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Thread: What I Saw

  1. #181
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    Sep 2007
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    San Francisco Bay Area
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    1,592

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    I've never been to Owl Harbor, but they have baby owls!

    I'm down with it.
    S-2 7.9: "Wildcat of Loch Awe"
    1968 Selmer Series 9 B-flat and A clarinets
    1962Buesher "Aristocrat" tenor saxophone
    Piper One Design 24, Hull #35; "Alpha"

  2. #182
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    Jan 2010
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    Thursday May 8, 2020

    This week's unrace on the San Joaquin River had five boats chasing each other around. Four singlehanded boats left the dock @ 4 pm and we returned just as the sun was setting across the alfalfa fields. Another Delta sunset.

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    The wind wasn't so strong this week, none of us reefed, and one fella even switched his jib out for a really big one. The sails on Up Delta boats aren't fancy racing sails. In fact, they're kinda soft looking. Not very crisp, not fancy black ones made from high tech materials.

    After the unrace I walked over to H Dock to thank the leaders for their hospitality. How did they choose the perfect course (again) that would offer wind the entire time, and a return to harbor before the sun set?

    "Well, we can either turn right or left," said Randy of the Newport 28. That didn't really answer the question, but the Delta has indirect qualities.

    Sailors around here know courses by the channel markers, not by landmarks. Did he remember where we turned around? He considered for a moment, counting to himself:

    "Marker 57, 58," he said.

    When I looked at the chart later I saw that we had sailed just past what on the chart is called Prisoners Point, turning between, yep, channel markers 57 and 58.

    Indelicately I asked about the sails on Randy's boat: "How old is your mainsail?"

    He looked over at Mark on his Nonesuch 30.

    R: "When did I buy this boat from you?"

    M: "You bought it from me six years ago. But I bought it in 2004 with those sails."

    R: "Isn't this mainsail great? It has full battens and still has its shape."

    M: "That IS still a great mainsail. Given its age."

    They grinned like goofs. UpDelta sailors are happy with the boats they got.

    It was another lovely night. Tshirt weather from start to finish, and then a scramble to put up the bug screen once back at the dock as night fell.

    I learned about Seven Mile Slough unrace etiquette last week, and the intricacies of civil sailing society. Everybody lets the Newport 30 lead the way from Seven Mile Slough into the River. For some reason it has a bulb keel, and that keel carves a path through the choking grasses for the rest of us.

    Once you get through the entrance it's a good idea to reverse and go forward a couple of times in order to shake off as much foliage as you can. What kind of foliage? I have no idea. It grows in the water, fakes out the depth finder. Sometimes it reads 9', then 3'. It's a surprise and adventure every time you leave and return to the Slough.

    When we're all on the River we raise our sails. I followed a new yellow hull as it sailed downriver/upwind. After a bit the fella turned around and headed back, drifting close to Dura Mater in the flood. I called out:

    "Are you going back in?" He was right next to us.

    "No. There's another boat coming out. I'm waiting." He smiled.

    So there was. The fifth boat emerged from Seven Mile Slough and etiquette required everyone to wait until its sails were raised. Alrighty, then.

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    Then we were off, down river and upwind until the wind clocked around 180 degrees and we turned one by one to head the other way. Toward Stockton. Which is up river. Yeah. That Up River/Down River business is a little confusing for the first four years.

    At the end of the race everybody circles around until all boats have taken their sails down and are ready to return to port. Mark explained that they all do it as a courtesy: No boat left behind.

  3. #183
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    2,391

    Default Delta Itinerary

    This week in the Delta is forecast to be sunny and not too very hot. The Mokulemne River Bridge has been closed and the Three Mile Bridge has been out of commission, too. Because of this, the only way over to the Sacramento from Owl Harbor has required a trip back down the San Joaquin and around Sherman Island. DM does not like backtracking.

    Her mission now that the Mokulemne River Bridge has reopened? Miner Slough.

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    Yeah. So out of Owl Harbor we go: along the San Joaquin to the Mokulemne, turn to port at Georgiana Slough, stop off for diesel at OxBow Marina, then sashay over to Latitude 38's Delta Bureau. After that, it's back up Georgiana again, going under the Tyler Island Bridge, then the Georgiana Slough Bridge, then anywhere our little hearts desire, to the final frontier of the year: Miner Slough.

    I've asked around: Has anyone sailed Miner Slough? Bill Wells says it is 10 - 15' deep. Jim Quanci says that his fancy dancy satellite images show 4-5' depth. Rob shook his head sorrowfully. Everyone I've asked has encouraged me to go: "Yeah! Let us know how your trip goes!"

    Phil Delano is proprietor of Boat US and I have a gold towing membership. I called him up and asked if Miner Slough is deep enough for a sailboat. He said he doesn't remember any sailboats ever going up there, but that one of his boats will come collect us if we need to be recovered. Which is good to know. I think.
    Last edited by Philpott; 05-17-2020 at 02:27 PM.

  4. #184
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    Jan 2010
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    Default The Delta is open for business

    Dura Mater has been up here since Easter Sunday and is slowly winding her way back to Richmond.

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    The Delta is open for business.

    Chatting on the outdoor patio at Tony’s (Walnut Grove) yesterday (while waiting for my delicious takeout steaksandwich) I learned that everybody up here got sick back in January/February, for two days (young woman who works at the Dodge dealership, just got called back to start again today, maybe sell some Rams over Memorial Day weekend?) up to several weeks (older farmer: “married 45 years”). Tony’s is open for dinner again tonight and the bartender/proprietor (“Cary, like Cary Grant”) is very happy about it.

    I might come back up again later this summer. It’s awfully nice up here. Bring your water toys.

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    Last edited by Philpott; 05-22-2020 at 09:03 AM.

  5. #185
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    Jan 2010
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    Skip, so glad you continue to post here. Where is everybody? I thought I would return to a sailing bay area, but instead I return to a world of improved boats and people still engrossed in boat projects. Surely this will change soon?

    In the meantime:

    5.20.20

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    Denise Abbott works at Oxbow Marina, and made me feel particularly welcome while I was there. She came down to Dura Mater to see me off, which was nice of her. Denise moved to the Delta from Maryland a year ago with her fiance. They live in Lathrop, which is south of Stockton. The commute takes her about 35 minutes. She is really enjoying working on the water, especially here. In Maryland there are long hot summers and long cold winters and Denise likes it better here.

    We talked while Dura Mater was still tied to the Oxbow Marina dock and Denise stood dockside as I was tying down DM's first reef. The mainsheet came un-cleated and the boom came across toward Denise's head. She ducked instantly and laughed. She told me that she had learned how to duck a boom on her grandfather's boat. What boat? I asked. And I wished afterward that I had turned on my tape recorder because Denise Abbott tells a very nice story.

    She told me that her earliest memories were of sailing on her grandfather's skipjack, a sailboat. I thought that was a phrase for people who sneak away before their court date arrives, losing their bail money. She laughed, and without making me feel particularly stupid, explained that a skipjack is a type of sailboat, a traditional fishing boat with an impressive heritage.

    Her grandfather owned a skipjack named the Thomas Clyde that he sailed out of Deal Island, Maryland. As a young child some of Denise’s earliest memories were of being taken along while the boat raced against other skipjacks on the Chesapeake Bay. Her grandfather impressed upon her the importance of ducking the boom when it came across during a race. Denise was so young on the Thomas Clyde that at first she was told to stay below during the races.

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    Her grandfather's name was Charles Abbott Senior, and his business was Island Seafood on Deal Island. There are still skipjack races on the Chesapeake every Labor Day. Denise told me that her family no longer owns the Thomas Clyde, but it is maintained in beautiful condition by the new owner.

    Denise suggested that I might look up the history of skipjack boats, because they have an interesting history. So I did.

    http://lastskipjacks.com/boats/thomasclyde.html

    The skipjack is a traditional fishing boat used on the Chesapeake Bay for oyster dredging. It is a sloop-rigged boat, and typically 40-50 feet long. I'm sure that Skip will know all about the skipjack. I will leave it to him to tell us more, because he's probably raced on at least one with friends. Just for fun.
    Last edited by Philpott; 05-28-2020 at 12:29 PM.

  6. #186
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    Sep 2007
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    San Francisco Bay Area
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    Denise is right...how wonderful!
    S-2 7.9: "Wildcat of Loch Awe"
    1968 Selmer Series 9 B-flat and A clarinets
    1962Buesher "Aristocrat" tenor saxophone
    Piper One Design 24, Hull #35; "Alpha"

  7. #187
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    Sep 2007
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    Are those 3Di sails?

    I built a model of a skipjack a *few* years ago but had forgotten about them. This is great!

  8. #188
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    Jan 2010
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobJ View Post
    Are those 3Di sails? I built a model of a skipjack a *few* years ago but had forgotten about them. This is great!
    Who knew that such an esoteric post would bring out the inner nine year old? We here at the What I Saw thread aim to please.

  9. #189
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    Sep 2007
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    That's in the ball park. I might have been a year or two older.

    Now that's what they call a "sprit boat."

  10. #190
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Saratoga
    Posts
    164

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    I love the economy of the three reef headsail.
    The Sea is my Church; the Boat is my Pew.

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