The Co-Publisher – by Ty Mellott

As we are in the 55th year of Bay & Delta Yachtsman this month, I thought it would be fitting to go back in time a little before opening the curtain to the future if you will.

Cover of the first edition printed in September of 1965.

Bay & Delta Yachtsman began its journey in the town of Rio Vista, with the first issue being printed coincidentally enough during the very same month as my birth, Sept 1965. Now of course I do not remember this day but to the boaters of the Bay & Delta, it may have been a day to remember in that, their wishes were granted in having a publication that kept them abreast to all things about boating at the time. On our 50th anniversary we put out a special edition that in the best way I saw possible, encapsulated important events in nearly every year of being published. It does not surprise me to this day that I still run into someone who will mention or display that milestone of an issue. It was a huge undertaking but very rewarding in the end upon completion and print.

The 50th anniversary issue is still seen around today.

The first edition and those following for several years thereafter were of tabloid style and printed on newsprint type paper. As the following and popularity of the publication increased, although still in tabloid format, the cover started appearing with a slick gloss which added to its appeal. Even though years before, the cover included colorful artwork it was when the slick was debuted in the 80’s that made it even more visually appealing to the eye.

Somewhere in the early 90’s the magazine format as well as quality changed again. Rather than the tabloid style, the change included going to a regular magazine format and had slick gloss paper from cover to cover. This made an impact as there were plenty that did not like the change, but with a growing subscription base it became easier to mail the copies than the tabloid presented. There were naysayers of course but I think that the fact that the content remained the same and the quality increased, they were eventually won over.

February 1997 Bay & Delta Yachtsman, the first issue I was involved with after coming to Recreation Publications.

The magazine took on a completely new look with the closing of the year 2005. This new look was an idea that did not go over nearly as well as the tabloid to regular format however. If you remember it, you are going to immediately remember which side of the fence you resided on concerning the look presented to you.

Square! Oh, so you do remember! I am laughing but mind you it is still to this day a nervous laugh. I do not recall what the exact percentage of those that liked or disliked was but I do know that it was more on the dislike side. I tried… I tried for a long time to either convince those that did not like it or to wait them out until they did. Well, easy to see now who won that stand-off. I would probably say now, being younger then and it being some of my idea to change to square, that it was more ego than not, in letting it go for as long as we did. Regardless, lesson learned as Pat Carson might say, and we have all moved on to become the best of friends once again. The cover went back to regular size with the production of the April 2008 issue that debuted at the Spring Boat Show held at Jack London Square.

You either hated it, or loved it as there were very little in the middle.

It was a huge success and a fun show with all the people that came to my booth to debate the size debacle of the past few years.

My journey with Bay & Delta Yachtsman has always been more than just a job to me and although I was prepared for the unexpected, there have been a few things along the road that tested that preparedness without a doubt. However, COVID-19 was not only the harshest to hit but the most unexpected. It was a very difficult decision made earlier to not print the April and May issues. In all the 55 years of publishing, we did not miss one month and it affected me greatly, no matter how close to the helm I stood. One thing that was the silver lining however is that it brought more attention to the website and our online editions. It also brought attention in a bad way for those that had nothing else but time on their hands to spend hacking websites. We unfortunately fell into that group of being hacked. Nearly 12 years of archives were gone in a moment. We made do with what we could yet you still visited the pieced back site. We are currently working on a revamped site that will bring with it more options. I look forward to this next change and informing you when the site is completed, and although I wish I could here today, I at least wanted to have it in your mind.

In 2008, readers were glad to see the regular size back in their hands.

I look forward to being a part of bringing to you each month, your copy of our publication whether it be in print or digital format. If there is something of history, events or just general boating activities you would like covered, we would enjoy hearing from you. That includes your likes and dislikes if you have any. I want to continue in publishing this as your Bay & Delta publication as you have enjoyed in the past.

I look forward to seeing you on the water, and if you wish to share anything with me, feel free.