Delta Doo Dah
Latitude 38

Forum Archive

2013 Forum | 2012 Forum | 2011 Forum | 2010 Forum | 2009 Forum


Photos of Fab 4, August 2012
Check out our photo gallery of Delta Doo Dah Fab 4 at
Many thanks to the contributing photographers!
Does anyone else have pictures, a photo gallery, or video to share?
Christine Weaver, Doodette
Stink Eye, Laser 28

Our photos can be accessed here:
Erik & Brian Jones , SV Sizzle, 1979 Glastron Spirit 28

While the Odyssey and 'iliohale did not participate in this years Doo Dah, we did catch up with some of you in Potato for a few days. Here is a link to a video that Wayne Edney from Odyssey put together of our trip. We were up in the delta the same week as the Doo Dah.
Gary & Nancy, iliohale

On the Radio, July 2012
GEORGIA is anchored with two friends and two other sailboats, in the deep water. Our friends are securely tied off to Fig Island, in the spiders and bugs. We've had some outboard trouble and haven't rowed to visit. We missed the spud gun, the paddleboard event...who knows what parties! In this community, cell phones rule. In ours, it's the Party Line. Who needs ice? What time is the dinghy race? Who can help fix this and the other? I can't wait! While you wait to start the Doo Dah, let me share a few VHF conversations Ben and I heard on the way Up River:
Mel, what channel you on?
"This is the US Coast Guard. Channel 16 is reserved for hailing and emergency communications only. Please switch to another channel."
"Mel, you on the radio?"
Mirage, Mirage. Double Dharma? Double Dharma, Mirage? Let's go to 68.
Gotta love Mel!

Anchoring Techniques, June 2012
The following is from the U.S. Power Squadron (applies to sailboats too).
Launched last summer, USPS’ Practical on the Water Training seminar covers basic boating concepts, including docking, going forward, reversing and anchoring. The following procedure for setting an anchor under power applies to both power- and sailboats.
Head into the wind or current, whichever is stronger.
Bring the boat to a dead stop.
As the boat begins to gather sternway, ease the anchor to the bottom, either hand over hand or with the windlass. Do not just let the rode run out uncontrolled.
Apply a touch of reverse throttle to get the boat moving astern. If it’s windy, this won’t be necessary.
Pay out the rode as the boat drifts back, keeping a slight tension on the rode so it forms a line across the seabed. The boat will probably lie broadside to the wind.
When you have paid out half your intended scope, snub the rode until you feel resistance from the anchor and continue easing out the rode.
Keeping tension on the rode, pay out another quarter of the scope and momentarily snub the rode again.
With the boat still moving astern, secure the anchor rode when the desired scope has been paid out. The boat’s weight should dig in the anchor solidly; the anchor rode will rise out of the water in a straight line.
To ensure the anchor is dug in well, back down with the engine at half throttle for 30 seconds. The boat should move forward on the rode when you ease the throttle.
If you don’t get your anchor to set the first time, try again. If it still won’t set, try another spot.
Avoid these common anchoring mistakes:
letting the chain pile on top of the anchor,
releasing the anchor while the boat is still moving forward,
moving astern so quickly that the anchor doesn’t have a chance to dig in,
anchoring too close to other boats, and the most common mistake,
failing to let out enough scope.
(Except for the dredged shipping channels, the Delta is shallow; you shouldn't have any trouble letting out enough scope.)
Register for a Practical on the Water Training seminar near you at
Christine Weaver, Doodette
Stink Eye, Laser 28

Good article Christine. Thanks for posting. Delta veterans know that at times it's good to have a stern anchor as well. There are areas where you might want to put your bow towards the shore and tie to a tree to get out of the wind. In these cases it's good to drop a stern anchor while heading towards shore. Let the rode pay out while the crew concentrates on securing a bow line to a tree on shore. Once secure at the bow haul in on the stern anchor until it's set and make the rode fast to a cleat. This will hold the boat perpendicular to the shoreline. Keep in mind not to get the stern anchor rode in the prop. If it doesn't set some one can take it back out with a dinghy and then winch the boat back off the shore. Don't forget to bring some kind of bouy to mark your stern anchor rode so other boats don't get caught in it. Almost anything works for a marker. The least imaginative setup I've seen was a fender. Functional but didn't compare to 5' tall inflatable Corona bottle I saw a number of years ago.

Thanks for the good Delta anchoring advice, Ardea! It's not required, but we recommend carrying two anchors in the Delta. We have a lightweight lunch hook/racing hook, plus a heavier one, both Danforths, with plenty of chain. We also use the long bow line to the tree method. If we don't have our dinghy inflated yet, Jonathan will use our horseshoe buoy to swim an anchor out away from the boat.
Christine Weaver, Doodette
Stink Eye, Laser 28

Here in the First Bedroom, watching newcomers to the community is part of the daily entertainment. That's because the slough and the growth changes from year to year. We looked like all the rest when we arrived. Followed the southern levee (learned the hard way) and turned to the trees, too soon. What we thought to be 7' was now only 3' . Then we dropped the hook at what we deemed a good distance off the reedy islet. Nope! Hidden grasses came way out. Try, try again! We did it, and have been happily here for two weeks. Friends have come and gone. But patience was required! We aren't going for the trees: the winds bring with them spiders, and the grasses mean the breeze comes later. Other places we might...
GEORGIA Custom Van de Stadt 41'

What to tow behind our dingy for fun? June 2012
We are excited for the trip. We have some kids (and adults that like to act like kids) with us and we want to tow something behind our under powered 6HP west marine wood floor sport boat. I have an old surfboard. Any other great suggestions?

How about an innertube? Assuming you can't get going really fast, a boogie board? You can get cheap versions of each at Big Five or other sporting goods stores.
Christine Weaver, Doodette
Stink Eye, Laser 28

First, don't tow anything EXCEPT your dinghy if you can stow toys on deck! Drag, drag, drag.
SUP (thanks, Hana!)...
Floaty chair. I have the one with the hard bottom and can stand on the seat to get back on my boat.
El Toro, Laser...sailing dinghy.

We have towed kids/adults on SUPs behind our inflatable with a 6HP OB to much glee.
Gary & Nancy, iliohale

Oh! And those kayaks! So many birds, otters, muskrats, and so on in the reeds!
GEORGIA Custom Van de Stadt 41'

Sunday NIght Free Night, June 2012
Despite our best efforts to find a marina that could take all 53 of us on Sunday night, we've struck out. So July 29 will be a 'free night', meaning that we won't all be the same place together. Some options: anchor out along the way, find a slip at a marina, or go to Sugar Barge early.
Marinas along the way include Glen Cove, Martinez, Benicia, Pittsburg, Antioch, and Lauritzen. They all have guest slips at reasonable prices, but you'd be on your own to make a reservation and pay their usual fee.
It's Stink Eye's intention to anchor out on the north side of Frank's Tract. Our flagship, Gazelle, will pick another anchorage, still being discussed. You're welcome to join either of us, and we'll discuss this more at the Skippers Meeting.
Anyone else have any favorite spots to recommend?
Christine Weaver, Doodette
Stink Eye, Laser 28

What do you or others know about either the backside of Decker Island, or the waters at Brannan Island for anchoring out? From the parks web page, it looks like Brannan SRA will maintain reduced hours of operation until Aug 1, when it gets taken over and run closer to full operation. The reduced hours before the first, apparently includes a few shore-side amenities open on the weekend.
Jeff, s/v ANNIE

Kind of a fun anchorage which will hold lots of boats (probably not 53) has a small beach and is kind of on the way is the south (?) highway 160 side of Decker Island off of the Sacramento River, here (you may have to post it in your browser) is a link:
From there we could line up and go under the bridge at Three Mile Slough and Frank's Track is not far away. Just a thought as there are 100s of places to drop a hook in the Delta.
Jim & Betty Adams, S/V Flibbertigibbet

Annie and Flibbertigibbet: I have not personally anchored behind Decker Island, but I know that LaDonna and Rob have been there many times, and really like it. We were concerned about the bridge opening for 53 boats, but a smaller group should be no problem.
Christine Weaver, Doodette
Stink Eye, Laser 28

Top 5 tips for newbies heading to the delta, June 2012
What are the best 5 suggestions from delta veterans for things to bring / prepare the boat that are specific to the Delta beyond the details in the delta primer from June 2009?
Okay, here's 5:
1. It's a no-brainer that you'll need ways to stay cool and protect yourself from too much sun, but you might be surprised at how cold you can get during a trip to the Delta, even in midsummer. And I'm not just talking about the bash back, for which you'll (almost) certainly need foulies. So bring warm clothes for those evening parties outdoors.
2. Even if you have a big comfy 'furniture' boat with lots of amenities, be prepared to rough it. You really don't have to hook up to shorepower every night to have a good time. Trying living "off the grid" for a couple of days or more.
3. For water fights, bring squirt guns, water cannons, and even buckets, but save the water balloons for your own backyard, where you can easily pick up your fallen soldiers. Water balloons don't biodegrade fast enough, especially on the water – birds and other wildlife will try to eat them.
4. Bring two anchors. This relates to #2, and you'll sleep better.
5. The Delta is not the untamed wilderness. You can easily find ice each day, convenience stores, pump-outs, and fuel. But before you depend on a fuel dock being open, give them a call to confirm. And don't expect full-service supermarkets within walking distance of small town guest docks, marinas and anchorages. They're way over by the freeway.
Christine Weaver, Doodette
Stink Eye, Laser 28

I'll add:
Sunscreen and skeeter repellent.
Screens for your hatches and port lights.
A good sun shade. Canvas over the boom with some rope or bungies works.
Some kind of chart/fising map to navigate. Your chart plotter may not do 100% of the time.
If you aren't sportin' refrigeration we've found that a chunk of dry ice in addition to that block of water ice in your ice box will give you a couple extra days before needing more ice. And start with all meat frozen. If you're a vegetarian don't freeze the broccoli.
I'm bring the same scurvy crew with their super soakers again this year so some way of defending yourself is a good idea. :)
Jim, Tartan 37 Ardea

Here's a couple more:
I mentioned those cute little towns in my previous reply. You'll want some walking shoes other than flip-flops and sea boots to stroll around them in, and on dusty levee roads. After time spent onboard, it's nice to get off the boat and stretch your legs, and you may need to walk a few blocks to get to your desired library, marine store, market, restaurant, etc.
You definitely need a good chart (and a depthsounder if at all possible), but beware of silting not shown on the charts, especially around points of land.
Christine Weaver, Doodette
Stink Eye, Laser 28

Make sure your holding tank and waste system are in good working order and you know how to gage the waste level. Having fans available below can really help if the weather is hot (no breeze) and the skeeters are out. I love my Sky Chair! Bring a good attitude and be sure to relax.
Gary & Nancy, iliohale

Kids and the Delta Doo Dah, February 2012
I had a quick question for others that have more experience with the Delta Doo Dah. I have read all the great stories over the years about the Doo Dah and we are thinking about trying to make it work this year but wondering whether there are a lot of kids on the trip. We have a 8, 6, 5 year old. We took them to the Sea of Cortez this past spring and they loved it. Just hard to know whether the Doo Dah is a good fit for kids at their age etc. Any thoughts of advice would be great. We know we will come – just don’t know which summer is right etc. We would love to meet up with more local based cruising families. Thanks!
Ryan, Samayama, Catalina 34, SBH

If your kids enjoy living on the boat for a week at a time they will enjoy the Do Dah. There are kids of all ages. Hard to miss when you mix kids with water. In the past there have been very young kids on the Do Dah, teenage kids and old kids like me. They will have a ball! Pack 'em up and take 'em up river!
Jim, Ardea

We have been on the first 3 Doo Dah's and I can tell you for a fact that it is a great event for kids and they will have a total blast. Every year there have been a group of kids participating and every year both the parents and the kids have provided wonderful feedback to me on the experience. Many have come back to do it again the following year. I will bet you that your entire family will have a wonderful time.
Gary & Nancy, iliohale

2013 Forum | 2012 Forum | 2011 Forum | 2010 Forum | 2009 Forum

Delta Doo Dah logo
The latest sacramento river-isleton weather

Produced by Latitude 38, the West's Premier Sailing & Marine Magazine. Click here for a list of distributors.
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media, LLC. All rights reserved.