. If it had not been for the Doo Dah and the staff that organized it, we would not have made the delta this year. Thanks again.

Where to go Saturday Night July 31, July 2010
For the convenience of the fleet, I've compiled a list of marinas where you may want to stay on the night of our start. I can give some of these my personal recommendation; others I've never been to, at least by sea. All opinions expressed are mine, not Latitude 38's. I've listed them in geographical order.
Loch Lomond Marina. (415) 454-7228.
Not far from our start, but if you have a problem or forgot something at the store you can bail out here and take care of it.
Vallejo Municipal Marina. (707) 648-4370
Easy walk to restaurants and Vallejo Ferry. Better showers than Benicia Marina. A short way up the Napa River (Mare Island Strait) from Carquinez Strait.
Vallejo YC. (707) 643-1254.
Next door to (south of) the Vallejo Municipal Marina. They welcome reciprocal yacht club members for a free 24-hour stay.
Glen Cove Marina. (707) 552-3236.
On the Carquinez Strait between Vallejo and Benicia. A Doo Dah sponsor.
Benicia Marina. (707) 745-2628.
Our least favorite showers, but easy walk to cute downtown and convenient stop for fuel, ice, etc. Pay close attention to depth on either side of the entrance.
Martinez Marina. (925) 313-0942.
Across the Strait from Benicia. Walk to cute downtown and nice Amtrak station. Ask about depth.
Pittsburg Marina. (925) 439-4958.
Our host for Sunday night. You can arrive a day early and stay put (but call and check with them first).
Antioch Marina. (925) 779-6957.
Past Pittsburg, but not too far. Walking distance to Amtrak. We like walking downtown and along the river, but unlike Martinez and Benicia, we don’t recommend straying from the marina after dark alone. You’ll need to backtrack to get to Pittsburg on Sunday.
Another option is to anchor off China Camp in San Rafael. LaDonna can tell you more about this as she has done it many times! Do you have any other favorite anchorages or marinas I may have missed?
Christine Weaver, Doodette
Stink Eye, Laser 28

We've anchored in China Camp several times, most recently during the 4th of July holiday weekend. It's a very comfortable anchorage with a lot of space from McNear's Beach all the way down to Ratt Rock at depths of between 20 and 10 feet MLLW. Holding is good in thick goopy mud and clay. There's very little rolling and wave action even when it's blowing a stink in the Bay. Currents tend to run strong with the ebb and flood, so I usually double anchor just to minimize swing and add some extra holding. It's quiet, you can dingy to some nice beaches and tends to be a popular spot with boaters. I recommend it.
Erik & Brian Jones, SV Sizzle, 1979 Glastron Spirit 28

I'd be curious where 'most' people will be staying that night. I'm planning on Benicia myself (I'm calling them soon to reserve as they are very popular this time of year)-it's a good distance and resting point. (I was going to go to Pittsburg, but I don't think it's a great place to hang out for the day waiting for the Sunday night fun.)
As far as China Camp goes, I've anchored there many times, but it's not very far from the start. It's a good place to go, except when the wind and tide are going opposite directions. I've had my anchor line wrap around my keel twice, once I had to cut the anchor free.
Brian Forster, NO AGENDA, Newport 30

We decided to stay in Benicia. We've already called and made our reservation with them.
Agree with the sentiment that staying in China Camp is a very short hop, making the hop over to Pittsburg that much farther the next day.
Erik Jones

I know that Odyssey and us have a reservation for Saturday night in Pittsburg.
Gary & Nancy, iliohale

Glen Cove is scheduled for dredging in August, beginning Aug. 2 at last word. Which doesn't mean you can't go there. I think they'd be happy to have a few of our fleet show up. I do recommend calling and making a reservation, and let them know the draft of your boat.
Jonathan and I have tentatively agreed to go all the way to Pittsburg the first day (but haven't made a reservation yet). That way, we can take a walk into Old Town Pittsburg to see what that's like. Never been there, but I'll let you know.
Then we can be there to greet the majority of the boats coming in Sunday afternoon.
Christine Weaver, Doodette
Stink Eye, Laser 28

Rich and I are also going into Benicia on the way up and on the way back. We have reservations on both ends. We have to check the tides for Saturday to see when we can come into Benicia Harbor. We draw 7 1/2 feet. I can see that there are two boats so far coming into Benicia for Saturday. We will look for your D cubed Burgees.
Rich and Shawn Wideman, Bumpy C&C 40

We wanted to go into Benicia this Saturday but they're full. Made reservations at Martinez instead. Is anyone else going to Martinez? Or will there be a big gathering in Benicia? If the latter, will it be OK to come in there and raft up with someone at the guest dock?
Bob Walden/Lori Tewksbury, Cal 39-2 "Sea Star"

We'll be anchoring out at New York Slough, most likely. But be aware that the plant across the river sounds some kind of alarms at night that kept waking up some of the more delicate flowers in our group. ;-)
LaDonna 'Doodette' Bubak

For those of you going to Benicia on Saturday, here's a caution from Ebenezer II, who was there last night:
BTW shoaling just inside the breakwater entrance to Benicia Marina has reduced depth at low water to 4 ft., due to "sand bar" according to the Harbor Master's office.
I draw 5'3" and we were unable to depart the breakwater at 0900 today because we ran out of water before we left the breakwater. Low water was at 1030, so we turned back and waited; we pushed through at 1130, and sailed wing on wing in 20 Kts W all the way to Pittsburgh.
Christine Weaver, Webmistress, Latitude 38

Dry Ice, July 2010
I am new to this dry ice business. We have a large, very thick, styrofoam cooler (we could use large plastic cooler if better) that we were planning to use for overflow refrigeration. We wanted to use dry ice but am concerned about proper ventilation for the DI. It would be in our aft cabin with two portholes always open. Do you think this is enough ventilation.
We do have a very small storage bin (about 12 gallons) outside in the cockpit that we also use for a cooler on day sails. Do you think the dry ice would do better out there? And then stack some ice on top of it. It is not properly insulated, but it has drainage and we usually keep it filled with ice and beverages.
Also, where to you buy this stuff in Southern Marin?
Thanks, Shawn, C&C 40

Molly Stones sells dry ice.
Gary & Nancy, iliohale

Just be careful, remember CO2 is a heavier gas and pools like propane does, it doesn't float off. You don't want to keep it in a sealed container. Check out youtube for "Dry Ice Bomb" videos and you'll see what I mean.
The best way to deal with it is to keep the drain plug on your chest open, with a hose running from the drain plug outside. A 1/4 plastic fish tank type tube is good enough as long as you don't have to worry about kinks. There are tougher hoses you can use for sure.

Getting Back? July 2010
Just curious how everyone is planning on getting back from Stockton? Straight slog back? Stopping anywhere? Taking another week to make a slow steady trip back? Leaving the boat up in the Delta for awhile?
Gary & Nancy, iliohale

Jonathan is trying to convince his brother that he and his girlfriend would enjoy a week in the Delta (which they would of course). In which case we would leave Stink Eye at Antioch Marina for them and take Amtrak back to SF. Otherwise, we will probably stop Saturday night in Franks Tract and anchor, or at Antioch or another marina further along the way, completing the bash back to SF on Sunday.
After last year's Doo Dah the wind and seas were so awful on Sunday that we went back into Antioch and caught the train. Then Jonathan delivered the boat home when the weather settled later in the week. Some fellow Doo Dah sailors did the same.
After this year's Delta Ditch Run, Jonathan had to be at work that Monday and had a demanding work schedule all week, so we delivered the boat back from Stockton to San Francisco all in one long day. It took about 12 hours, motoring or motor-sailing the whole way.
Christine Weaver, Doodette
Stink Eye, Laser 28

Last year, we left Stockton on Saturday at 6 AM and slogged under main and engine into a 25kt headwind all the way to Vallejo, about 9 hours. Got the boat cleaned up and had a nice dinner. Then we had a great sail in nice conditions back to Sausalito on Sunday. This year, we have a reservation at Benicia for Saturday night and plan to do about the same.
Gary & Nancy, iliohale

We leave Ardea up in the Delta for the month of Aug. every year at Oxbow Marina. This year we will spend the week following the Doo Dah gunk holing and then commute by car the remaining weekends as we head back to work during the week. We usually plan to come back to the Bay on Memorial Day weekend but always stay an extra week cuz it's too much fun. We've stopped at several marinas in the past on the way back. Last year was Benicia which we can recommend highly if they have any room. They seem to be a popular spot for cruise ins especially with power boat groups. The slog from Pittburg to Benicia is usually a bit rough with winds we've experienced between 20 and 40 knots but the time passes quickly when you miserable. :)

The trip back is hell, as far as I'm concerned! I always refer to the part between Pittsburg and Benicia as the boating equivalent of driving down I-5 to LA: it's hot, straight, boring, and takes about 4 hours! (This is why I'm looking for someone to go with me: I'd like company to share the misery!)
In years past, I've left the Delta about 6 AM, and gone to Benicia that night. I'd arrive at Pittsburg around 11, thinking I'd beat the wind. But that hasn't worked, so I think this year, I'm going to Pittsburg the first night, leave there at 6 AM, and hopefully get past Benicia before the wind pipes up. Yes, that means I'll hit San Pablo Bay later when the wind starts building, but at least there you have room to move. In Middle Ground, you don't.
The main thing is, enjoy the downwind sail going up, because you'll pay for it coming back!
Brian Forster, No Agenda

My friend has a great website: that is invaluable for the Delta: Tides/currents for the next 4 months from SF to Stockton.
I just did the slog back last weekend... the trick (for me) I've realized is to make sure that you hit Carqinuez on a nice ebb. I motored back from Benicia to Sausalito in about 3.5 hours (I left Benicia just at max ebb at Carqinuez - I think the ebb was 3 kts). The other think I would suggest is to make sure you do Suisun in a flood, which puts you at Carquinez for that ebb. The wave action created by the ebb is just brutal - it'll cut your boat speed in 1/2, but it will clean your boat off nicely. Remember your foulies!
My plan is to be at Carquinez around 6 pm on Sunday eve... which means leaving Sherman around 2 ish (max flood), where we are spending the night Saturday night. Thankfully max flood is only 1 kt that Sunday. We'll probably leave Stockton pretty early Saturday am...
Nate Oleson, Lady Jane

As someone who has never brought a boat back from Stockton can someone outline in detail the rough spots and what to miss and how to avoid trouble?
Thanks, Lori, Venti

I have only done the trip back once, last years Doo Dah, but we got a lot of tips from others who have done it many times. I think in general, the two trouble spots are between Pittsburg & the Benicia Bridge and then San Pablo Bay from the Carquinez Bridge to Pt. Pinole For both of these I think the general rule of thumb is to try to get past them early before the afternoon winds build and at slack or a slight flood. It is hard to hit both these conditions for both stretches on the same day. Last year, we had nasty conditions in the Suisun Bay stretch in very strong early afternoon headwinds on an ebb. Can anyone say "fire hose". We spent the night at Vallejo and then sailed through San Pablo in the morning on a slight ebb in very nice conditions. By contrast, we did one trip back from Napa last year where we had 35 kts in San Pablo and a nasty chop, it was an adventure.
If the conditions are really nasty like last year, you can follow Christine's lead, stop in at Antioch and take the train back until the conditions improve. Good luck, and enjoy every mile of the trip up.
Gary & Nancy, iliohale

Delta Stories June 2010
A sailor who was doing some spring cleaning brought a stack of very old Latitudes by our office a while ago. Although I've worked here for 20 years, they are all before my time. In perusing them, I came across a real treasure: editor John Riise's story of his first Delta cruise, which was solo no less (he has since been back with his family many times). It inspired me to add a 'Delta Stories' section to the Web site. Check it out at
The list of stories is still minimal, but includes last year's Primer and my favorite Delta article of all time, 'The Cruise of the Laundry Basket'. If you think you need a lot of stuff to sail the Delta, be sure to read that one!
Christine Weaver, Webmistress, Latitude 38

Water Balloons, in an eco-friendly manner, May 2010
This is going to be my first Doo Dah, and among all the things that are making me completely stoked for the event I am seeing that water balloons are just about a requirement for the event.
I found a site that offers eco-friendly water balloons, but the minimum order is 1000 pieces for $172 bucks + shipping. Does anybody want to split these so that we can blast fellow doo-dah'ers in good ecological conscious with me?

I'll chip in for my share to make sure we minimize our impact. But a 1000 balloons! That won't be enough ammunition to keep Silent Sun stocked for the 7 days :-p Seriously, let me know how I can buy in.
Gary & Nancy, iliohale

I can't imagine that throwing 1000 latex ballons into the fragile waters of the Delta can have a positive affect on the environment or the reputation of the Delta Doo Dah. Besides it's illegal. Check your MARPOL plaque. Perhaps doubling up on water cannons would be a better option. Not trying to be a stick in the mud here (pun intended), I enjoy a good water fight as much as anyone, but the ecosystem of the Delta is really pretty delicate and who wants to look at trash in the water.
Jim, Ardea

Sorry, but there really are no marine-life-friendly balloons. Biodegradable balloons are made of latex. They do biodegrade, on the ground, eventually (Wikipedia says at the same rate as an oak leaf). In the meantime, they are litter. On the water, they do not lose their elasticity as quickly as when they are on dry ground. Where latex balloons are biodegradable, they are not digestible. They are a hazard to birds, turtles and other creatures that may think they look like food.
We have consulted Jonathan's marine biologist and science teacher brothers on this, and we've agreed to discourage the use of water balloons. Better to spend your defense budget on a good water cannon!
Christine Weaver, Doodette
and Jonathan Gutoff, Skipper
Stink Eye, Laser 28

Works for me. Fair warning - the iliohale is packing heat

I can see that I'm going to have to start scouring eBay for a monster rocket!
LaDonna 'Doodette' Bubak

Tule shooters are the best delta weapon. If you strip a tule the right way it can become a projectile. If you don't know what one is, my kids will show you.
-Mike (firebolt)

Boat Pics, May 2010
I'm not officially on the roster, but my family and I will be tagging behind the rest of the flotilla!
This is our boat. A 1966 25' Islander Bahama called the Chiton. We've owned her for 4+ years.
Last year we made the journey up the delta in a haphazzard, unplanned fashion. I ended up piloting her from Martinez to Oakland both ways (which was INSANE) My father and brother both met me in Martinez and continued the trip onto the delta.
This year is a bit different. We are having her hauled out in June. First bottom job EVER since we owned her. Also all crew members will pilot her from Oakland to the delta, no solo's this year.
Hopefully I'll be the unofficial hotspot of the flotilla. Yes folks, I'll provide you with awesome 3g wifi while we're at anchor with my l33t MIS/IT skills.

Glad to see you'll be tagging along. I'm sure any number of folks will be interested in taking you up on your offer - these 'city folk' just have a hard time not working (note that I'll be working the whole time too!). Thanks for checking in, see you soon!

Yes, I might take advantage of that offer if only to keep check in on this forum!
Christine Weaver, Webmistress, Latitude 38

Any Doo Dah 1 Participants Out There? March 2010
Just wondering if any of you plan to sign up for the 2010 Doo Dah. I would feel a little guilty about taking a slot from someone else who hasn't had the experience but at the same time, it was such a great experience and we meet such wonderful people (with good friendships made) that we would hate to miss out on it. So I am just wondering if other Doo Dah veterans are planning to sign up?
Gary & Nancy, iliohale

We will be going again....can't wait!

We've already gotten many repeat sign-ups, but also some new folks, so it should be a fun mix. See
Christine Weaver, Doodette
Stink Eye, Laser 28

Jay from Moor'ea here; all signed up for this year's Doo Dah Debauchery! Can't wait for August!
Here are some photos from last year to whet your appetites!
Jay Hickman (and Maceo), Moorea, Ericson 29 Nº5

Hey Jay,
Next time, you might want to take some more pictures with some people in them?!!
Doug Thorne

Doug, sorry about that, but due to an awol crewmember the first day of the rally, I was behind the fleet for a while off on my own. I'm hoping to avoid a repeat of that situation this year!
Jay & Maceo

You could put a SPOT unit on Maceo in case he goes walkabout again.
LaDonna 'Doodette' Bubak

It'll be our first time and we're very much looking forward to it. We've been talking about exploring the Delta and now we have our excuse! And a bunch of folks to share the good time with. Yay!
Erik & Brian Jones, SV Sizzle, 1979 Glastron Spirit 28

Great to have you on board, Erik! The Delta is rife with opportunities for exploration; I've spent weeks and weeks up there, and I haven't even scratched the surface! If the fleet is anything like last year, as I'm sure it will be, is a great bunch of folks with which to aimlessly wander the myriad gunkholes the Delta has to offer.
Jay & Maceo

Jonathan gave me the photos you were talking about from last year; I'll email them to you. I think this one is the best. Moor'ea's got a bone in her teeth!
Christine Weaver, Doodette
Stink Eye, Laser 28

Let's Get This Party Started! April 2010
Come on people, let's start thinking about those warm delta afternoons playing in the water. Let's get this forum kicking!!
What are people doing to get ready besides buying water cannons? Our lessons learned from last years Doo Dah was the following:
1. Keep a big old cooler of ice and drinks in the cockpit at all times.
2. Shade shade shade.
3. Bring less food and keep the meal plans very simple and easy to fix without a lot of cooking, more BBQ stuff.
4. Bring more water toys and wet wear gear.
5. Bring another 10" O2 Cool Fan (had one last year and it was great but need two).
6. Bring a solar shower or two.
7. Bring more cloths pins for hanging up stuff to dry.
8. Never trust Silent Sun, they will nail you with water balloons every time.
So the big purchase for the iliohale this year is a dodger with a full cruiser awning and side shades that we can keep up when we sail/motor. This will keep the cockpit nice and shady and help with the flying water balloons. Otherwise, this additional stuff is pretty simple and cheap.
Gary & Nancy, iliohale

Good call on the bimini top. Was thinking about getting one for our boat. Where are you looking? What about ice? Any notes on where to stop along the way to get ice? I've got my O2 Cool Fan in my wishlist. :-P Thanks for the helpful list!
Erik & Brian Jones, SV Sizzle, 1979 Glastron Spirit 28

And after all of that out for the shallow side of Hog Island. Gary needs to share those dance steps he did with the boom that swung his keel off of the mud! It was impressive.

Erik & Brian - ice was not a problem. Every place we went had ice or it was within a short dinghy ride to get it. I am sure, however, that there are isolated spots where that may not be the case. A good cooler should get you a couple of days of cold beer, I mean drinks. We just liked having cold drinks right in the cockpit and not taking up room in our frig.
Wayne - I wear the delta mud skid mark on the bottom of my keel with pride. They say that if you haven't run aground in the delta, you really haven't experienced it. And once you run aground, doing the delta mud dance is a timeless and honored tradition.
Another tip, and something that we did last year, bring a couple of watermelons. We put the melon in a mesh bag and hung over the side in the water for the entire day. At dinner time it was a great treat to eat cool watermelon, they weren't super cold, but cold enough to be good.
Gary & Nancy, iliohale

We may try dry ice this time. Gary's right; you can get ice just about everywhere - except if you're at anchor in the middle of nowhere. We found that we needed to replenish ice every other day. We have no refrigeration.
What you get/bring will depend on the size of your boat and your tolerance for roughing it. For instance, I could care less about onboard showers or air conditioning. My answer for both is to jump in the water.
Here's more stuff to bring culled from last year's survey:
"Quick-loading water guns. Swim ladder."
"Sailing dinghy. 25 gallon bucket for water fights!"
"We bought: Screening material, tarp for cockpit shade."
"A little clip-on electric fan helped with the heat. We forgot a lot of stuff: next year, a packing list! Also next year: Boogie boards, a sailing dinghy, a dodger for the bash back."
"Biggest purchase was a kayak from West Marine."
"I upgraded my battery monitoring system, we brought a hard sailing dinghy and 2-inflatable kayaks (but only found time to launch one). We followed hard-earned lessons from last year: drink LOTS of water (we always had a jug of package-mixed Gator Aid in the refrigerator), eat regularly even if you're not hungry, remembering to take a cool shower aboard and having an easily-accessible swim ladder for cool-down swims, and keeping ice in the refrigerator."
"I bought a $125 air conditioner. I purchased the unlimited delta drag out for $34 and used it to save $600-800 off Tinsley Isl. Net the openings for next year. Used all the toys especially the water guns. Sun shade is a must."
Christine Weaver, Doodette
Stink Eye, Laser 28

Preferred Anchorages, April 2010
I was wondering what favorite spots people had to drop the hook up-river.
While I had a great time at what became "Broken Rudder Slough" last year, I would like to explore some areas that I have yet to visit. Bruce (from Gitana Vela) and I were studying the chart and saw that Sycamore Slough off the South Mokeulmne, as well as White Slough off of the Little Potato Slough looked like they provided lots of nooks and crannies to duck into. Does anybody have any experience with either of these two areas? Is Little Potato Slough passable? It looks kinda shallow in a few spots.

Our favorite spot from last years trip was Potato Slough, bedroom #2. We spent two nights there and we could have spent the entire week. The spot was great for swimming & kayaking and had enough breeze to keep the bugs away but not too much.
Gary, iliohale

Just a lttle farther up stream is Three river reach which is a good anchorage. There has been a build up of grass in many places in the delta so keep this in mind when setting your anchor. We had to re-set our anchor a couple of times due to grass.
Keith and Dana Jensen, Optimus Prime

Our favorite anchorage is among the big tule islands between False River and Franks Tract. The trees provide shelter from the wind and something to tie a bowline to, and the water is nice to swim in. We have tried numerous other locations, but this one's our favorite by far. The islands are fun to poke around in a dinghy. It's not super close, but from there we have sailed a dinghy or motored an inflatable to Bethel Island Harbor for ice, showers, etc.
Here's a photo of Stink Eye in her favorite spot.
Stink Eye in Franks Tract
©2007 Christine Weaver
Christine Weaver, Doodette
Stink Eye, Laser 28

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