Delta Rat Scrapbook – by Bill Wells
Stockton Yacht Club Change Of Watch
Like many other clubs and organizations, the Stockton Yacht Club has had a couple of challenging years with the pandemic. They have done well under the command of Commodore John Contreras for the last two years. It is good to see them getting back to normal with a fun-filled year of 2022 on tap. We had a great time at the clubhouse along with about 100 other members and friends of the club at their Installation of Officers and Directors for 2022. We sat with Don and Nita Rienhart and caught up on the latest information about the Stockton Historical Maritime Museum (USS Lucid). Don says they have acquired some property on the channel in downtown Stockton near the Waterfront Warehouse that will be the eventual home of the USS Lucid. He also told us they have their 40-millimeter cannon mounted on the deck and are building a splash tub around it. Their five-year plan seems to be coming along nicely.
We had a chance to enjoy a glass of wine before dinner and relax a bit. The club has a full galley and serves great food. Tonight was no exception as we were served by the Sea Scouts on tables with white linens and red napkins – very classy.
Presently, Commodore Contreras introduced the master of ceremonies, Linda Contreras. After the salute to the flag and an invocation by Staff Commodore Bob Cain, Linda introduced local luminaries. John introduced the 2022 bridge: Commodore Bill Jones, Vice Commodore Marina Faconti, Port Captain Bill Jones, Facilities Manager Dennis Calvird, Treasurer Colleen Waterhouse, Assistant Treasurer Cliff Kenst, Secretary Mickey Johnson and Board Chairman Roger Beebe.
The Stockton Yacht Club continues to be one of the best yacht clubs in the Delta. The shady grounds on the bank of the Calaveras River are a great place to hang out and attend events.
Tribute To “Buffalo” Bill Conner
“Madcap” Mary Pelican (the Delta’s Ambassador of Fun) put together a moving tribute to the King of the Delta in January. Dave and Marsha Theis and Jerry Wolfe donated Windmill Cove for the festivities. Mary and her sister, Carol Goedde put the program together. The festivities started at noon on what started as a foggy Delta Saturday, but as the day progressed the sun came out and it ended up being springlike.
Mary MC’d the affair and kicked it off with a video of Bill’s life on his barge, followed by Bill’s children speaking. His son, David Ray gave a moving eulogy followed by daughter Cindy Conner Ray, son Eric Conner, granddaughter Brenna Oglesby and great-granddaughter Ava Ray. They all spoke of what a good father and grandfather Bill was. Several of Bill’s friends provided anecdotes about him, including Dave Theis and others. Legendary bartender Fill-em-up Phil was on hand naturally and recited some of his experiences slinging drinks at Lost Isle and his friendship with Bill. We met Dr. Brian Crawford, a chiropractor who says he has kept Phil alive for the last 30 years.
I have never seen such a large collection of purple jacketed people in my Delta tenure. It was like they came out of nowhere and everywhere in Northern California. Folks came from all over. Most of the jackets were in great shape like they had been in hope chests waiting for a day to be resurrected. I have a copy of the SSSC bulletin from 1990 where Hal Schell announces that he has embroidered purple club windbreakers for sale for only $25.00 each. There were approximately 120 people attending the event, with the excess of people out on the deck overlooking the river. Bill’s favorite lunch of mac and cheese was served to the attendees. Bill was certainly one of the most colorful Delta Rats in history. He was born in Arizona but moved to Stockton at an early age. He served in the Marines during the Korean conflict. After being honorably discharged from the Marines, he moved back to Stockton and became a salesman before taking over Lost Isle.
He moved his family to Lost Isle, which made it a little tricky for his children to get to school every day. They would take a boat from Lost Isle to a friend’s house where they would catch a bus to school. There are literally thousands of colorful stories about Bill Conner. The Delta Chambers gets calls every year from people that have heard of Lost Isle and want to find out if it is still in operation. They call from as far away as New York – the legend of Bill Conner continues.
Bill Conner, the King of the Delta is gone, but he will live in our hearts forever. You can watch Gene Beley’s video of the event here: https://vimeo.com/667064050. The video ends with Bill’s friend Peter Kuo playing a moving rendition of the Marine Hymm on the violin.
Sacramento Bayliner Club (SBC)
My ACE reporter, Daniel Witte files this dispatch from the Sacramento Bayliner Club, “Sacramento Bayliner Club held their change of watch party at the Firehouse Restaurant in Sacramento on Jan. 15. There were 14 members in attendance and everyone had a wonderful time. The Firehouse was actually an old firehouse at one time and there is still a fireman’s pole. While the pole isn’t in its original place in the building, it is still on display for everyone to see.
“The service at the Firehouse was great, and so was the food. People had a choice of grilled salmon, chicken or filet mignon. In addition, the servers were very prompt at bringing everyone appetizers and meal courses.
“Before dinner, the club honored Peter Cremer, a former member who passed away back in 2007. He left his 40-foot aft cabin to the club in his will and the proceeds from selling it have contributed significantly to many special events and change of watch parties for the past 15 years. Everyone drank a small glass of Sierra Nevada which was Peter’s favorite beer and clinked glasses for a toast. Those that knew Peter all had a funny story to tell about him. As I understand it, even when Peter was older, he still appreciated the people who helped them when he came to the United States from Germany at age 10 with his grandmother. They had very little when they arrived and people were very generous. He never forgot that and would tell the story. He later started his own auto repair business and was very successful. As the years passed, Peter was able to live a very good life and live the American dream.
“At 8:00 p.m. Commodore Rich Santerelli introduced the new officers and everyone cheered. The new officers for 2022 are Commodore Janice Simcoe, Vice Commodore Steve Messick and Treasurer Michelle Offermann. Additional board members are Sally Johnson and Sam McKillip. This will be Sam’s first time as a director in the club since he joined last year. After the invocation, everyone had glasses of champagne and received gift bags which included membership cards for 2022 and drink coasters for each boat.
“SBC is a great club that has monthly cruises to a variety of locations. During the winter they tend to visit yacht clubs from Pittsburg all the way up to Stockton. Summers are spent anchored at various places in the Delta, with lots of fun activities and taking dinghy rides out to lunch at popular watering holes such as Windmill Cove and Rusty Porthole. There are some great cruises planned for this year, including a raft out at Mandeville Tip for the annual Hilton Fireworks show. SBC is always looking for new members. If you are interested, visit sacramentobayliner club.org and contact Steve Messick through the website.”
Sacramento Yacht Club (SYC)
Commodore Danielle Love Rawlings reports in from the SYC. “Shriners Hospital Rally 4 Kids Toy Drive was a huge success, thanks to the Sacramento Yacht Club. If a boat hasn’t been a part of this event, it has now!
“SYC made an appearance delivering a boatload of toys and a generous donation of $5,000 to the Shriners Hospital. All the money came from the Sacramento Yacht Club membership. What a fabulous group! Their commodore couldn’t be any prouder.”
I think the club has kind of gone to the dogs. In their “Wingdammer” newsletter, they have a column written by Abby Rawlings “Pit Bull Extraordinare”, a member of Danielle’s family. The column is called – what else? Dear Abby. Abby answers questions such as: “How does an intimidating dog like a Rottweiler or pitbull get accepted at the Sacramento Yacht Club?” The answers are witty and practical such as: Don’t pee on peoples legs, be friendly and wag your tail and don’t sniff butts – you get the idea.
When I had my Airedale he loved to go on my boat and hang out with my friends. Unfortunately, he passed away and I think the cat I have now would freak out if I brought him on a boat.
International Sportsmen’s Exposition
After a hiatus of a year because of COVID, the Sportsmen’s Expo was back on for Jan. 2022. The Delta Chambers had the same booth they have had for the last 15 or so years. Most of the same exhibiters were back for this show. Our friends from Twin Rivers Marine Insurance were nearby, and the Rio Vista Chamber had a deluxe booth right in the middle of the main building. Our booth was staffed every day by recognized Delta experts. Ty Mellott and Blair Hake were on hand the first day, Chris Lauritzen from Lauritzen Yacht Harbor and his team were there the next day, Saturday brought in Eric Chiu from Park Delta Bay, along with famous local yachtsman Peter Robertson and on Sunday your correspondent and the lovely Sue Wells entertained the visitors. Morris Lum, photographer extraordinaire dropped by every day to help out and record the event with his camera. The turnout seemed to be somewhat lighter than in past years, but the crowd was certainly enthusiastic. There are many resorts and outfitters featured at the show that are out-of-state or outside the U.S. People should really consider the Delta as a vacation destination. We have as much or more to offer than many of the places thousands of miles away, and if you live in California you can travel here for next to nothing. We met Jeff Soo Hoo of Soo Hoo Sport Fishing who had his booth just around the corner from us. Jeff contributes to Ken Baccetti’s fishing column that the chamber publishes every month. Ken has taken over the responsibility since Jay Sorensen crossed over the bar. He is an expert on the Delta and is doing an excellent job with the report.
Delta Chamber Mixer
Well, with the new COVID strain making its way around California, gatherings are still somewhat unpredictable. We try to schedule chamber mixers months in advance, but it is impossible to predict with certainty. Due to a last minute cancellation of a mixer, the Village West Yacht Club stepped up to the plate and sponsored the event. Commodore Sonia Mountjoy and her team pulled it off without a hitch. They came up with a menu of pulled pork, salad and cookies, you name it. The bar was definitely open and the day was saved.
If you have cruised by the attenuator dock at Willow Berm Marina in the last few months, you probably saw this majestic vessel tied there. Come to find out, she is listed for sale with the Seattle Yachts office in Alameda. Ty thought this was something that would interest me, and he was correct. He introduced me to Seattle Yachts yacht broker Gena Kraft, who offered to give me a tour of Sacajawea. We met at the Willow Berm Marina parking lot and went aboard the vessel where she introduced me to the owners, Brian Hofstetter and Jessica Rollins. We sat in the saloon at the aft of the ship. Brian and Jess gave us her history. This was originally an open deck exposed to the stern and there is a huge towing bitt mounted on the deck of the saloon. They built a table over it, but the top of the bitt protrudes through the top of the table. The bitt is a great conversation starter. It must weigh a couple of tons or more and is pretty much hidden under the table, except for the holes in the table where it is exposed. Brian says the bitt was used a few years back when Sacajawea was used to tow the former cruise ship, Aurora from her berth in San Francisco to her current location in Stockton on Little Connection Slough.
Presently, Brian and Jess took us on a tour. This is a real ship with a steel plate riveted hull and built to withstand the heaviest seas. Rivets are a great way to hold a steel ship together, but nowadays I don’t think anyone could afford to use them in construction. Some of you old folks might remember that when shipyards started welding ships together instead of riveting them, there were problems with them breaking apart in cold weather, a problem since solved.
Sacajawea was originally launched in 1936 for the U.S. Corps of Engineers and used for research and surveying in Alaskan waters. At one time, she was fitted with an icebreaker on the bow. There is a legend that one time in a past life she cut a 100-foot wooden fishing boat in half after t-boning it in the fog. She was built by the Lake Washington Shipyard in Seattle and spent her early years in the north mapping areas around Alaska and the Bering Sea. In 1942 after World War II broke out, she was transferred to the U.S. Navy and used as a patrol vessel in Alaskan waters. She was renamed Large Tug 666 by the Navy. Later, during the Cold War she cruised the Bering Sea near the Russian border gathering information for the U.S. Government.
She was originally powered with hybrid diesel electric motors. She is believed to be the first vessel outfitted with this type of drive. You might remember that the snag boat Putah/Mansion Belle launched in 1942 was originally equipped with diesel/electric drive. Currently, Sacajawea has a Caterpillar D398 engine and cruises at about 7.5 knots using 12-15 gallons of fuel per hour. She has a range of approximately 5,000 miles. Her propeller is driven by a seven-inch diameter shaft. Apparently, there is grant money available to convert her back to a hybrid drive with electric power, which is very popular in the 21st century. She is also equipped with a Victro Energy 30 KW inverter system (yes! 30 kilowatts!). There is 240, 120, 24 and 12-volt electricity available. I think overall Sacajawea could be used to supply enough electricity to power a small city. There is also a compressor system for filling SCUBA tanks when you are on your expedition.
There are nine cabins and six heads including the crew cabins. She sleeps about 22 people. You could live aboard with a large family and be able to stay out of each others way. The upper deck is equipped as a helicopter pad (the helicopter is not included in the sale price.) She also has a 21-foot rigid inflatable shore boat with a hydraulic crane to lift her off the upper deck and into the water.
One of the greatest features to me is the hydraulic anchor windlass. It is like the mother of all windlasses, and will easily raise the few hundred feet of anchor chain the vessel is equipped with, along with the anchor. Sacajawea is 125 feet overall with a 25-foot beam and nine-foot draft. The fresh water tank holds 5850 gallons (there is a watermaker if you get low). She holds 8000 gallons of fuel and is equipped with a 220-gallon holding tank. Her navigation equipment is state of the art naturally with two radars, a GPS chart plotter and autopilot.
There are a lot of possibilities with this classic yacht. She has been in charter service and would make a great ship to cruise the Bay & Delta. She would easily cruise Mexico or the Pacific Northwest. With her 5,000-mile range, you could cruise roundtrip from San Francisco to Honolulu and back without refueling. Think about cruising to Alaska to get glacier ice for your cocktails. You are only limited by your imagination. She is currently available for 12-pack charters or dockside parties for larger groups. For more information or to make an appointment to see her, please contact Gena Kraft at 510-227-2100.
Taste Of The Delta
The Taste of the Delta is on for 2022. Please join us at Village West Marina on Aug. 6 for this great event sponsored by the California Delta Chambers & Visitor’s Bureau and Village West Marina. Other sponsorships are available. Mark your calendars, we will update as soon as we have more details. The Sausalito Yacht Club and the Classic Yacht Association will be cruising in to the marina for the event. We cancelled the last two year’s event for an abundance of caution during the pandemic.
This will be number 19 for this event. It was started by Vickie Baumann originally and has proven to be a very popular gathering, showcasing Delta Area wines, craft beers and restaurants. It has been held at locations throughout the Delta over the years and Village West Marina is certainly an excellent venue. There will be artists, craft vendors, live music, prizes, an auction and a lot of fun. Don’t miss this great summer party. If you are interested in participating, send an email to email@example.com
John Francis Accettola crossed over the bar in Napa, California. He passed away on Dec. 25, 2021 at the age of 71, leaving behind family and friends.
John was born in Cleveland, Ohio, but lived in California for much of his life. He was predeceased by his parents, Joseph Accettola and Frances Accettola (Loizzi). John is survived by his loving wife Carol, who was at his side until the end.
John was a well-known fellow around the Delta with many friends. He was a dealer for Poly Lift boat lifts for years and even had a graphic saying as much on the side of his go-fast runabout. John used his boat often, would be seen cruising all around the Delta and attending many boating events with his beautiful wife.
Back in the days when there were many boat shows, John would have his booth at every one. There was a comradeship between the Delta Chambers, Mike Foster of Lost Isle and John’s Poly Lift booth. We all tried to have our booths near each other and indeed would help each other out and cross-pollinate to each other’s booths. John was always special. He had a fully stocked bar built into his booth. As you might imagine, it was very popular and a lot of us would hang out there during the shows. If you were an attendee to any of these late 90’s and early 2000’s boat shows, you will recall John as the guy who would demonstrate the strength of his lifts’ toughness by beating on them with a baseball bat. We all miss him. The family is requesting that any donations go to Alzheimer’s research.
Ken Baccetti, the president of the Isleton Chapter of the Striped Bass Association advises us of the passing of Barry Canevaro, “I must pass on to you that our fishing community recently lost a member of our family. It is with great sadness that I report to you that Captain Barry Canevaro passed away on the evening of Dec. 31, 2021. Barry was a legendary pioneer in the fishing community and the charter boat business. He was a past CSBA State Board resident, our Isleton Delta Chapter founder and past president, as well as a longtime board member of the Isleton Delta Chapter. Barry spent most of his life fishing the waters of the Delta, San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. He was well-respected and admired by everyone he encountered every day. The fact that he guided professionally for over 40 years and fished with his clients over 300 days a year attests that he loved fishing and interacting with people. I personally will miss Barry as he was my mentor when it came to fishing, but most of all a great friend. Rest in Peace my friend.”
John Contreras, staff commodore of the Stockton Yacht club reports on the passing of members. “Some of our members may not have heard that longtime member Frieda Costa passed away in December. No services were held. Also, another longtime member, Linda Fuller passed earlier this month. Her husband Mike will notify us of any plans for services.”
Yosemite Foulks has sailed on the outgoing tide. Generally, I don’t mention pets passing, but YoYo (his nickname) was special. He was one of the cutest dogs I have ever encountered and was a beloved member of the Foulks family. Every time I was around him you could feel his charisma and you had the feeling that he was completely aware of everything going on around him. YoYo was always the center of attention wherever he presented himself. He knew he was cute. Thom, Wendy and their son Tyler are understandably heartbroken with his sudden demise. I am confident that he is up in doggy heaven chasing cats around as you read this.
Sam Schleder, the beloved office manager of Village West Marina has announced that Santa brought her a boyfriend named Tyler for Christmas. I think things might be serious! Tyler is a very lucky young man. We will keep you posted as matters develop.
You will find my friend Jackie Philpott’s article in this edition of Bay & Delta Yachtsman. She is a great person with an excellent sense of humor and a great personality. She is extremely knowledgeable about boating in the Bay Area. I first met her when she came up to the Delta to do some exploring. She ended up interviewing me for her book. It has just been published and bares the title, What I Saw: Sailing in the California Delta. Even if you are a powerboater, you should get a copy for some excellent insights about the Delta. When I found out she was going to have a guest article published in this month’s issue, I emailed her to congratulate her while she was on vacation in Wisconsin. By the time you read this, I am confident she will be back to the (relatively) warm weather in California.
The Pacific Interclub Yacht Association needs information from your club to finish the latest edition of the Yachting Yearbook. Find them at http://picya.org/
Mike and Jules Guzzardo, the award winning real estate team from Discovery Bay has announced a new member of the team, Rockstar agent – Jenny Biczkow.
Someone at Tower Park Marina is painting “kindness rocks” and leaving them around the marina for people to discover. I have seen a few, each one is a work of art. What a great idea to bring in a little fun during these stressful times.
The latest variant of the COVID virus is making its rounds out there. Now we find that those cute cloth masks we have been wearing for the last two years are ineffective and we need to wear an N-95 mask. Make sure you know where they come from and be on the lookout for counterfeits.