Delta Rat Scrapbook – by Bill Wells
West Coast Canvas
It has been a year or so since Efrain Garay and Scott Rumple took over West Coast Canvas. I was passing by their office and they kindly invited me in for an update. They have one of the best locations in the Delta, just east of the I-5 overpass on the Stockton Channel. They share the Boat Yard with Delta Marine Yacht Center, Marine Pros, Paradise Point Engine and Boat Repair, and J&H Marine. Collectively they can solve any challenge your boat might experience.
West Coast Canvas moved to Stockton after the Tower Park fire several years ago. It was a good move to a more centralized part of the Delta complete with great freeway access and a deepwater shipping port in their backyard. They had been in the Tower Park location since 1981.
Scott has some 12 years of experience in the business and Efrain has 38 years, I know Efrain does not look that old but he started with West Coast Canvas when he was twenty five. You can say they have a lot of miles behind them, the rest of the crew are all professionals with many years of experience and dedication.
They can do it all: canvas enclosures, bimini tops, screens, Isinglass, upholstery, windows, cabinetry, wood finishes, flooring. Call West Coast Canvas first and see what they can do. They like to sit down with a client and go over a wish list with them and then prioritize the projects.
They showed me around their shop. It is impressive with a resolute crew and a mix of classic modern equipment. I was most impressed with how Scott and Efrain are bringing the company forward and updating their process while keeping with the style and function that has always been West Coast Canvas. Canvas and upholstery work has always been a precision business, with the new additions Scott and Efrain hope to take West Coast Canvas to the next level.
Back in the Curt Page days he would tell me of projects the company completed on the yachts of the rich and famous. He told me he would have to kill me if I disclosed any of the information. Scott and Efrain have continued this tradition and are available to do discrete work on boats without drawing a lot of unwanted attention (they have not told me that I would be killed for having loose lips).
These are two guys with great personalities and vast canvas, interior, and business acumen. If you need canvas, decking, interior, and/or a new audio/video system for your vessel give them a call at 209-333-0243 or www.westcoastcanvas.com. Be sure to check out their website to see some of the beautiful work they have completed, I can’t do it justice in the magazine.
Jim Baumann invited me to join him and his clubmates at the best men’s club in Rio Vista – the Poppy House – for a gourmet lunch. I have been there a few times as Jim’s guest and it is always an honor to go.
The club, as you can imagine, is on Poppy House Road in Rio Vista, right near the Police Department. I got there about noon and there were already plenty of folks there. Jim Lira of Lira Markets is president, he was also bartending.
I bellied up to the bar and Jim poured me a glass of red wine. I saw my friend Gene Resler with Resler Realty who, like me, is a former resident of Maui. Gene also has a great nostalgia rock band – Afterglow. He plays lead guitar, does vocals and was accompanied this day by his drummer Jim Weyeneth. I think Gene teaches guitar in his spare time too.
The lunch was outstanding: tri tip, German potatoes and chili beans, with ice cream for dessert. I indulged in a second glass of wine during lunch and reached my limit.
The current lineup of Poppies (members) is Jim Lira – president, Eddie Woodruff, Edwin Okamura, Brian Spaulding, Jim Baumann, Jeff Shewmaker, Tom Donnelly, Everett C. Upham, Louie Lira, Carlo Guidi, Warren Gomes Jr. and Howard Lamothe.
There were several guests there including me. Chief of Police John Mayer was there along with Mitch Mashburn, Solano County Supervisor. After the social hour we sat down for lunch. The food next to the comradeship is the highlight. It was a great afternoon and great to see all these folks who are the business and government leaders of Rio Vista and the surrounding area. After I said my goodbyes, I headed over to the nearby Ox Bow Marina and took a power nap aboard my boat.
It is hard to believe but the Isleton Bridge over the Sacramento River celebrated its 100th anniversary in October. “On Oct. 27, 1923, the Isleton Chamber of Commerce held a dedication ceremony to open the 624-foot, two-lane bridge serving agricultural communities in the Delta.” A hundred years later, the Isleton Bridge still performs that mission. These bridges have to align with less than an inch of clearance. It is amazing that the crews can still keep them running.
The Isleton Bridge is a double-leafed draw bridge with steel roadway sections that draw up and away from each other to allow boats and ships to pass. This bridge type is also referred to as a bascule bridge, its French you know meaning “balance” because the bridge uses counterweights to open and close the moveable sections. The bridge takes State Route 160 from the east bank of the river to the west bank just upstream from the town of Isleton.
Senator Bill Dodd and Assemblymember Lori D. Wilson issued this proclamation: “On behalf of the people of the 11th Assembly District and 3rd Senate District, we extend our warmest congratulations on this historic occasion as Caltrans and the City of Isleton celebrate this 100th anniversary, marking decades of importance and relevance that this bridge has served to this region.”
Richmond Yacht Club (RYC)
Sue and I were invited to the club’s Members Recognition Reception by Jacqueline Philpott and John Dukat. I have actually been there a few times in the past. If you have never been there let me say it is handy to have a GPS to help. You have to drive through a tunnel to get to the club which is located in Point Richmond. We arrived on time and joined the crowd in the ballroom. These folks go first class, they produced a 36-page glossy booklet filled with recognition of members’ accomplishments. Members participated in the TransPac Race, the Single Handed Transpac, the El Toro North American Championship, plus their Beer Can Races and the Big Daddy Pursuit Race just to name a few. The RYC is a very active club with world-class sailors and four pages of volunteers in their booklet.
We stood in the short line for a glass of champagne and low and behold who was serving but my old friend and former Classic Yacht Association Commodore – Martin McNair accompanied by his lovely wife Margi. I think they are still on their honeymoon, they just got married about two short years ago. Martin is a longtime member of the club.
This is the event where the club recognizes the achievements of its members and rewards those members who have contributed to the betterment of the club. They also recognize the club’s best sailors, junior and adult.
Aside from hosting National Championships, running a unique beer can series, running an award-winning Junior program, doing the usual yacht club social events, hosting cruise-ins when they can squeeze them in, plus watching their members succeed in local, national and sometimes international races and seeing them do very well in long distance races (coastal, Pacific Cup and Transpac), the club even publishes a booklet of those racing results.
The Members Recognition Reception is a highlight of the club’s annual calendar and the winners are: Commodore’s Award – Anthony Kleppe, Vice Commodore’s Award – Chris and Alexandra Stump, Rear Commodore’s Award – Mary Louise Higgins, RYC Service Citation – Robin Van Vliet, The Motto Award – John Dukat (“This club (was) IS built for fun. It’s later than you think!”), Beer Can Season Champion – Andy Schwenk, Mikey Murison Memorial Sportsmanship Award – Renee Corpuz Lahne, Malcom Gregory Memorial Sailing Family Award – The Mercer Family, Cruiser of the Year Award – Dan and Elise Glasner, Junior Program Volunteer of the Year Award – Lorn Marcellini, Pelican Restoration Award – Chris Straub, Marginal Warf Outstanding Leader Award – Mark Vandenberg and Sailor of the Year Award – Haydon Stapleton.
Howard Paul won the “Booby Prize” for the beer can race series. I was a little confused with this, but it seems to be some kind of inside joke at the club. The prize is a framed sketch by noted Bay Area artist Jim DeWitt, which from a distance looks like the rear end of a horse but as you get closer you see it is a nude lady. Jim DeWitt crossed over the bar a year ago so I can’t talk to him to get an explanation. He was an RYC member and a prolific painter; his works are filled with color and action, reminiscent of Leroy Neiman’s works. Howard has suggested renaming the trophy the Boutée du Femme.
The club dates back to 1932 when 12 fellows got together to build a clubhouse they could use as a headquarters when they were not out sailing their boats. They had it built by the end of the year. After moving around the Point Richmond area during the 1930s and World War II the club started growing in earnest in the early 1950s. They moved to their current location in the 1960s, having purchased the land on Brickyard Cove.
In 1939 they were looking for a sailing dinghy that they could build to serve as a shore boat and for racing. They decided on the Sabot but wanted a few modifications like a centerboard, fixed rudder and a more secure mast. The El Toro was born and is now one of the most popular sailing dinghies in the world. The club continues to grow and attracts many creative and talented people. Some members have celebrated their 75th anniversary as members of the club.
San Joaquin Yacht Club (SJYC)
The club hosted the Delta Chambers mixer in November. The club went all out with a smorgasbord of great snacks. Most of the officers were dressed in their uniforms. Katherine Piccinini, who is running for Congress in the 10th District (covering much of the East Bay and extending up to Isleton) gave a talk about why she should be elected. Keep your eye on her, she has the potential to go far. They asked me to give a short update about the water war. It should heat up when the Department of Water Resources releases the revised Environmental Impact Report (it might be out by the time you read this). My old friend and former Delta Chambers president Jerry Fisher was there. Jerry was also the Commodore of the SJYC in 1999. It was good to see Susan Bernhard and Katie Senior along with many other friends.
The clubhouse is the old river steamer Sutter built in 1925. She could carry 750 tons of cargo and served for 25 years until the California highway system made her obsolete. She was eventually purchased by Captain John Moore and over a few years period was converted into Moore’s Riverboat Restaurant. It opened in 1966 and was an instant hit in the Delta. I don’t know whose idea it was to cover the overhead with women’s panties but that certainly added to the mystique, I still meet ladies who say their underwear was represented.
In 1993 there was a fire aboard the Riverboat and it put an end to the restaurant. The fire started in the kitchen and the cost to rebuild was prohibitive. Somehow SJYC club member (and future commodore) Andy Quick worked out a deal with Ken Scheidegger and purchased the vessel for a reported $1.00 as-is-where-is. They towed her over to Bethel Island and after some renovation they opened her up as their clubhouse. She is in a great spot on Dutch Slough. You can sit at the 100-foot bar and watch the boats go by. I think she might be the only wooden river steamboat left in the Delta. Of course, the engine was removed many years ago.
Stockton Maritime Museum
Sue and I were invited to their annual volunteer appreciation dinner at Dave and Karen Rajkovich’s ranch in Stockton on Veterans Day. Volunteers, supporters and veterans were included. I met a former captain of the USS Lucid “Pretty Boy” Floyd Fields. He is a real salty character. He admits to being 90-something years old and lives in Southern California. He drove all the way up for the event and stayed in a local Stockton hotel. When he wasn’t chasing the ladies, he regaled us with some great Lucid stories. He would have been a great commanding officer in the military. Tough as nails with an amazing sense of humor. He should have had his own television show.
They seem to find armament everywhere. I told you how they acquired a 40mm Bofors cannon and transported it from the East Coast to Stockton in a truck including a stop and inspection by law enforcement. This evening they were showing off a Browning M2 .50 caliber machine gun. It has been converted to operate on acetylene and oxygen so you would have the sound of a machine gun but no projectiles coming out of the barrel and no $5.00 per round ammo cost. It was on the principle of a carbide cannon but rapid fire.
Dave had his entire family there helping out bartending and serving. Sue and I sat with Cliff and Sally Kenst, friends from the Stockton Yacht Club. We enjoyed a great dinner and then Dave recognized some of the crew and followed that with a professional video showing the ongoing restoration of the ship. You can find the video here; it is well worth watching: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Wv0elAUaeU. It is amazing to see what Dave and his crew have accomplished over the last several years. I was there the day they towed this derelict ship to Stockton and started working on her. Since then, they have restored much of the interior, acquired parts from several other Navy ships including the aircraft carrier USS Ranger and acquired property on the Stockton Channel for a permanent home for Lucid. Dave should have been in the military; he is an expert at requisitioning needed parts and supplies for his projects. We used to call it “scrounging” in the Navy and there is a definite art to accomplishing your mission without creating a ruckus anywhere or creating any enemies. When this project is finished it is going to be a great addition to the Stockton waterfront.
My roving reporter Morris Lum attended the PICYA awards dinner at the Oakland Yacht Club. He files this dispatch: “As a motorboater I represent three yacht clubs as a Delegate for PICYA, (Pacific Inter-Club Yacht Assoc – approximately 110 yacht clubs of Northern CA). They have an annual awards presentation that includes many elements of recognition for what boating does for our region. At this year’s awards a luncheon was hosted by Oakland Yacht Club in Alameda (Sacramento Yacht Club is in West Sacramento, stuff happens).
“The lunch was outstanding, even though I had a little dim sum by myself next door at Pacific Lighthouse. That could be another article. I seated myself at a front and center table to get the pics of the award recipients. One never knows who I get to sit next to and ignore or drive crazy since I am concentrating on my camera. Things like eating fast or slow, is there time for dessert, is my tummy gonna explode and if my camera is taking up too much table space can drive me to act a little weird at times. As I size up my tablemates, I decide to small talk with the person on my left since I will be constantly turning in her direction while shooting pics. I don’t want her to think I’m some idiot tourist camera guy intruding on her space.
“So, I get to meet Molly Vandemoer, she said she helps with youth sailing. I love youth sailing. I have seen the young sailors at different yacht clubs. They have classes in those little two-person sailboats. It then becomes a sea of boats everywhere in the small space of a harbor during a youth regatta; an impressive sight. And when the racing is done, I watch as all the youth participants put away the sails, pull their boats out of the water, clean and put them all back in storage as many parents proudly wait for the comradery to end in happy exhaustion.
“Molly explained to me that she is the Executive Director at Peninsula Youth Sailing Foundation (PYSF). She helps our youth experience life through sailing beyond what our yacht clubs’ youth programs can do. I was so interested in hearing all the things she does with youth sailing. I was impressed and enthusiastic even more about youth sailing after our short tableside discussion. Molly accepted the award from PICYA that afternoon for the Chester Nimitz Perpetual Trophy for ‘Outstanding Junior Program for Northern California.’ And then I later discovered that Molly competed in the 2012 Summer Olympics in the Elliott 6m class coming in 5th overall with her teammates. She also won the World title in 2011 and came second in 2012 with teammates, and she was a high school national champion, and competed with the University of Hawaii at Manoa sailing team, where she was the captain of the women’s and co-ed teams, was named three-times ICSA All-American skipper, and won the ICSA Women’s Dinghy National Championship in 2001. She was awarded the Wayne Kight Memorial Trophy in 2001. She also won, with Anna Tunnicliffe, the Women’s Snipe World Championships in 2010.
“So, I was having lunch with this fantastic Olympian of Sailing, I hope my picture of her receiving the award is up to her standards and expectations. And did I mention I had lunch with Mrs. Stephens of Stephens Brothers Boats at her home on the water after the Stephens Rendezvous? That’s another story!”
There is a lot of silver and bronze that is awarded each year. The individual or club “signs a deed of gift” promising to return the trophy at the end of the year. This is necessary as there are people out there who would “forget” to return them otherwise.
International Sportsmen’s Exposition (ISE)
Don’t miss this great outdoor show; it is the best one in Northern California. The Delta Chambers will be there at booth 3317 in the Pavilion building. The chamber has been participating in this show for 15 plus years.
Outfitters come from all over the world to take part in this show. I have met folks from South Africa, South America, Alaska, Canada, you name it. They all offer some great hunting and fishing adventures. The City of Rio Vista usually has a booth and there will be some Delta Area resorts participating too.
You can have an adventure in the California Delta for a fraction of what it costs to visit a foreign country. Please stop by the Delta Chambers booth and learn more.
Your Tax Dollars At Work
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinburg has announced that the old Sequoia Hotel in downtown Sacramento is going to be restored and used to provide housing for 88 homeless people. The units will be 150 square feet of living area with communal bathrooms and kitchens. You might ask: Gosh Bill, how much will this cost? Well, Ken, the tab will be $50,000,000 which works out to about $570,000 per resident. That is why we call helping the homeless situation the “homeless industrial complex” and every major city in California has similar problems. There are huge profits to be made by the more equal people that work on these projects exploiting the unhoused. I own a three-bedroom, two bath home with a swimming pool and a .5 acre lot in Sacramento County. I am not sure I could get $570,000 for it. For this kind of money, you could buy each homeless person a nice yacht to live on. This is just more government insanity. Darrell Steinburg was California Senate President pro Tempore before he was elected mayor by the good people of Sacramento. When he was in the Senate, he was an advocate of the Schwarzenegger/Brown $75 billion plan to divert the Sacramento River around the Delta. When he was running for mayor one of his opponents discovered that he was secretly working for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. He still won by 54 percent, and in the next election he won by 77 percent. So, just like John Laird, he bounces into a new position where he squanders more of the taxpayers’ money at will. Rumor has it he is going to retire after completing this term; I don’t think the city can afford another four years of him. He is quoted as saying: “As mayor of a major city, I’m deeply aware of the toll our homelessness crisis is taking on our police officers, our business owners and our neighborhoods; how it tears at the fabric of our community.” Steinburg was appointed to be co-chair of the California homeless taskforce in 2019. Since then, the homeless population in Sacramento has risen from about 2,500 people to over 10,000.
Pam Bay was a devoted wife to her husband, local yacht broker Marc Bay. She supported him in all his endeavors and adventures. She was known for her loving, caring, charismatic, funny and quick-witted personality. Pam’s family meant the world to her, and she played a large role in raising her three grandchildren. In addition to her husband Marc, Pam leaves behind her daughter, LaDawn Kain and her grandchildren Brandon Carlson, Zac Carlson and Samantha Johnson. She will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved her. Pam had a strong connection to the military as a U.S. Navy spouse. She proudly served alongside her husband for four years on active duty and four years in the reserve.
Throughout her career, Pam held various roles including convenience store manager, Chief Financial Officer/Vice President at Bay Yachts, Inc. and a position at the State of California Department of Developmental Services. When she was not working, Pam enjoyed traveling, boating, playing bingo and three-card poker. Her adventurous spirit and love for exploring new places brought her joy throughout her life. In memory of Pamela Kay Bay, contributions can be made to the Arthritis Foundation, a cause that was close to her heart. Pam Bay will be remembered for her unwavering love for her family, her dedication to her husband and her vibrant personality. May she rest in peace, knowing she made a lasting impact on the lives of those around her. Thanks to Marc Bay for input.
J Mills sailed his boat Salty Dancer in the Baja Ha-Ha rally down the coast of California, Baja California, and ended up at Cabo San Lucas and then on to La Paz. We told you the story last summer of how he cruised her from Puget Sound to Stockton. He has spent the last few months outfitting her for the trip to Mexico. He enlisted Blair Hake along with Sally Delia and Tim Mueller to make the voyage with him. They covered 1345 nautical miles and spent 258 hours sailing. My sources tell me that there were 95 boats in the rally. They made a couple of stops on the way down. One boat trying to enter Turtle Bay at night cut the entrance too close, hit a rock and was totally destroyed. The crew was rescued unharmed. It looks like everyone else had a fabulous time judging from their photos. I am confident that J and/or Blair will provide a full report in the near future.
Corrine Corley, a friend of mine who lives in Isleton has just opened her new artists collective in greater downtown Isleton at 60 Main Street. It is called Mubdies. I think at this writing she has 12 or so artists and artisans showing their creations. Isleton is undergoing a renaissance with several new businesses. You should drop by soon and check them out. Corrine not only has paintings, photographs and objects de art, but also sells books from the Isleton Library. Ok, she is not stealing them, Friends of the Library is placing them there on consignment. The great news is that they are only $1.00 each (cash only). Corrine is a charming lady and a valuable community activist in Isleton; you won’t go wrong in her store. The name is Arabic, Corrine’s grandfather was Syrian. It means a creative person or someone who creates something new out of another object. Check the store hours at 916-926-2896 or look on her social media page.
Hydro Dave Hernandez checks in from Arizona. His team won their final race of the year. They were running a 540-cubic-inch supercharged motor running on methanol in their hydroplane. They were competing on a 1,000-foot course. The driver was Matt Hudson and he made the run in 5.8 seconds. I asked Dave why they did 1,000 feet instead of a quarter mile and he explained that the boats are so powerful that they would be too dangerous in a quarter mile.
I have told you about my friend Bob Chatfield before. He is an expert on Corvettes and hot rods and helped me restore my 1956 Corvette many years ago. His father was in the Sacramento Yacht Club in the 1950s and 1960s. When Bob was young the family would spend summers aboard their boat on Steamboat Slough and his dad would commute to work in Sacramento. When Bob and I graduated from the 8th grade his dad took Bob, Mike Collins and a couple of other graduates for a boat ride on the Sacramento River. He let each of us steer for a time. The highlight for me was almost running the vessel into the Tower Bridge. Bob found his dad’s old Sacramento Yacht Club belt buckle and gave it to me for my birthday. It is cool, made of solid brass and high quality, the way they used to make things. I will wear it every time I go to the club from now on.
I bought myself an espresso coffeemaker for Christmas. I love espresso coffee, but like more than a two-ounce cup. I devised a way to make an eight-ounce cup of espresso with the machine and now it is perfect.
Here we are kicking off a new year. Let me know what you are up to.
Don’t forget to set your new camera for 300 dpi so you can submit photos to publications for possible inclusion.