Letters – by Our Readers



Captain Paul Ruff with the San Francisco Bar Pilots has advised that the Coast Guard is planning on removing the Radar Beacon (RACONS) on the San Francisco Approach Buoy Lighted Whistle Buoy. This device has not been working for over a year. At the most recent San Francisco Bay Harbor Safety Committee (HSC) meeting a question was raised as to whether or not recreational boaters continued to use the RACONS.

Captain Ruff is soliciting comments via e-mail at p.ruff@sfbarpilots.com.  

I have gotten his approval to approach you about posting something with regards to this item and he approved.

Thank you,
Jim Haussener


Thank you for the information. I invite all of our readers to make their comments directly. I for one appreciate the RADAR beacons at the sea buoy and at the many locations throughout the Bay.


Hi Jackie,

I saw on TV that there was a new program to “restore” marshlands on Cache Slough. I didn’t get the full report though, and all I saw was a bunch of heavy earth movers doing their thing. I was also looking for a blog by a gentleman named Tom Cannon that I met last spring on the Yuba. He’s written a blog about the Cache Slough project. He’s a fisheries biologist and had a really informative blog about the Yuba steelhead and salmon.

Although your work for the mag may not extend to this kind of reporting, I thought you might find it of interest. https://calsport.org/fisheriesblog/?author=2

Much like the tunnel, we have so many tax spenders finding new ways to recreate the Delta. They only have to call it by the right political term to justify it. What they’re mitigating I don’t know.

Dave Cowell
S/V Mas Tiempo

Hi Dave,

I agree with you about tax spenders and others “mitigating” and or “restoring” anything about the Delta. Personally, I think most politicians just want the water. I wonder whether maybe I should stop writing about the Delta, hope all those people just go away, leave it alone. But I don’t think that’s the way these things happen.

A fella with a sailboat up the dock from me walked down the other day. He and I were at Berkeley at the same time, and we both knew a professor of diplomatic history, Walter McDougall. He recalled asking Professor McDougall, “What should I do with my life so I will make a difference?” McDougall’s response? To paraphrase:

I will tell you this, but you will ignore me. All these students around here? They all want to make a difference. They will graduate and go to work for a nonprofit organization. If you do that, you’ll spend the next forty years of your life working for one nonprofit or another, but the difference you make will be miniscule. If you really want to make a difference you will graduate, go out and make a shitload of money. Money makes a difference when you talk about changing things.

The fella who told me this story was rueful, looked up at me on the bow of my boat. I asked him whether he had made a lot of money, but I was pretty sure I knew what his response would be because he owns an old Catalina, not a 50-foot Beneteau Oceanis. He just shook his head and we laughed together.

So, I don’t know what to do other than to keep writing.

Let’s stay in touch? Maybe you’ll come to RYC, race in the Great Pumpkin in the fall?



On Saturday, July 23rd on the Delta, we celebrated the 55 year anniversary of the Gin Barge Yacht Club, as shown in the center of its logo. Attached is a photo of Saturday’s event.

We had 65 guests, fourteen boats and the Contra Costa County Marine Patrol invited and in attendance.

You may remember our members as having Bead Boat One at Mandeville as part of the July 4th celebration for many years. 

In 2003, our group recognized Hal Schell for all his contributions to the Delta while we were at Mandeville for the July 4th celebration on the Bead Boat.

One of our guests developed a 74-page picture book detailing our years on the Delta from 1997 through 2022.

Bob Garzee 


Great to hear from you, it has been a while. Excellent name for a yacht club! I still have the beads you awarded me in 2009 in my personal museum of yachting.  Everyone that comes in asks about them.   You are a legend at Mandeville Tip.

You gave me a lot of beads, I weighed them one time – over a pound. I will have to break them out and wear them to a party one of these days! You should make some copies of your book as I am sure you would sell some copies to many of us Delta folk!

Please keep in touch, 

Hi Pat,

Have not talked with you for some time. I read your articles in “Lessons Learned” all the time. Here is a possible topic you might want to explore.

After 20+ years the Nova Kool RFU6200 refrigerator in my 39 Mainship finally quit. Since the unit was old, I explored the possibility of just getting a new refrigerator. I called several marine supply houses and Nova Kool searching for a replacement. I explored the internet from San Diego to Washington, to Miami and Canada. There are no replacements available that I can find. Nova Kool says that the lead time to get a new refrigerator is 24 to 26 weeks… maybe longer.

So, with that info I started to look for alternatives. Same problem with other marine refrigerators… none available. Part of the problem is the refrigerator is an odd size… about the size of a filing cabinet. Switching to a residential refrigerator is a possibility except they now use R600a refrigerant instead of the R134a. Also, I would have to do some substantial cabinet modifications.

Finally, I found a refrigeration tech who lives only about 20 minutes from the marina. He said he would pick up the refrigerator, rebuild it and then bring it back. He did some work on my RV several years ago and was real good to work with.

Perhaps you or some of your clients have had similar experiences with their refrigerators. I would like to know how they solved the problem. This topic would make a good article for Bay and Delta Yachtsman.

Hope you and Leslie are doing well.



Great hearing from you. You are always a source of great information.

As you have found, supply issues continue to plague the marine industry and deliveries of 6 months are not unusual for some products. I know that most of the marine and RV refrigerator manufacturers are using the DC voltage Danfoss compressors with the R134a refrigerant. Not sure the issue with the R600a refrigerant unless the fact that it is flammable (butane essentially) and not suitable for marine use.

I invite any of the readers to write in with their solutions to the dilemma.

Thank you for being a loyal reader all these years.


Send your letters to:

E-mail preferred.
Please refer to Writer’s Page for each writer’s personal e-mail address.