Delta Rat Scrapbook – by Bill Wells

Delta Rat Scrapbook

Vickie Baumann Retires

This is the end of an era in the Delta. Vickie is one of the best known and beloved people in the whole region. She got her fine art degree at UC Davis and opened her own sign painting and yacht naming business. Vickie and her husband Jim managed The Point Restaurant for several years. They both ran Delta Marina for several years before Vickie became the Harbormaster at Willow Berm Marina, which is where Claude and Arron Pellarin found her in 2016 and recruited her to work at Village West as the general manager. Vickie says that when they asked her, she said she had to have her husband Jim interview them. They passed the interview and she came on the job.

Vickie, Jim, and their family.

The rest is history; the team transformed the marina into a showpiece marina and resort. They have received so many awards I think they are running out of wall space in their office. Probably the most prestigious award the resort has received is the Five Gold Anchor Award from the Gold Anchor Global Marina Accreditation Program that has been auditing marinas around the world for more than 25 years. At the time Village West was only the second marina in California to receive the award. The award basically makes Stockton a premium destination for boaters from all over California and beyond. They followed this up with the Marina of the Year Award from Dock Age magazine. Vickie was a key person in all this positive recognition.

Vickie and Ebony.

Vickie has had an amazing and rewarding career. Her personality, smile and her always-willing-to lend-a-hand persona will be missed by all those she interacted with on a daily basis. Vickie and Jim say they will remain in Rio Vista, so hopefully we will all see them from time to time around the region.

Her going away party was epic. Vickie and Jim had their RV at the resort so they stayed the night. Many of their family members were on hand to support her. As a retirement present Claude and Arron gave Vickie and Jim a cruise to Alaska! Fat City Brew & BBQ catered the outstanding barbecue rib dinner. There were plenty of cold beverages too. After dinner Marquis provided his blues music for listening and dancing.

Claude awards Vickie a cruise to Alaska.

Delta Chambers Mixer

Once again, the Pellarin brothers and the Village West staff held an epic mixer at the resort. We assembled out on the point under canvas shelters to block the sun. On hand to enjoy was a spread of pasta, crab dip, salad, garlic bread and much more catered by Garlic Brothers Restaurant. There was plenty of beer, wine and soft drinks to enjoy too. After introductions and announcements Yachtsman Magazine Publisher Ty Mellott took center stage and announced Tiki Tom Tate of Korth’s Pirate’s Lair Marina as the winner of the 2023 Hal Schell Award.

Marquis, Bo, Anna at the mixer.
Tiki Tom Tate receives Hal Schell Award from Ty. Photo courtesy of Tim Ulmer.

Tom is an institution in the Delta; he has worked at Ox Bow Marina and Korth’s for 20 plus years. I met him not long after I moved my boat to Ox Bow. We both had Stephens boats. Tom and his lovely wife Karen lived aboard their 40-footer La Rana at Korth’s for many years before moving ashore and selling her. Tom is an amazing person and can fix just about anything. One time when a friend of mine purchased a new couch that was missing a leg for next to nothing, Tom created a new leg that looked like it came from the factory. It was about a $1,000.00 couch that she got for an investment of maybe $150.00. Many times, Tom has come out of the marina and rescued boaters that have broken down on the river. I didn’t even mention Tom’s crazy sense of humor as he is known for his ability to tell you the most bizarre stories while looking at you with a straight face. I would recommend being wary of anything Tom might tell you or you just might find yourself falling for some of Tom’s humorous puns at your own expense.

Tom, Kim, Tom’s sister, Karen.

The rest of the mixer was fantastic, everyone had a great time and people came from all over the Delta. Vickie Baumann received a lifetime achievement award for her decades of supporting the California Delta Chambers & Visitors Bureau. A huge thank you goes to the marina owners and staff for putting together a great event.

Anna updates the crowd on the latest water problems.

Independence Day At Mandeville Tip

I didn’t make it out to Venice Island for the Hilton Foundation’s spectacular fireworks display and the amazing Patriots Jet Team airshow. Fortunately, many of my friends did including my ace reporter, Daniel Witte. He filed this dispatch: “Mandeville Tip and the surrounding area were full of boats and activities for the Fourth of July. There were many boats at Mandeville for the Hilton Fireworks Show including cabin cruisers, day cruisers, the Sea Scouts and a retired 65-foot Coast Guard tugboat named Bitt. Even with all the boats traveling in and around the Mandeville area, the sheriffs did a great job making sure everyone stayed safe. One ski boat was speeding through the anchorage at Mandeville and its owner seemed oblivious to the people shouting and blaring the sirens on their handheld megaphones. Finally, the sheriff intervened and gave the guy a stiff talking to. After that, the guy cruised slow as a snail through the area. It appeared the lecture did its job and put him in his place.

The tugboat Bitt. Photo courtesy of Daniel Witte.

“While at Mandeville, I had a chance to go aboard Bitt the tugboat and meet the owners Jason and Taryn Logur, along with their two-year-old son Russell. The boat was built in 1965 and was number 13 of 15 of its style of tugboats. The Logurs purchased it in 2019 and have been living aboard in Benicia ever since. Jason says having Bitt through the COVID pandemic was very helpful as it allowed his family to do a really good job of staying isolated while having fun. At first, I was surprised that their son Russell got the captain’s quarters while Jason and Taryn had the crew cabin which housed six people when Bitt was in service. However, they explained that this arrangement was better so they could install what was needed for a child such as a changing table and rocking chair in the master stateroom. Being aboard Bitt was incredible because I had never seen a large boat and its workings such as the galley and wheelhouse up close before. Bitt’s helm was enormous compared to other recreational vessels and the controls appeared to be a lot more complex. The horn had five bells and the sound it made was impressive. I must mention however, to get aboard, I had to climb a pirate ladder.

“As usual, the fireworks show was awesome. There were lots of great booms which produced good shock waves. It seems that the show went on longer than last year. As with the past two years, the Patriots Jet Team out of Byron did an air show just before the fireworks. They did a lot of great maneuvers and the roar of their huge engines was incredible.

“Wimpy’s had their Independence Day all you can eat brunch on July 2nd. The owners, Gerry and Nancy Goodie did a wonderful job making sure everyone had a great time and the food was awesome. The employees at Wimpy’s say that they hope to have the Sunday all you can eat brunch become a weekly event.

“There is still a lot of great boating for the rest of the summer and some great events for the rest of the year.”

Runabouts On The River

I attended the fifth annual “Runabouts on the River” event at the Stockton Sailing Club. Don & Sylvia Leutz of the Antique and Classic Boat Society – Northern California/Lake Tahoe Chapter sent me a personal invitation, and when I arrived, they were the first people I saw manning the reception table. The sailing club generously donated their dock space and parking lot to hold the boats for the event.

Don & Sylvia Leutz.

It was a free event on July 22 from 0900 hours to 1500 hours. There were arts and crafts booths, event souvenirs, plenty of cold drinks and a barbeque lunch booth. In spite of the hot weather a large crowd turned out to admire these beautiful classic crafts. These preserved and restored boats feature some of the most famous names in boating like Besotes, Chris Craft, Century, Garwood and Philbrick. There were boats in the water and on land, as well as booths, food and children’s activities. A portion of the proceeds went to benefit Hospice of San Joaquin.

Eric and Liz Koster brought their beautiful Century runabout and received the award for best Century at the show.

Richard Dunn was there with his stunning 24-foot teak Stephens triple cockpit runabout. He saw me and tried to hide but I caught him. He will be out of the country during the Stephens Rendezvous, but Eric volunteered to bring Richard’s Stephens over. She is always a big hit at the rendezvous. Richard is the president of Stephens Marine/Riverpoint Landing Marina Resort.

A real beauty at Runabouts on the River.

It looked like there were about 60 boats in the water, an impressive number to say the least. There were several Besotes. It seems like more appear every year, they are still found in barns and warehouses from time to time. This is a great show and if you have not seen it, you should make a point to attend next year.

Another nice woodie.

As I was leaving, I ran into Greg Brazil a friend of mine from the Classic Yacht Association who was there checking out the boats. He has a beautiful 47-foot 1938 Wheeler that he keeps in the Bay Area.

Bob Friedberger with a photo from the past on the San Joaquin River.

There is always a lot going on at the Stockton Sailing Club from boat racing to boat shows. There are few dull moments. Check them out at The club was started in 1933 by a bunch of high schoolers that hung out at the Stephens Brothers’ boatyard. The gang included Dick Stephens who later became chief designer and CEO of Stephens Brothers. The club was originally called the Ionic Sailing Club, but no one knew where they were from so in 1952 they changed the name to the Stockton Sailing Club. After wandering around the Stockton area like the Flying Dutchman the club moved to its current location in 1966. The clubhouse was built in 1968 and the architect Warren Wong received a merit award from the American Institute of Architects for its design. The clubhouse is one of the best in the Delta and has a killer view of the San Joaquin River. You should check it out sometime if you have never been there.

Eric and Liz Koster navigate one of the fairways of the Stockton Sailing Club in their classic Century. Photo courtesy of Kelsey’s Candids.
Best Century Award presented to Eric Koster.

Ebony Boat Club

Every year the club has a jazz and wine tasting festival at their clubhouse. If you have never been you owe it to yourself to go. It is great fun and you can hang out with some great people, drink some great wine and listen to some great music.

The club was founded in 1987 and has been a positive force in the Delta ever since. For 30 years they have been holding youth activity days to provide a boating experience for underserved youth. They now have the Ebony Youth Foundation, a nonprofit that was formed to provide a “fun and entertaining water awareness and boating safety training program for underprivileged youth.” They do a great job and they also provide several college scholarships each year to deserving young people.

Otis Brock.

The floating clubhouse has been at the Stockton Downtown Marina for about 10 years now. It is a cozy spot and there is room for a few boats to tie up too. It is an ideal spot for a party.

The festivities started at noon on a hot summer Saturday. The first person I saw was Otis Brock exiting his (and Marilyn Brock’s) beautiful 45-foot Bayliner Enchantment. Otis is a Past Commodore and current Treasurer of the club and an all-around good guy. When I walked into the clubhouse, I commented to Otis how cool it was even with a crowd of people inside. He said they had recently had the air conditioner overhauled and it was working great.

I signed in and got my tasting glass. They had a great international selection of wines from France, Spain, Italy, Portugal and other European countries. They also had representative wines from South Africa, New Zealand and Argentina, as well as a red and a white from the good old USA.

Presently the meal service started and Ann Dukes and Carol Whitehead were doing the serving. I had a chicken breast and ribs (I think the ribs might have been Otis’s secret recipe – they literally fall off the bone into your mouth.) There was also corn on the cob, greens and a couple of choices for dessert. Most excellent fair indeed.

Jazzbeau & Friends.

The band, Jazzbeau and Friends, played steadily all the time I was there without taking a break. They are outstanding and play a lot of numbers that I recognized including one of my favorites “Take the A Train” written by Billy Strayhorn for Duke Ellington. Brubeck, Monk and other artists received tributes. They are a great high-energy band and it is always a pleasure to see them perform. The bass player has an amazing resemblance to John Lee Hooker.

I know you are sad that you missed this excellent party but do not despair, the club’s White Party is coming up on Oct. 21 at the clubhouse. You can contact Carol at 925-915-9549 for information. This event is to support the Ebony Youth Foundation.

Carol and Ann serving the dinner.

The White Party is just like the name implies; you are requested to wear all white garb. It is cool and fun to see everyone dressed in the same color but with styles open to interpretation.

Stephens Yacht Rendezvous

Don’t miss the Stephens Yacht Rendezvous on the weekend of Sept. 15-17 at Village West Marina & Resort. This will be the greatest gathering of Stephens and other classic yachts in Northern California. If you have a Stephens or other classic yacht, please call Tim Fontaine at 209-951-1551 to make your reservation for the event. The public is invited to view the vessels and speak to the skippers on Sept. 16.

Stephens boats are some of the most famous in the world and there are still plenty of them around even though the yard shut down in 1987. Each boat has a fascinating history and the owners don’t consider themselves owners; they are caretakers keeping the boats in good condition until the next caretaker comes along and takes over the job.

Jim Gabbert will be there with his beautiful Stephens Defiance. Rusty Areias and his partners will have at least two of their restored Stephens there. Richard Dunn will be out of the country but he is sending his 24-foot Siam teak triple cockpit runabout over.

We are having a “roaring twenties” themed dinner at the Village West Yacht Club on Saturday evening. On Sunday there will be a boat parade to downtown Stockton and the 5 Star Marina (where Stephens boats were built.) This event will be an excellent way to top off a great summer of California Delta boating.

Call me at 916-869-9141 for information. We expect boats from all over California and people from all over the West Coast and beyond. The bungalows and RV spaces at the resort are available, call 209-951-1551 for information.

Help Save The Birds

The Sacramento – San Joaquin Delta Conservancy working with other organizations has a program to enhance the habitat for migratory birds. The BirdReturns Program creates short-term wetland habitat that migratory birds desperately need by paying farmers to flood their fields. Since 2014, BirdReturns has generated over $10 million in direct payments to farmers and created over 120,000 acres of seasonal wetland habitat.

Millions of ducks, geese, swans, cranes and shorebirds depend on wetland habitat in the Central Valley. With post-harvest flooding, privately owned farmlands create surrogate wetland habitat that migratory birds now depend on as they make their long journey from Alaska to California and beyond, then back again in the spring. California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta is an important place for waterbirds and the drought is dangerously reducing wetland habitat. Shorebirds are in steep decline, and if they don’t get a place to stop and rest during migration this year population levels may drop even further. Without help, other waterbirds that overwinter in the Delta are also likely to suffer including the iconic Sandhill Crane.

WaterFraud Update

The Department of Water Resources (DWR) has released an anonymous document titled “How the Delta Conveyance Project Would Make California’s Water Supply More Resilient Against Earthquakes.” The Conveyance project remember, is the scheme to divert the Sacramento River around the Delta and ship the water south to irrigate the desert. They refer to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), that says there is a 72-percent chance of a 6.7 or greater magnitude earthquake occurring in the Bay Area by 2043 that could cause levees in the Delta to fail. I read the report and it indeed predicts a large earthquake striking the Bay Area and gives a lot of advice on how to prepare for it and deal with it. It makes no mention of earthquakes destroying Delta levees, so once again the DWR is using taxpayer dollars to lie to us taxpayers. The USGS document, unlike the DWR document, lists the authors’ names and contact information so you can learn more if needed. Also, in the DWR report they show a cracked levee on Tyler Island in 2017 – only thing is the levee was damaged by excess rain not an earthquake. You may remember several years back in 2012 the DWR used an “Eccentric Mass Shaker” to simulate an earthquake on Sherman Island to try to make a levee fail. Well, the levee held but the machine broke down. These people are not just liars, they are damn liars. We debunked the earthquake lie years ago and now they are resurrecting it. The facts remain, there has never in human history been a Delta levee failure caused by an earthquake. The reality is that if there was a major earthquake on the Hayward Fault (the closest major fault to the Delta) much of the East Bay would be wiped out including Berkeley and Oakland. A levee failure would be the least of the worries.

Don’t forget there are huge financial incentives for state workers to promote the tunnel/conveyance. DWR head Karla Nemeth for instance was paid $223,500 in 2022. Hell, a lot of people would sell out their mother for that kind of money. In the meantime, the DWR has urged people to avoid physical contact with water at Pyramid Lake in Los Angeles County until further notice due to the presence of blue-green algae. Pyramid Lake is at the lower end of the supply chain for Delta water. Remember the battle cry; “Save Hood, stop the boondoggle!”

Irish Pennants

A green waste composting facility is planned for the Delta. The organization planning it wants to hear from neighbors and “Delta stakeholders” regarding their thoughts, suggestions and any concerns they may have regarding the proposed facility. A question-and-answer session will be included. It will be held on September 12 at 1730 hours at the Jean Harvie Community Center, 14273 River Rd., Walnut Grove, CA 95690. If you have any questions, please contact Brian Holloway at 916-996-2019 or email

Tracie Glaves from San Joaquin Delta Neighborhood Watch reports that there is great news for our Delta. “San Francisco District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are continuing their ‘Difference in the Delta’ Cleanup Project from August 4-7. They are cleaning up the San Joaquin River in the Stockton area. If you pass them on the river, be sure to wave and give a small toot from your horn. Thank you, Stockton Rod and Gun Club, for allowing them to use your dock for this much needed project. We were told that it has been 30 years since this type of cleanup was last done. Thank you to San Francisco District U.S. Army Corp for helping keep us safe.”

There are unfortunate deaths and water rescues every summer. This year is no exception. The Contra Costa Fire Department has reported these recent incidents: July 21 – Discovery Bay – water rescue after a 25-year-old male floated away. He was ultimately rescued. July 16 – Antioch Marina – water rescue… person fell off a jet ski. Both occupants on jet ski are back on land after being picked up by another boat. July 9 – Discovery Bay – water rescue in area of 1400 Discovery Bay Blvd. Crews in area attempting to locate. Per family, person jumped off the boat. Still unable to locate. Unknown outcome. July 4 – Bay Point — water rescue after a boat launch and engine not working, three people on a boat floating in the water. No medical, just a recovery of a boat that is not working.

In Sacramento the Drowning Accident Rescue Team (DART) says 2023 is the busiest year ever with an average years’ worth of rescues. Many of these take place at the confluence of the Sacramento River and the American River – Tiscornia Park. John Garza and his team are doing all they can to promote water safety. If you always wear your Personal Floatation Device (PFD) while underway in a boat it is hard to drown.

The San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office says there are at least 27 automobiles in the waters off of Eight Mile Road. It started when they were trying to locate a missing person and the last place his phone pinged was on Eight Mile Road. They found the missing person deceased in his car and found the other vehicles while they were looking.

Not to be outdone, the Sacramento Sheriff’s Office says they have retrieved several cars sunk in the Sacramento River near Twin Cities Road.

There is plenty of good boating weather left, it is even better now that things have cooled slightly. After Labor Day the crowds thin out.

Let me know what you are up to, send me your 300dpi jpeg photos! I can be reached at or call 916-869-9141.