Delta Rat Scrapbook – by Bill Wells

Delta Rat Scrapbook

A Dora Blu

I met Leo & Carlice Aarens who live in the Netherlands through Per and Ericka Hammarlund on social media. You will remember that Per and Ericka own the classic 1931 Stephens yacht Allure and shipped her to Sweden when they relocated there last summer. Leo & Carlice have the beautiful(!) 43-foot Stephens yacht A Dora Blu. She was launched at the Stephens yard in Stockton in 1933 as Armador hull number 593. She was also seized by the Navy and used as a yard patrol boat in San Francisco Bay. She was Yard Patrol vessel YP 135. She is something to see; I am confident she is beyond Bristol condition. The vessel is for sale if you are looking to cruise Europe anytime soon. You could cruise for a summer and ship her back to the U.S. and cruise the eastern seaboard. She is listed with De Valk Yacht Brokers with offices all over Europe.

A Dora Blu. Photo courtesy of Kees Stuip.
A coal stove takes the chill out of the air aboard Dora. Photo courtesy of Leo Aarens.

Ryde Hotel

We had a great party at the Ryde Hotel. I am happy to report that the hotel survived the recent storms and is open for business. The Delta Chambers held a recent mixer there and about 60 folks attended. We had a fabulous time, and after all the storms the ride down the river road watching the sunset was beautiful. The staff went all out with beautiful décor and some great snacks featuring sliders and other delicacies. I love the Ryde, and wish it was open every day. When you sit at the bar you are taken back to the era of the 1930s and feel like you are in a Noir movie.

Delta luminaries at the Ryde Hotel mixer. Photo courtesy of Morris Lum.

I spoke with Raef Goorwitch at the hotel. He says they have some great plans to make some positive upgrades to the building that will be in keeping with the Art Deco look but honor some modern local people. Be sure to drop in and check it out. The hotel is a good place to stay too; Sue and I have stayed there a few times and find it charming. The brunch is great too.

Water War Update

The Newsom administration represented by Resources Director Wade Crowfoot and Department of Water Resources (DWR) Director Karla Nemeth has launched its spring offensive against the Delta and its people. The Atmospheric River storms have been relentless so far in 2023. The DWR says that the late 2022 and early 2023 storms dumped 32 trillion gallons of precipitation on California. Newsom proposes diverting an extra 300,000-acre feet of water from flowing through the rivers to the sea. The nonprofit organization Save California Salmon is urging people to sign an online petition – Newsom: Respect Tribal Rights & Fish, Rescind Executive Order Suspending Laws ( “This will impact clean water, endangered fish and toxic algae throughout California’s largest estuary and watersheds.”

Karla Nemeth and Ernest Conant, Regional Director of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, said that lifting the flow requirements was unlikely to harm Delta fish. I guess we will see. According to the Pacific Fishery Management Council under the 2022 regulations, the projected spawning escapement in the Sacramento River Basin was 198,694 hatchery and natural area fall Chinook adults. A total of 61,850 hatchery and natural area adult spawners were estimated to have returned to the Sacramento River Basin in 2022 (a return of about 31 percent of what was expected.)

Representative Josh Harder has reintroduced his Stop the Delta Tunnels Act, a bill that would stop the Army Corps of Engineers from issuing a federal permit necessary for the State of California to build the Delta Conveyance Project. The proposed 45-mile-long tunnel, currently being pushed by Newsom’s Administration, would divert much of the water from the Sacramento River around the California Delta and then ship it south to help irrigate the desert and supply Southern California water agencies like Metropolitan Water District.

Harder says, “The Delta Tunnel would be a disaster for our community, a sixteen-billion-dollar boondoggle (editor’s note: many experts say the boondoggle will cost 55 to 75 billion dollars) that would poison our farms, ship our water down to Los Angeles and Beverly Hills and not do a single thing to help our community. We’re doing everything we can to fix it.” Harder’s bill is one page and very simple – stop the tunnel. Representatives John Garamendi, Mike Thompson and Mark DeSaulnier are all co-sponsoring the bill.

People frequently ask why, if the tunnel boondoggle is so bad why do so many people support the idea. If you investigate you will see that the supporters are people that stand to make a lot of money or currently make a lot of money. Kathryn Mallon who they brought in from New York was making more than the governor and didn’t even have a driver’s license. DWR Director Karla Nemeth raked in $273,828.03 in total compensation from California taxpayers in 2022. This is a $6,767.00 increase over her 2021 compensation and considerably more than the $148,845.59 she made working for Metropolitan Water District in 2014. Have you received a pay raise in your job lately? Anyway, you get the idea, there is a lot of money to be made exporting Delta water.

Events For 2023

Boating season has arrived and it is shaping up to be spectacular. Businesses are pretty much back to normal after the COVID crisis, there is plenty of water flowing down the rivers and a good snowpack to last us through the summer. The Stockton Opening Day in the Delta parade is on April 15. San Joaquin Yacht Club’s Opening Day is April 22. The theme is “Board Games.” There are cash prizes for decorated boats.

Get a registration form and rules at the San Joaquin Yacht Club. There will be a live band and dancing from 1500 hours to 1900 hours. Dinner & awards will be at 1700 hours.

All floating crafts are welcome including classics, small craft, PWC’s & dinghies.

For more information contact Vice Commodore Sherry Hoctor at or 925-766-0690. The parade starts at San Joaquin Yacht Club at 1200 hours. Boats cruise clockwise around the island to return to SJYC by 1500 hours.

Sacramento Yacht Club’s opening day is May 7. The Ebony Boat Club (EBC) cordially invites you to cruise into their downtown Stockton clubhouse via sea or land to one or more of their 2023 events. Jazz & Wine Festival Weekend (Sip & Sip Some More) is July 21-23. Western Night Weekend (Howdy Partner) is August 11-13. White Party Weekend (Send A Scholar to College) is October 20-22. All events will be held at the EBC Clubhouse located in the Downtown Stockton Marina at 705 West Weber Avenue. Start the weekend off with dinner Friday, main event on Saturday with a fabulous meal. Then end the weekend on Sunday with EBC’s signature breakfast. So, grab your dancing shoes and bring your appetite for food, frolic and fun!

PICYA Opening Day On The Bay

Do not miss this iconic event in San Francisco Bay on April 30. There will be at least 100 boats parading along the San Francisco City front. The day starts at 1000 hours with the blessing of the fleet offshore from the Corinthian Yacht Club. The “God Squad” will be aboard Gerry and Karen Kamilo’s beautiful Trumpy yacht Aurora V anchored near the club. The theme for decorated boats this year is “Broadway on the Bay.” You can interpret that any way you want. This will be the 60th anniversary of the blessing of the fleet. You can register at

St. Francis Yacht Club members aboard Miss 102 on a previous opening day.

Asian Pacific Spring Festival

Don’t miss the Locke Asian Pacific Spring Festival at 13916 Main St. Walnut Grove on May 13. The event will last from 1100 hours to 1700 hours. This is a gala event featuring lion dance, martial arts, cultural entertainment, arts & crafts, vendor booths, food and raffle prizes. Come and visit the only surviving rural Chinese town in the U.S. There is free admission and free parking, sponsored by the Locke Foundation or 916-776-1684.

Stockton Flavor Fest

The City of Stockton is bringing back downtown Stockton’s largest family festival.  Stockton Flavor Fest will be held May 19-21 at the Weber Point Events Center, and is a celebration of the food, music and cultures that make up the diverse communities in Stockton. In 2022, the Stockton Flavor Fest was honored with the Best New Festival Award by the International Festival & Event Association.

The late Ron Malmquist at a previous opening day at Stockton Yacht Club.

Highlights of the Stockton Flavor Festival include: regional cuisine, food trucks, local makers and merchants highlighting the creative diversity and global food offerings available in the Stockton area. The three days of entertainment programming includes strolling cultural performances, singer-songwriters at the Craft Beverage Experience Tent and over 20 musical performances on the main stage. Free family entertainment will include a STEM focused family activity tent, free arts workshops and live art demonstrations.

Exclusive events including Sunday’s Drag Brunch (in partnership with the Pride Center) and daily cooking demonstrations. Taste the region’s finest libations in the Craft Beverage Experience Tent. Enjoy Stockton’s greenest festival with a commitment to sustainability including the use of earth-friendly, compostable cutlery and serveware, zero single-use plastic and clean energy. This is a 100 percent non-profit festival created by a non-profit with proceeds helping local non-profit organizations.

Dock your boat at the Stockton Marina, just a short walk to the festival entrance and take advantage of the special Flavor Fest offer. Boat dock guests will receive two complimentary festival tickets for dock day use and four complimentary festival tickets for overnight guests. Space must be reserved by May 12. Call 209-462-4200 to reserve your spot.

Taste Of The Delta

The annual Taste of the Delta will be held on August 5. It will be at Windmill Cove. We have had it there in the past and it is a great venue with plenty of moorings for boats. This will be the 20th time the Delta Chambers has held the event. There was a two-year hiatus because of the pandemic. You can expect local Delta wineries, breweries, restaurants and food vendors to offer samples of their fare. Naturally, there will be live music and an auction featuring many luxuries that you can’t live without.

Performers at a previous Locke Festival.

The Taste of the Delta is an excellent opportunity for restaurants and beverage companies to make the public more aware of their products. For the attendees it is a great chance to sample about 30+ local foods and wines in one place. Otherwise, you would spend a few days wine tasting and visiting eating establishments to sample so many places.

Crowd at a previous Taste of the Delta at Windmill Cove.

There is plenty of dock space at Windmill Cove for runabouts and cruisers. Larger, deeper draft boats should plan on mooring at other local marinas such as Village West, Riverpoint Landing or Downtown Stockton and their crew coming in by shore boat. Check the Taste of the Delta Facebook page and website for updates.

Custom cars at the Taste of the Delta.

Stephens Yacht Rendezvous

The party is definitely on for the weekend of September 15-17 at Village West Marina and Resort. It will be a spectacular event with boats coming in from all over Northern California and people coming from all over the U.S. September 15 is Dick Stephens birthday; we were lucky a few years back to celebrate his birthday when he was still with us. There will be classic Stephens yachts at the marina guest docks and plenty of skippers and crews to answer questions. Rusty Areias will have some of his fleet there and I am confident we will have a parade up the channel into downtown Stockton passing by 5 Star Marina, the original home of Stephens Brothers Boatbuilders.

Stephens yachts at Village West Marina & Resort.
Lavendero – a rare Stephens houseboat.

More Winter Survival News

The Sacramento Yacht Club reports that the power went out at the clubhouse during their gala New Year’s Eve Party. Several shipmates broke out portable gensets and brought the lights back on. The galley crew headed by Joe Merz was able to finish and serve the dinner. We hear it was exceptional. The evening went on with little interruption and included a champagne toast when the clock struck 2400 hours.


Sue and I attended a yacht club symposium at Bridge Marina Yacht Club on February 19. I had not been there for a while. If you remember a few years back a barge hit it and knocked it partially off its pilings. It has been totally repaired and is better than it was prior to the accident. They even have a pool table room now.

Symposium at Bridge Marina Yacht Club.

Representatives of several local yacht clubs attended and held a lively discussion, approximately 24 East Bay boaters representing 14 yacht/boating clubs met at Bridge Marina Yacht Club in Antioch, California, thanks to Jim Azeltine for arranging the venue. Bob Pearce moderated the meeting. The Symposium’s focus was on the challenges facing yacht/boat clubs in our current boating environment. As the challenges were discussed, reoccurring themes emerged. Most clubs are facing similar situations such as declining memberships, lack of people willing to fill board positions and high costs of everything, especially parts and fuel. I have pondered this and I think we need to come up with a Delta wide festival that will attract people from all over and encourage people to cruise to other clubs and marinas. I tried to work with one of the state agencies several years back to create a pirate festival but they were not interested.

California Carver Club Change Of Watch

I told you I would visit the new restaurant Whisky Tango Foxtrot at Driftwood Marina. Sue and I attended the Carver Club change of watch there in late February. The restaurant has been open for about a year in the building that used to house the Driftwood Yacht Club at 6346 Bridgehead Road in Oakley. Well, I am happy to report the food is great and well worth a visit. For the Carver Club event we had a buffet dinner with potatoes, rice, mixed vegetables and chicken or beef. It was outstanding; for dessert there was a selection of pastries and cookies. The servers did a great job. Nancy and Megan made sure no one’s glass was empty for long. We were in a separate room so we did not interfere with the regular patrons. The regular menu has something for everyone; you can get anything from a BLT to a 14-ounce Ribeye steak, chicken and seafood included too. The alcoholic beverage menu is a full page with a large selection of distilled beverages with beer and wine naturally. Try the 24-ounce draft beer.

Carver Club members with the Harter award they win (almost) every year.

We had a great time with the Carver Club folks. Elaine Landro called the meeting to order, welcomed everyone and introduced the guests. Judy Brandle gave the invocation and Richard Hardy led the salute to the flag. This was followed by Jim & Marsha Beaty presenting the year 2022 in review and then the treasurers report by Meri Dobbs.

Past Commodore John Haffner conducted the installation of officers for 2023. Elaine Landro is Commodore, Richard Hardy is Vice Commodore, Marlon Brandle is Rear Commodore, Judi Brandle is Fleet Captain and Secretary/Treasurer is Meri Dobbs.

Elaine gives Joan Yachtsman of the Year award.

Elaine presented Joan Marsh with the club’s Yachtsman of the Year award. Joan is a wonderful person and involved in everything boating in Northern California.

“The California Carver Club is an on-the-water ‘paper’ boating club dedicated to the cruising and enjoyment of boating on the waterways of the Sacramento – San Joaquin Delta and the San Francisco Bay. We enjoy five cruise-outs a year: Change of Watch, Prop Banger, Mystery Cruise, Hot Summer Nights and the Autumn Solstice. Cruise directors choose the themes and destinations. We are a club designed for the enjoyment of cruising, conversation and camaraderie; A Paper Club (no workdays); A PICYA Member and IOBG recognized. We are low key and low stress. We are the happiest, friendliest and most relaxed Club on the Delta!” The by-laws have been recently changed so now you not only do not need to own a Carver yacht to join, you do not need to own a boat.”

Megan keeping things under control.

Pacific Coast Water Rescue (PCWR)

John Garza checks in from the Azul Network. “PCWR Captains on Call on February 20 became the proud owners of a former USCG MLB 44 Lifeboat. The MLB 44409 will be used for teaching State Fire Training (SFT) Open Water Rescue Boat Operator-Large Vessel classes out of Discovery Bay, Sacramento River and Central San Francisco Bay.

The Vessel will be named in honor of Fremont Fire Chief James Scott Martin as he was a role model for the Fire Service. Chief Martin was an excellent swimmer, swift water rescue technician and San Jose State Water Polo Team member. Check out to see more info on these historic vessels or come to the Discovery Bay Marina for a tour or cruise.” You can contact them at or by caling 925-337-2294.

PCWR was formed in 2012 as a result of cuts to the budgets of Discovery Bay and South Delta Area Water Rescue Vessels. In that same year we met with Local Fire, Sheriff and USCG Rio Vista personnel to form the Pacific Coast Water Rescue Team. Our goal was simply to provide water safety teams to events in Discovery Bay and as needed on the greater Delta and to provide boater training and education. Since Summer 2012 and for an 11th summer boating season we have had over 30 volunteers help to cover over 150 events all around the Delta. Our members have mostly been off duty fire, law enforcement, military personnel and college students becoming public safety employees. John has to be one of the busiest people in the region. I hear from him a few times a week and it is always about some new equipment he is getting or a new relationship he is building. I have been with him and his group a few times on their training missions. They are amazing and it is refreshing to see their level of professionalism.

Eight Bells

Bob Hake has crossed over the bar. Bob was the father of Blair and Chris Hake and was a well-known and popular Stockton businessman. We should all have his energy. In his 90s he would attend many Delta events and parties with his beautiful spouse Betty. Blair shared this excellent biography with us.

“It is with great sadness that we share the passing of our father, Robert (Bob) C. Hake. He lived a full life, centered around his family and his community.

Betty and Bob Hake.

“Born in Galt, CA and raised in Oakland where he used our Uncle Don Nelson’s address so he could attend Alameda High School. Dad and our Uncle Don Hake worked in the family’s liquor store, Schirmer’s Liquor & Delicatessen where they learned an appreciation for fine liquor. Dad also worked in Yosemite Valley & Dodge Ridge during this time, but we were never sure how much work got done as there were many stories of the good times he and our uncle, Don Nelson had in the Valley. He enlisted in the Navy and at the age of 20 had a heart attack while in the boxing ring. He was told he should get his affairs in order but proved that doctors aren’t always right and lived almost to the age of 98! He then became a professional student receiving many degrees from various colleges over the years. Of these, he was most proud of his degree from Cal Berkeley.

“Coming back to the Bay Area he worked at the San Francisco Ordinance District where he met our mom, Betty in 1953. They were married in 1955 in St. Dominic’s Catholic Church in Benicia.

“Among others, Dad worked for Henry Kaiser, Arthur Anderson Co. and Mount Zion Hospital before moving on to Harter Packing company in Yuba City. During that time in Oakland, Danville and Mill Valley, Chris, our sister Kathy (deceased 1987), and Blair were born at Merritt Hospital in Oakland. Many vacations in the 60’s and early 70’s was spent up at our grandmother’s ranch on Shimmins Ridge in Willits, especially right after Thanksgiving when we would go to the ranch to cut down our Christmas Tree. We also have fond memories of our many camping trips, especially our annual camping trip with family and friends to Morro Bay every Easter.

“In 1969, Tillie Lewis called and asked Dad to be Comptroller of Tillie Lewis Foods here in Stockton. Realizing he wouldn’t have summers off to be with his family, Mom and Dad bought the house on Lake Lincoln. The home became a place for entertaining friends and family to this day. Whatever we were doing, we always made time for the Sunday night dinners. A chance for the family (and numerous friends to gather and catch up on our lives and whatever topic one wished to discuss! Dad was very involved in the community, having been the Founding President of the Dameron Hospital Foundation and past president of the Stockton Rotary Club.

“After Tillie Lewis Foods was sold, he stayed in the community working for Stockton Scavenger and Sunrise Sanitation. He then again went back to school and obtained his Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation and started his own branch of Investors Diversified Services (IDS) which eventually became Ameriprise Financial. After “retiring” he bought Stockton Propeller which he sold at the age of 94!

“He is survived by his wife of over 67 years, Betty, his sons, Chris and Blair, daughters-in-law Carrie and Mary, grandchildren Danielle (and boyfriend Greg), Brian (and wife Ali), numerous nieces and nephews, relatives and friends.

“The family would like to thank the staff at Kaiser Manteca for the care they gave our father during the past few weeks, the wonderful staff at the Hospice House of San Joaquin here in Stockton and everyone for their outpouring of love and support during this difficult time. A Celebration of Life will be announced at a later date.”

Irish Pennants

The Hilton Foundation folks have checked in. The Mandeville fireworks show will be held on the evening of July 4th (Tuesday.) It was spectacular last year and I am confident that it will be equal or better for 2023.

By the time you read this Linda Breninger might have her new Corvette. She made a deal with Dave Breninger that if he gets to buy a new boat, she gets a new Corvette. Sounds like a win-win situation to me.

A note on Delta businesses. The Delta boating season is starting. Every year there is a crop of new businesses starting out, some will make it and some won’t. My friends and I have had quite a bit of business experience and can offer some suggestions. Probably the number one consideration is to make sure your heart is in it. A lot of folks have a hobby that makes money and that is great, but will it make enough to support you? A full-time business is hard work and if you are starting from scratch, you should have enough capital to keep you going for a couple of years until you start making a profit. Be prepared to work seven days a week. If you can make the commitment, the Delta is a business paradise with plenty of opportunities. Do some market research to see what might work. Opening a hamburger stand on a street where there are already several others is probably not a great idea.

Mount Diablo with a dusting of snow in February. Photo courtesy of Demi Stewart.

Whatever your product is, never compromise quality. Always answer the phone. If you have a landline and can’t be there all the time, have the phone forwarded to your cell phone. Promotion is critical, you need to spend at least 25 percent of your budget on promotion. Some high-tech businesses spend up to 50 percent. Direct your promotional dollars to the potential customers you want to attract to your business. You can succeed if you are willing to invest the energy into the project.

Joe Pustizzi gets ready for Independence Day on April 1st. Photo courtesy of Joe Pustizzi.

The Rio Vista Bridge is requiring a four-hour notice for openings from now through August. I kept hearing this rumor and was able to contact Carl Hauser Bridge Section Chief, Eleventh Coast Guard District who confirmed that the drive mechanism in the bridge is being replaced over the next several months.

Mount Diablo got a good dusting of snow in late February. I can’t remember when the last time was that it snowed but it has been a few years. Of course, it snowed in Berkeley and in many other places including Southern California where it does not snow too often. A nice surprise for Californians.

Make your voice heard on April 12, for the 7th Annual California Boating Congress at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Sacramento. There will be government and industry speakers in the morning and afternoon sessions with key legislators who have interest in our issues. There will be a cocktail reception the evening before the event on April 11, 2023. Learn more here:

The California Yacht Brokers Association announces the 2023 Pacific Sail & Power Boat Show is back on May 4-7, 2023. It will be at the Westpoint Harbor in Redwood City. The venue provides extensive in-water dockage for a large fleet of sail and power boats, plus dry space for trailerable boats and tent space for booth exhibitors. Check it out here:

Boating season is here. Keep me in the loop, tell me about your great cruises and parties.
You can reach me at or 916-869-9141.