Delta Rat Scrapbook – by Bill Wells

Delta Rat Scrapbook

Historic Re-Launching Of JOIE

After a Herculean effort Rusty Areias and Ted Harris completed the restoration on the classic yacht JOIE de Vivre. They trucked her up to the Delta from Southern California more than two years ago and what they thought would take a couple of months took a couple of years, but they got it right. Rusty said that “whatever could go wrong did go wrong.” There was a huge team involved in her restoration. I think the main players were Tony Faso who provided his Delta Marina Services boat yard and travel lift, Eric Koster as an expert on motors and mechanical things and Jim Fitch as a certified genius on diesel engines.

International Commodore of the Classic Yacht Association Gerry Kamilos awards Ted and Rusty new Burgees for JOIE.

A couple of hundred people attended the launch and were treated to hors d’oeuvres, cold drinks, champagne, wine, you name it. A lamb was barbecued for the occasion. The Areias and Harris families even had some wines especially commissioned by Raymond Vineyard & Cellar in Sonoma for this historic launch with a photo of JOIE featured on the label. They gave me a nice bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon. I am not sure if I will ever open it, it looks impressive sitting in my wine rack. Folly II, Miss 102, SKAL and other Stephens Brothers classic yachts were also on hand for the ceremony. The new owner of 5 Star Marina was out of town on a business trip and left manager John Silva in charge of the event. Former owner Terry McDonald was on hand to check things out. Vern Vierra was there providing his excellent St. Jorge wines. Vern, you will remember, has a classic 43-foot Stephens Yacht in the back yard pond at his winery. Several other owners of Stephens yachts were on hand: Thom, Janice, Bryan and Hillary Wiseman (Donella), Patrick Welch (Triple Crown), Alan Almquist (Northstar II), Marc Harrington (Navillus), Jonathan Arambel (Firebird) and Rob Sesar (SKAL).

Julie breaks a bottle of champagne over the bow of JOIE.
Melissa strikes the bow with a bottle of vintage champagne.

Next, the crowd assembled on the dock by the eastern marine railway at 5 Star for the official launch of JOIE. She was hauled out under the supervision of Eric Koster two days prior to the ceremony just for this special occasion. Traditionally a bottle of champagne is broken across the bow of a ship before she is launched. You see bottles broken in movies all the time but the reality is that they are not that easy to break. On this occasion Rusty and Ted had their wives and Alexis Areias lined up to each smash a bottle. Julie Areias was first and handily broke hers, next Ted’s wife Melissa Conner swung and broke her bottle. I have to say though, the star of the christening was Alexis Areias. She made a bold strike right on the bow and the bottle shattered instantly; she looked like a professional.

Alexis gives the bow a hefty smack with her champagne bottle.
Alexis gives a wave of triumph.

They pulled out the stops and greased the skids and the vessel began moving backwards down the railway. It was pretty amazing; the winch or windless controlling the railway looks like it was the original equipment installed by Stephens Brothers many years ago. When the stern hit the water, they paused for a short time while the motors were started and then she slid fully into the channel to the cheers of the crowd. She did a circle around the harbor and returned to the dock. After that Rusty and Ted invited guests aboard for her maiden voyage. Miss 102 and Folly II were also available for short cruises.

Railway wench system operated by Eric Koster of J&H Marine as supervision is provided by his beautiful wife Liz Koster.
JOIE travels down the marine railway.

This was a huge historical event for Stockton. Rusty, Ted and their families deserve recognition for restoring JOIE and for the re-launching ceremony at the facility where she was originally built. At this writing JOIE is scheduled to participate in Opening Day on the Bay, and after some more sea trials she will return to Southern California for many more years of cruising. The next time you see Rusty and Ted, make sure to ask them when they are going to start on their next yacht restoration project.

She floats. Photo courtesy of Morris Lum.
Rusty, Thom, Hillary and Julie.

Opening Day On The Delta (Stockton Yacht Club)

Sixteen boats were fitted out in a wild west theme and likewise their crews of buckaroos and buckarettes. The parade started offshore from Windmill Cove at 1300 hours and cruised upstream from marker 34 on the San Joaquin River to McLeod Lake and then raced back to Stockton Yacht Club.

Sue and I were enlisted as judges along with Gary and Bonnie Rogers. The Ebony Boat Club generously let us use their clubhouse as the judging platform. They also pitched in to supply us with lunch, which was very welcome. We sat on the deck facing the channel which was a perfect shady vantage point to watch the parade.

The Grand Marshall’s boat passes the judges.

The boats cruised up to the channel and passed us at about 1340 hours. It was a hoot, with some great cowboys and cowgirls riding aboard the vessels. Patti Brennan even had a trumpet playing man perched on the bow of her boat. It was fun to watch and the skippers did a good job of maintaining a proper distance between the boats as they proceeded up the channel and returned back downstream.

Sue and I packed up and took our leave at about 1430 hours and headed over to the Stockton Yacht Club on the Calaveras River a few miles away by land yacht.

The Breningers, John and KT Baker and Bob & Beverly Cain were all relaxing on the Ron Malmquist Memorial dock extension and were all dressed in their wild west duds. It was good to catch up with each of them. Presently, John and KT along with the Breningers left. John in his western garb and hat had an amazing resemblance to Major TJ Kong, the Slim Pickens character in the film “Dr. Strangelove,” the B52 pilot. You know, the guy that rode the atomic bomb to the target. Presently, Sue and I headed up to the clubhouse that was fixed up for a regular hoedown. There were red and white checked tablecloths and excellent centerpieces like miniature stagecoaches, vintage lanterns and all sorts of western stuff.

The 2023 Opening Day Dinner was mouthwatering! Theo Garcia and crew did an amazing job on the incredible decorating and the excellent barbecue dinner! You had your choice of chicken or pork with an excellent BBQ sauce, potato salad, chili beans, corn and cornbread and pound cake with whipped cream for dessert. It was excellent and I think everyone agreed based on the smiles I saw.

Marina and Jill.

After dinner the awards were presented. Yacht broker and club member Marc Bay sponsored the awards which were beautiful and appreciated by the winners. Then the best dressed buckaroo and cowgirl along with the best dressed couples. It was a great time and a testament to the optimistic outlook folks have for the season. Jill Stevenson put a vast amount of hard work into pulling this event off along with a great team.

The Sacramento Bayliner Club had a cruise in for the weekend. They participated in the parade and the dinner.

Next, they had a fun raffle and best dressed contest! A perfect event to wrap up Opening Day weekend! Jill gave thanks to all that made this event a success, including the members and quests that came out and supported the Stockton Yacht Club! The Opening Day Planning Committee consisted of: Jill Stevenson, Lisa Boje, Denny Trichera and Marina Faconti. The Opening Day Galley Crew was: Theo Garcia along with his family and friends. Bob Cain hosted the Grand Marshall (Ron Freitas – SJC District Attorney) and a representative from our chosen charity (Rebecca Fisher – Executive Director, Mary Graham Hall Foundation.) Winners are 41 feet and up: First Place – Bushwood, Janelle and Dean Carlson (Stockton Yacht Club), Second Place – Two Drifters, Bill and Chris Thompson (Stockton Yacht Club). 40 feet and under: First Place – Huntress, Pat Brennan (Stockton Yacht Club), Second Place – Top Secret, Bill Smith and Laura Jackson.

Grand Opening – Brannan Island State Recreation Area

I am amazingly happy to see this great park open again. It will be a benefit to the entire Delta. It features large campsites, a large boat launching ramp and great fishing on Three Mile Slough with easy access to the Sacramento River and the San Joaquin River by boat.

Eric Chiu cuts ribbon with the help of Stacia Olson and Jean Yokotobi.

The park brings in thousands of visitors per year along with events like fishing tournaments. My good friend Eric Chiu who owns nearby Park Delta Bay Campground and Marina on the Delta Loop has gathered a great crew of folks to help manage the resort. It is looking better already with the grass being mowed and generally cleaned up. It is at a perfect location near the intersection of State Routes 12 and 160.

This is an exciting event for the entire Delta. To celebrate, the California Delta Chambers, the Rio Vista Chamber and the Isleton Chamber got together to hold a grand opening. About 100 folks from many local businesses met near the boat launch ramp at the park for a party. Eric enlisted his mom and dad who came all the way from Chicago to be part of the ribbon cutting.

Stacia Olson of the Rio Vista Chamber and Jean Yokotobi of the Isleton Chamber held the ribbon while Eric cut it to announce the official opening of the park. Don Nottoli, retired Sacramento County Supervisor was on hand to help celebrate. The park was part of Don’s district when he was a supervisor.

It looks like a great summer ahead for Eric and the crew and I am confident many visitors from all over Northern California will be enjoying the shady campsites and the gentle waterways. I am already hearing of groups planning events at the resort.

Westminster West – Walnut Grove Dog Show And Easter Party At Orchard Gables

This annual event has been held by Rusty & Julie Areias each year for the last 20 plus years. Dogs and their handlers come from all over Northern California to attend. The afternoon started with gin fizzes while chef John Carlo was preparing lunch. Presently, we entered the Hemingway room and John Carlo had the plates laid out with the beautiful lamb chops. Then we gathered around the long table and settled down for the feast. There was a passel of dogs there and for the most part they were under control while we were eating, but a few dog fights broke out. Have you even noticed that dog fights generally are a small dog, maybe a wired hair fox terrier attacking a larger dog like a Labrador or golden retriever? The smaller dog almost always wins by intimidating the big dog. Funny how that works. Well anyway, after we ate Rusty called the dog show to start. The ages of the handlers varied from about age 12 to folks in their 60s. It was a hoot. When the dogs weren’t fighting, they did some cute tricks at the request of their owners. The perpetual silver cup trophy for the event is worthy of any major sporting or yachting event and a credit to the sponsor and the winner.

Eva and Beau.

Beau was the overall winning dog. His handler Eva Harris deserves much of the credit. While Beau is a handsome and talented canine, Eva is an accomplished salesperson and gave a passionate closing argument that sealed the deal for the team winning the 2023 competition. All the entries were so cute and each of them deserved a prize.

Randy Miller Surprise Party

Kimberly Ann Miller pulled off a great surprise party for her beloved hubby, Randy. It was at the Village West Yacht club and at least 100 of Randy’s friends and family were there to congratulate him. Joann Horner made a delicious dinner of shrimp alfredo, vegetables, salad and homemade bread pudding. The popular local band Network kept folks entertained all evening. Kimberly and Randy live on their boat and Randy had quite a load of booty to take home. I think they might have a space problem now.

Randy & Kimberly with family.

It Will Be A Spectacular Summer

Don’t miss the Hilton Foundation’s fireworks display at Mandeville Tip on July 4. This is always a big event with thousands of people and hundreds of boats. Many people make it a vacation and others anchor their boats there and commute to their jobs in Stockton and elsewhere.

Come to the Delta Chambers mixers at King Island on June 14 and at Village West Marina & Resort on July 12 at 1800 hours. The resort hosts an awesome mixer and this will be a special night with the 17th Hal Schell award being presented to someone that continues to better the Delta. Come and find out who it will be.

Kimberly Miller invites us to Christmas in July on July 15 at Village West Yacht Club at 1800 hours. Boats will parade from the club to downtown Stockton and back. $25.00 skipper fee to support the Stockton Animal Protection League, prizes! Call 209-478-8992. Don’t miss the Unleashed Poker Run on July 28 to benefit the Animal Protection League as well, call or text 209-271-0225 for information!

Don’t miss the Unleashed Poker Run on July 28 to benefit the Animal Protection League call or text 209-271-0225 for information!

Don’t miss the 20th annual Taste of the Delta at Windmill Cove on Saturday, Aug. 5 starting at 1300 hours. Come by car or boat, spend a day enjoying local wines and foods while listening to live music performed by “Dee Coco and Company,” as you peruse the local arts and crafts booths. Buy your discount tickets in advance online at

Don’t’ miss the Stephens Yacht Rendezvous on the weekend of Sept. 15-17 at Village West Marina. Bring your Stephens yacht. Call Vickie at 209-951-1551 to reserve your dock space now. This will be another spectacular event that you should not miss.

California Boating Congress (CBC)

The CBC was held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Sacramento across from the State Capitol building. Delta Chambers representative Morris Lum went and filed this report:

“The California Delta Chambers & Visitor’s Bureau attended the 7th Annual Boating Conference, that was held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel across from our State Capitol. Also in attendance was RBOC and BoatUS as both organizations watch over the recreational boating aspects of California.

Aaron Pellarin and Morris Lum.

“Presentations were made by California Parks and Recreation and Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW). Presentations included reports on the DBW subcommittees for funding and programs with conclusions and recommendations. RBOC directors were participants on all subcommittees.

The Department of Parks and Recreation Director, Armando Quintero speaks to the California Boating Congress. Photo by Tim Ulmer, courtesy of use provided by the MRA.

“Reports were also presented on Economic Impact Study, Harbors and Watercraft Revolving Fund, Aquatic Invasive Species, Beach Erosion and Abandoned vessels.

“State Senators and Assembly Members presented their views and upcoming legislative agenda items. Those in attendance were able to ask direct questions on behalf of their individual areas of our vast state of California. It is apparent after the few years of the Boating Congress’s existence that it is now a needed and important avenue for information and collaboration for all stakeholders of California regarding Boating and Waterways and the connections to Business and Recreation.

RBOC President, Debrenia Madison introducing herself and informing the importance of the RBOC to the attendance at the CBC. Photo by Tim Ulmer, courtesy of use provided by the MRA.

“I was able to speak personally with Director Armando Quintero of the Department of Parks and Recreation, Director Ramona Fernandez of the Division of Boating and Waterways and Commissioner Tom Pier of the Boating and Waterways Commission.

“Many issues were mentioned, discussed and presented. Offshore wind farms are something new to take into consideration for RBOC. Ongoing issues include boat fees, abandoned vessels, the Air Resource Board and many boating bills. Our navigable waterways are getting more complex and political. We are increasing attention time by RBOC Directors and our lobbyists to keep boating interests at the forefront. We need additional financial support as we increase our lobbyist resources.” As my friend Tracy Glaves says, “Delta Boaters are voters, make sure we make our voices are heard and we work to elect competent representatives to represent our interests.”

Race Day On The Bay

Morris Lum is the most amazing person I know. He is on the road constantly ranging from Sacramento, all over the Delta, and down into the South Bay. Even with all that travel he takes time to pick up dinner and deliver it to his mom in Sacramento. The South Bay Bridge Series on April 8, formally known as the InterClub Series had Morris along for a ride on the committee boat. Morris reports the following:

“There is a lot to prepare for a sailboat race out in the San Francisco Bay.

Competitors in the South Bay Bridge series. Photo courtesy of Morris Lum.

“When we motored out from the Oakland Estuary to the starting line, a fueling barge was in our way. What’s the chance to get it moved? Race Director Russell Breed with a commanding voice called in a request and voila, a tug came in and assisted with a move away from our start line; that was amazing and I’m impressed. We are now postponed again, not because it’s lunch time, but because the wind has faded away. Great conditions if we were on a powerboat cruise in the Delta.

“Treasure Island Yacht Club provided the Race Committee and boat. When the first gun went off, there were light winds, a flood tide, rolling starts and multiple fleets with new and experienced sailors. It was exciting for me to witness the total concentration needed on a race committee boat. The radio traffic between the racers, and then add in the ocean ships calling out their departures. There were ships incoming and outgoing across the racecourse. The coordination of each fleet on race starts. With the horn blasts and the start pistol shots with other committee members spotting and marking each racer’s participation, it is a flurry of orchestrated excitement. We had 32 registered boats with an actual 21 racers today on the Bay. I can still hear the horn blasts from the ocean ships announcing their departures to the racers. And also, the five emergency blasts from a departing ship that didn’t like a racer playing chicken with him. He was announcing his slowing to “Dead Slow Ahead.” There could be a race penalty in today’s calm air. I have just made my reservation for my first lesson at the Stockton Sailing Club.”

Waterfraud Update

People are clamoring for Tulare Lake to be restored with the huge runoff we will be seeing this year. It makes a lot of sense especially with climate change causing less snowpack and more rain precipitation. It certainly is many times more cost effective than Governor Newsom’s plan to build a tunnel to divert the Sacramento River around the Delta.

According to Doug Obegi, the director of California River Restoration, if the tunnel had been operational in 2023 it would not have allowed any more water storage than we have now. It would have filled San Luis Reservoir quicker and once full there is no more storage. Obegi says: “although DWR argues that the Delta Conveyance Project could have pumped more water in January, any additional pumping through the Delta tunnel earlier this year would not have increased water supply. That’s because the additional pumping simply would have filled San Luis Reservoir earlier in the year and caused the CVP and SWP to reduce Delta pumping.”

According to Department of Water Resources Climatologist Michael Anderson: “If the Delta Conveyance Project (tunnel) had been operational during the high rain events of January this year, the modernized conveyance system could have moved 228,000 acre-feet of water into San Luis Reservoir while still meeting fishery and water quality protections and regulations. That’s enough water to supply about 2.3 million people for an entire year and is equivalent to approximately 40 percent of the total State Water Project exports in water year 2022.”

So, in layman’s terms, a $55 billion dollar tunnel destroying the Delta and the town of Hood is just a big worthless boondoggle. “You can’t tell me it won’t destroy this town, simple as that,” said Mario Moreno chair of the Hood Community Council. It is high time to start holding some of these people responsible for the damage they are causing to the state. Newsom is looking at running for president and this giant boondoggle is not going to add anything positive to his resume.

Carrie Buckman, Environmental Program Manager with the Department of Water Resources said the new tunnel aims to “minimize impacts on landscape and wildlife”.

“It is following a route that we think has less effects (sic) within Delta communities,” Buckman said. The reality is that the tunnel will maximize impacts on landscape and wildlife.

Many people are saying these people should be fired for the damage they are causing to the state. I would not do something so drastic. I would fire half of them and make the other half start doing some constructive work.

Colleen Waterhouse Memorial

The Stockton Yacht Club held a memorial for Colleen Waterhouse, one of their favorite and most active members who crossed over the bar a while back. Her background was accounting and bookkeeping so it was a natural fit that she would be the club treasurer. She was involved in almost every event put on by the club, and you would see her name on many emails regarding the same.

Cliff and Sally at Colleen’s Memorial.

The memorial was on a Sunday afternoon and the club was heavily decorated in a Hawaiian motif. It looked like Trader Vic’s east. Everyone was wearing Hawaiian style garb. As usual, I did not get the message and wore my white Oxford cloth shirt.

A lady played the harp during much of the service. At first, I thought it was recorded music until I spied her playing in a corner. She was really good, and I am sorry I did not get her name.

There were at least 100 people there paying respects. After prayers and a eulogy her family and friends told anecdotes. The afternoon was completed with a Hawaiian barbecue and a toast to Colleen.

Eight Bells

Gene Beley sent me information on the passing of Dr. Henry Go: “Dr. Henry Go Dec. 28, 1933 – Mar. 16, 2023, Sacramento, California – Dr. Go crossed over the bar in his Delta home on March 16, with his spouse Barbara by his side. Henry was the Delta doctor for 60+ years. He was known as the doctor – and trusted friend – who would never rush a conversation or dismiss a concern. He was supported by his loyal and loving office staff at The Doctor’s Office.

“Henry was at his happiest with Barb by his side, and jook in his bowl, surrounded by family, Rosie and Greg and their children Sami and Lee, Adrienne and her children Adelaide and Clementine and Lisa and Gonzalo and their children Mateo and Melia. Henry’s life and service will be celebrated in the near future. Details can be obtained from Courtland community members or the doctor’s office.

“In lieu of flowers, you may consider donating to Courtland’s Volunteer Fire Department, the Courtland Branch of the Sacramento County Library or Delta High School Athletic Department.”

I was honored to be with Dr. Go in 2022 when we were both awarded the Delta Champion award by the Delta Regional Foundation. I admit his contributions were much larger than mine. He was a good man and will be missed around the region.

Irish Pennants

Local historian, Carol Jensen hosted a presentation promoting her new book “Images of America – Maritime Contra Costa County” at the Sacramento River Historical Society at the Jean Harvie Center in Walnut Grove. Carol is a member of the East Contra Costa County Historical Society. The 25 or so folks at the meeting enjoyed her talk and many stayed after to purchase the book. You may remember Carol, when Hal Schell crossed over the bar, she acquired his archives and finished the book he was writing at the time “Images of America – The California Delta.”

Summer is here. Don’t waste a day; the weather is fabulous and the sea calls.
I can be reached at or 916-869-9149.