For a change of pace, this weekend I drove up to the Delta to relax this weekend. I was almost converted over to THE DARK SIDE, yes, I confess, I spent the weekend aboard a powerboat. There I’ve said it, I confess. I’ve been told that 3 Hail Mary’s and a Few Our Father’s will cure it but I think that only works for Catholics.
We drove up on Friday night taking some obscure back road which wound over a hill topped with wind turbines. After a number of twists and turns the speed limit dropped to 25 mph for the bridge onto Bethel Island. In a blink of an eye we were beyond the eight shops lining main street and to our residence for the weekend. The house we stayed at could sleep twenty families of immigrants and was just enough for our needs. The house was great but the back deck and boat house were to die for. From the deck, watching the sun set over the Delta is cathartic, cures what ails you. That evening, we spent some time in the boat house worrying the spiders that had set up on the boat. Every one of which was a brown recluse pr sp it seemed as that was the picture which graced the refrigerator. I couldn’t tell but I since no body parts are falling off I think I’m safe.
The wind was blowing at least 15 knots in the morning and never seemed to calm the entire weekend. Temperature peaked below 80F, so instead of being hot we were a bit chilled, at the end of June, wierd.? Motoring up to Mandeville Cut we saw some great pieces of americana:
a couple of wood Garfield 1930’s style race boats,
several big woody Chris Craft motor yachts,
a procession of Grand Banks headed towards Tinsley Island,
a 50 Hatteras sportfish with an enormous tuna tower,
lots of go fast machines both deep V’s and Cats,
ski boats with 2 million watt sound systems,
some 40+ foot sail boats who clearly had no clue how to set an anchor earning 2.0 from the Russian Judge,
an ocean going container ship and
one sea scout destroyer complete with 50 cal machine guns!
We ended up at Mandeville Cut both days along with a couple of hundred other boats who will be there through the forth of July. The story goes that Conrad Hilton developed a piece of property there right at the cut because the river makes a couple of turns which the Cut bisects. From the air it looks like a dollar sign and that’s what old man Hilton respected most in the world. Every year the Hilton’s spend a great deal of money putting on a fireworks show from a barge right off their property and boaters from around California show up for the good times. Well, it might be old news to some of you but until this weekend I was a Delta virgin and had never been exposed to this section of our fair state. At least I don’t have to worry about that anymore.
We spent the day visiting folks and the strangest thing happened. We pull up to a houseboat, which has clearly seen better days, where I met the owner who I later find out has a long connection to CPYC but now lives in the Delta. He’s on the river with his daughter and her husband and like to true boater begins talking about all the things wrong with the houseboat that haven’t quite put the kibosh on their plans to stay a week. The generator has called it quits, and the little gas powered honda back up is acting up, it only wants to run with the choke continuously engaged. One of the heads needs parts but the other is working, with a porta potty as backup. But, like all true boaters the adversity makes us stronger! He made it out this year, his nineteenth, towing his 1975 ski boat that “runs like a champ” but looks like me the day after being OD at the club. I particularly liked his use of a children’s toy, “Hippity Hop”, as low cost fenders. Now that was truly ingenuous way to beat markups on marine gear. They did a great job!
So after a couple hours of sharing food and silly stories he reaches into his wallet and pulls out his Coyote Point Yacht Club membership card. Gil Campbell is a retired member now, the card had a current sticker and even though barely legible I could still read “MEMBER SINCE 1966”! I can only hope to last long enough to consider driving a houseboat to Mandeville Cut for the forth of July, eighteen years from now!
Just one story of many this weekend. Try the Delta you’ll like it! The club’s do-it-yourself Delta Cruise is the end of this month.
– Jim Manishin, Regatta Chair