What I Saw – by Jackie Philpott

Mubadala United States Sail Grand Prix

Here’s what I saw on Friday Mar. 25.

The publisher sent me to St. Francis Yacht Club with a press pass. Me. With a press pass.

I was totally clueless about what to do. For example, I wore sailing clothes. Yeah. What a rube, huh? Everybody was speaking Dutch, French, German and Australian. They were all wearing…well, nicer clothes than me. I was wearing my Race Committee jacket from the 2016 SHTP. I love that jacket. I’ve almost worn it out I love it so much.

Anyway, St. Francis is the place to go for pastries and coffee. The restrooms are nice, too. There is even mouthwash in the ladies’ room. I don’t know if there was mouthwash in the men’s room because I didn’t check.

Danish Sail GP boat.

There were rows of hot desks looking out on the Bay. You don’t know what a hot desk is? Well, that’s because it’s a secret language for media people like me. A hot desk is one that has lots of extension cords (white, to match the leather seats) plugged into electrical outlets. So now you know. The outlets are for all the very expensive television cameras, camcorders, laptops and iPhones. I only had my 3-year-old iPhone SE.

First, we all listened to the representative of a television station interview the ocean racing Rockstars of Sail GP. They really were The Rockstars. If you follow international sailing, you know who they are. They were very articulate about racing the foiling cats and enthusiastic about what it took for their teams to win the Grand Prix Mubadala competition. It didn’t seem to have anything to do with what most sailors do on the Bay, but everybody was very positive about the upcoming weekend.

Jordi Xammer, Spain; Nathan Outteridge, Japan; Tom Slingsby, Australia and Jimmy Spithill, United States.

Everybody was quite nice, especially the two Aussies. They are excellent specimens of Down Under. Ben Glover is editor of the Wide World of Sports which can be found at https://wwos.nine.com.au

Neither fella had a business card. Business cards are so yesterday. I gave them one of mine and Ben sent his article on to me the next day. What a swell guy, huh? Australians know sailing. They know what was going on and it wasn’t sailing. It was aerospace technology on the San Francisco Bay.

Then I went outside and smiled at Kendall, the nice woman who was in charge of the VIP shuttles. I don’t think I was meant to be on the shuttle because of my clothes and all, but I offered to sit in the furthest back part and no one objected. Everybody was very polite over at St. Francis.

We were driven down the peninsula to India Basin where there was a tech village for all the countries’ tents and temporary offices.

It was as big as a small European town and full of people dressed in clothes with the SailGP logo on them. Everybody seemed to know exactly what they were about. Pier 96 is one of South San Francisco’s loading areas for container ships.

Quentin Delapierre, France; Nicolai Sehested, Denmark; Peter Burling, New Zealand and Ben Ainslie, United Kingdom.

But back to arriving at the tech village in the VIP shuttle. There was an actual red carpet laid out for the VIPs like in the movies. As I said, I don’t think I was supposed to be there, but as David Nabors once said, “Wherever you go, there you are.” So, I followed the red carpet into the welcome office made of an all-glass shipping container. Inside there were lots of smiling people and also, yes, an espresso machine! So, I ordered up a latte with oat milk. Seriously, it was such a nice surprise.

Mubadala United States Sail Grand Prix Tech Village, India Basin San Francisco.

Then we went on a guided tour. Here’s what I saw.

At the end of every night they unstep the masts and put the boats away. Here’s a photo of the bright red crane used for just that purpose.

Team Japan mainsail being lowered.

While I was there, I also watched the crane as the driver gently laid the sail down so a bedtime team could roll it into its own warehouse. It was impressive. Here is a photo of the wing frame for one of the foiling catamarans being built from scratch from the inside out. The frame is approximately half-inch solid carbon fiber.

Then it was time to get back on the VIP shuttle to return to the City Front. So, I did. There was a filmmaker in the middle seat, Gareth Kelly. He has made a film about the photographer Sharon Green. His company is called Bowline Films and he was quite nice and funny. He’s from the Lake District in England which he described as, “You know Wordsworth? Beatrix Potter? That area.” Sharon Green was in the far backseat with me. She’s pretty and petite and has even shorter legs than me. You’ve seen her work. It’s called Extreme Photography. She also prints an Extreme Photography calendar. Her photographs are very impressive action shots taken in very exotic waters.

Carbon fiber construction of wingframe for catamaran.

After the tour we arrived back at St. Francis where they served the media a hot lunch. This gig, I’m liking it. Then I headed over to the Golden Gate Yacht club where there were RIBs with really big engines lined up at the guest dock. Those Golden Gate members; they are really good sports. They were all in GGYC jackets reaching for lines and shoving the boats off the docks with smiles on their faces. Everybody was having a nice time.

Golden Gate has always been very generous to the Singlehanded Sailing Society by making its race deck available to them for years for their most important races such as the Three Bridge Fiasco, the biennial Long Pac and the Singlehanded Transpacific Race to Kauai.

So, I moseyed on down the dock to a really nice-looking boat with two 190 hp engines. Ruben Davila, the driver, is from New Orleans so he knows how to be charming and welcoming. He was also in the U.S. Navy, so he knew how to manage that big powerful boat.

Ruben was waiting for some VIPs, but they never showed up so he handed me a brand-new PFD. Every boat had lots of brand-new PFD’S with Sail GP imprints. Molly Vandemoer, a past Olympic sailor and director of the Peninsula Youth Sailing Foundation ran over and jumped in the boat. Then we were off, banging off the waves in the Bay which were getting bigger and bigger. It was so much fun!

Molly Vandemoer and Ruben Davila.

We bashed around on the water and watched the catamarans as they practiced for the upcoming weekend races, then came back into the San Francisco small boat harbor again to collect five VIPs. We went out again and bashed around on the water some more, watched until the big cats were tired then came back to the Golden Gate Yacht Club docks where the members caught our lines again and tied up the boats like sailors.

I thanked Golden Gate Yacht Club members Ruben and Molly. Then I went back to St. Francis YC. But really, there was nothing left for me to do there. So, I drove home.

Where Do Boat Parts Come From

Sometimes they come down the chimney, yes. But Santa can’t bring everything, and besides, those are the gifts that you bought and wrapped up for yourself, anyway. In the San Francisco Bay Area, boat parts also come in a Ford Transit van with Amazon, Svendsen’s Bay Marine or UPS painted on the side. I even have a friend who gets a 40 percent professional discount at West Marine. He buys his boat parts there.

Barney Howard, co-owner of Outboard Motor Shop with his dog, Kota.

Today I’d like you to think historically because every idea comes from somewhere further back, and so do boat parts. Well, okay, let’s limit it to the past century. In fact, let’s keep it simple and just admit that for the past 96 years boat parts have come from the Outboard Motor Shop. It’s on Kennedy Avenue in Oakland right next to the Cemex property as you approach the Park Street Bridge toward Alameda.

How did I first find my way to the Outboard Motor Shop? Since my boat has an inboard diesel engine, that’s a good question and I have a good answer. While the Outboard Motor Shop specializes in the sale and repair of gas outboard engines, it also carries diesel engine parts. Twelve years ago, I was told that I needed to carry at least one extra impeller or I couldn’t call myself a real sailor. Well, I wanted to think of myself as a real sailor, so I drove over to the Outboard Motor Shop. They had two Westerbeke impellers for my Universal M15 engine sitting right there on the shelf. So, I bought them both. I still have them in a zip lock bag in the top drawer under Dura Mater’s companionway. I must be a real sailor now because those impellers are ready to go when I need them.

V24 Bat Boat designed by Ocke Mannerfelt.

Another time I took the thermostat from my engine over there because someone told me it needed replacing. Outboard Motor Shop had one sitting on the shelf and the fella behind the counter took the time to look up the part in a book to be sure. Then he told me that he knew I had a Universal M15 rather than an M12 because that is the only Universal that uses that particular thermostat. Seriously, it was not like shopping online at all.

View from the Stern of a red boat.

I decided to go on over there and find someone to talk with about boat parts. After calling ahead on March 16 I arrived at 3 p.m. to interview Craig Jacobson, one of the three owners. He assured me that he works six days a week until 6 p.m. Except Craig wasn’t there when I arrived. So, I asked around and someone snagged Barney Howard who seemed reluctant to talk with me at first. He was very polite, but it was clear that he just wanted to get back to working on an engine. He kept telling me that I should probably interview his partner, Craig.

“Craig is the talkative one,” Barney said. “Craig knows all about the business. I’m just a worker bee.”

Craig wasn’t there and Barney was right in front of me. First, I admired his dog and asked if I could throw her tennis ball. She’s an easy dog to like. He said, “Sure.” After a couple of throws Barney decided to show me his boat. Maybe he thought I wouldn’t appreciate it, but I did. It’s a beautiful boat. So, there we were, admiring his favorite boat and his favorite dog. He finally gave it up.

Ramp leading to the Outboard Motor Shop service dock.

Throughout our conversation as we walked first around the showroom and then the many different specialized workrooms between the dozens and dozens of engines and boats in the yard, down to the dock and back up, Barney’s right arm was bleeding from a big long scrape. His whole lower arm was a mess and he didn’t even notice it.

I thought to myself, “Jackie, should you tell him that he’s bleeding all over everything?”

Ramp leading to the Outboard Motor Shop service dock.

I answered myself, “No, that would interrupt this great interview. He’d probably want to stop talking to you, wash it and smear it with Neosporin. Then he’d have to go dig around to find a big bandage. It would interrupt the flow of the narrative.” So, I just kept an eye on it, keeping my distance.

While we walked around we were approached by several dogs, big dogs and little dogs. Dogs run free throughout the Outboard Motor Shop and Star Marine business which shares the space. Barney told me that people who don’t even have boats stop by to visit the dogs. It’s that kind of place.

Here’s the interview with Barney Howard.

Jackie: There are three owners?

Barney: Craig Jacobson, Bryan Gorman and me, Barney Howard.

Jackie: Did you buy this business or did you start it?

Barney: We bought it. Craig, Brian and I worked for the original owners. Craig started here in 1977 and hired me in 1985. Brian started the same year I did. The original owners sold it to another business for three years and then Craig and I bought in in ’92. So, we worked for the original owners at The Outboard Motor Shop which was established in 1926 by Paul and Edith Rawn. We started in two places on San Pablo Avenue and moved to Alameda for 15 years. We’ve been here at this location for about 18 years. This location is fantastic. It’s on and off the freeway, we have 400 feet of water frontage property right on the Estuary.

Outboard Motor Shop warehouse.

We’re definitely power boaters here, all outboards. That’s what we like to do. And we sell Boston Whalers. We provide full service to our customers. If they need service done and they don’t want to buy a trailer, we have that covered too. So, for example, to bottom paint it, we have a couple of shop trailers. We haul the boat out, provide launch service, bring it to our service bay then put it back in the water.

Barney’s dog approaches me again with the neon yellow tennis ball in her mouth. I keep throwing the ball, the dog keeps bringing the ball back to me. Barney says, “Oh, don’t. It won’t stop.” I throw the ball; the dog recovers it. I throw the ball; the dog recovers it. I could’ve done it all day, but I had important work to do so I stopped. The dog stayed next to me for a bit, ball in mouth ready to retrieve. She’s that kind of dog.

Barney: She’s my duck dog. Her name is Kota. Kota from South Dakota.

We talk dogs. We talk boats. Barney tells me that his great grandfather was named Charles Prescott Howard, and he owned the Howard Terminal back in the day. So, boat parts on the Oakland Estuary really are part of its maritime history and we acknowledge the point. Then I get back to work.

Jackie: I have a sailboat with an old Universal engine. Every time I come here it’s amazing. You have the part I need sitting there on your shelf.

Barney: We have all kinds of crazy things. We kind of inherited that part of the business from Sea Power Marine. When we bought Sea Power Marine, a lot of that stuff came with it. Westerbekes, Universals, all kinds of diesel stuff. We don’t work on them. We don’t do diesels, but we have a huge inventory of parts for diesel engines. Matt is my parts manager. He is extremely knowledgeable with marine parts.

At this point, Barney has guided us from the parts section to the showroom. Throwing the yellow tennis ball, he purposely bounces the ball into a beautiful teal-colored boat. Kota jumps up effortlessly into the boat’s cockpit to recover it. We have followed Kota around the showroom as she recovers the ball again and again. I realize that there has been a method to Barney’s madness: Here they are, Barney and Kota, just where they wanted me to photograph them. Barney and his favorite dog next to his favorite boat, a classic 1966 Sport Model Boston Whaler. He tells me that Boston Whalers is unsinkable and foam-filled. His 17-foot Whaler is no exception.

Sami Howard at age 4.

Jackie: What’s her name?

Barney: I don’t have a name for this boat. I never named it. It was a trade in. I’ve had it for about 15 years. I bought it for my children. They’re not children anymore, though. They are 21 and 23. Originally, I had an old Honda 15 on it. I’d take it up to our cabin at Echo Lake near Tahoe. The kids would run around the lake with this. I’d put a big flag on top (indicates the radio whip.) The big flag would be flapping as they’d go around the lake so I’d know where they were at. They were 10 and12 years old. I could keep track of them while they were having a good time. I did the varnish myself last year.

We are surrounded by workmen repairing the huge showcase window in the front of the business. Ian Wall, owner of Star Marine which shares the large generous warehouse is supervising part of the repair of the property. There’s a lot of construction noise from a circular saw and electric drills. More than eight months ago a thief driving a stolen car full of stolen items came flying off of Kennedy and crashed right through the front of the building.

I admire one of the boats that suffered damage when the criminal drove through the window at 2 in the morning. It is a red racing boat that looks like a rocket ship. The model is a V24 called The Bat Boat designed by Swedish boat designer Ocke Mannerfelt. It is very cool looking, even with the damage to its fiberglass nose.

Jackie: The Outboard Motor Shop has provided parts for gas and diesel inboard engines for a long time now?

Barney: Since 1926.

Jackie: Do you see your business evolving so that you will start having parts for the newer electric and hydrogen-powered boat engines?

Barney: It’s possible that we might go where the market demands. We’ll just have to wait, see what happens. I’m still a piston-powered guy, all gas. For instance, going to the Farallon Islands and back, you can’t do it on electric. It’s coming for sure, but right now? If you want to take a 25-foot boat out there, you don’t have enough energy to get out there to go fishing and then back again.

Jackie: You go out there fishing?

Barney: Sure. Absolutely.

Jackie: Which kind of boat do you take out?

Barney: I have a big Boston Whaler, a 25-foot Boston Whaler.

Jackie: You service Boston Whalers. Do you service them for yacht clubs?

Barney: Some of the engines. For Encinal Yacht Club we do work on some of their Whalers, sell them new motors. My customer base is so big I can’t keep track of everybody. It’s huge. I’ve been here for 35 years. You treat your customers right, be fair, they’re gonna come back.

We pass workshop after workshop, table after table with specialized tool parts hanging on peg boards above; fellas working on engines, bent over machinery. There is lots of space, lots of natural light from windows high above on all sides of the warehouse building and all along the estuary side and the opposite. There are a lot of dead outboard engines, A LOT. They’re piled up inside and out. Their carcasses are everywhere with guts spilling out. It’s an outboard engine graveyard over there.

Jackie: What three items do you sell the most?

Barney: Service parts, water pumps and tune-up kits. Over the counter do-it-yourself kits. Mostly outboard stuff.

Jackie: Who does your canvas work?

Barney: I’ve got a guy who doesn’t build anything, but he does patchwork and stuff.

Jackie: This is a vast operation. Do you own the property?

Barney: Uh huh. Almost two and a half acres.

Jackie: Wow! That is a big deal for a business in the Bay Area to own the property.

Behind the warehouse, on the estuary we walk down a ramp to a long dock with several slips and a two-ton lift up against the seawall. Across the estuary is Hansen Rigging. Next to that is Dragon Rouge Bistro, then the Park Street Bridge.

Barney: We’re completely sold out of boats right now. We’ve been sold out for months. All the new boats coming in are already sold. We have deposits on them. All that with no boat shows.

Barney: There’s my Boston Whaler over there. I’m so busy fixing customers’ boats that I don’t have time to get my own boat going. It’s just, it’s just horrible!

Jackie: I’m very sorry for you. That’s the one you take out to the Farallons? And what do you fish for?

Barney: Salmon, rockfish and halibut. It’s amazing when the whales show up. Whale shows. It’s a 25-foot boat, which is considered a medium-sized power boat.

Jackie: Hahaha. I have an 11-hp two-cylinder engine. These engines seem massive to me.

Barney: I know. I know.

Jackie: Here’s my argument as a sailor. I don’t know why anybody would want to be on a boat where they are completely dependent on an engine. On a sailboat, you can always raise a sail for propulsion.

Barney listens patiently with a smile on his face. He’s had this conversation before.

Barney: I like to pick a destination. With a sail boat you go as far as you can until you’ve gotta go home that day. You can’t go to Sam’s from here in a sail boat. You could if you left here at 6 a.m. You can’t go to the Farallon Islands in the same day. And the tide right here on the estuary, right now it’s ripping out of here. You gain five knots just with the tide. With my Whaler I say, “Okay, I’m gonna go out fishing at the Farallons and then I’m gonna come back and have dinner with my wife at 6:00.” That’s what I like about it.

I’m a go-fast guy. I’ve gotta go 40 miles per hour on the water. Otherwise, I’m not happy. I’m not relying on the wind. Somebody gave me an Erikson 27-foot sailboat. I had it for four years and I sailed it twice. I thought I’d take my parents out more, but it just never worked out. So, it was a waste of money for me. Then I sold it. I’m still a power boater. I know that eventually I’ll probably change or slow down. I like to fish.

Barney shrugs.

Jackie: What about the expense of fuel?

Barney: That’s gonna be a problem. It’s doubled in the last three months. I haven’t had to deal with that yet and salmon season’s coming. I guess I’ll just have to take several people with me to split the expenses. Fuel is the most expensive part now. I have thought about that. It’s gonna be crazy.

We stand on the dock looking up at the warehouse from the estuary. It’s a long wooden dock with cleats all along and several slips. There are two power boats, one with two 190 hp engines on the transom.

Jackie: I had no idea all this was back here. So, people can bring their boats right here by water? Do you do any deliveries?

Barney: Occasionally. This guy here? He bought that boat from me in 2003, and every year he brings it in for service. He’s a contractor. He puts it there at the dock, drops it off, we haul it up out of the water, provide the service, put it back in the water and he comes back and picks it up.

Jackie: So, you have a history with him?

Barney nods, and indicates another power boat tied up in one of the slips.

Barney: This boat’s waiting for a repower. The owner is waiting for a pair of brand-new motors which have been on back order for a year, Twin 300s.

A boat motors by from under the bridge and the driver waves. Barney and I wave back. I like it when drivers and skippers on other boats wave.

Barney: There’s one of my customers right there. He owns Bay Green (Bay Green Marine Sanitation and Mobile Pump Out.) They empty out holding tanks for liveaboards. That’s what he does. He has a fleet of about eight boats maybe. I sell him all his motors. I sold him that motor.

Jackie: It is ripping through here, isn’t it?

Barney: You see, when the wind’s blowing and the tides going out, we get three, four-foot rollers over here.

Jackie: Do you have any issues with Oakland with regard to environmental stuff?

Barney: I don’t have any problem with that. My biggest problem was that it took eight months to get a building permit for the repair of my front window when the guy drove through it. He had stolen a car, stolen plates. My insurance is paying for all the repairs. Craig would know all about that. He’s the business part of this.

Motors have really evolved since we’ve owned this business. They’ve gone from dirty two-strokes to fuel injection two-strokes. Now we have almost all four-strokes, and then the electric. It’s much cleaner. I think, in ’97 the EPA said the marine industry had to clean up the motors by 80%. And they did it. And once they cleaned up the emissions you got better fuel economy, right? Instead of all the fuel going into the water you burn off the fuel in the cylinders. So, these motors are all cleaned up by 80 percent as of ‘98.

Jackie: You said you don’t fix any diesels here?

Barney: No. You need your diesel fixed? I’ve got a couple guys I can recommend.

Jackie: No. That’s okay. I’ve got a guy.

Barney: You’ve got a guy?

Jackie: You’ve gotta have a guy.

Barney: Yes, you do. I stopped working on stern drives. I got tired of working on my knees. Outboards are very easy because they’re right in front of you. You take the hood off, everything’s right there.

Jackie: What’s your favorite part of owning your own business?

Barney: My favorite part? I’ve always liked the challenge of repairing motors. I like to troubleshoot things. I like that. I also like interacting with my customers. To build up a relationship over 25 years? When they keep coming back, that’s just a great feeling. I know what they do for a living. We talk about how their businesses are going. We talk about our kids and what they do for a living. That’s a lot of fun. Really, I enjoy that.

Jackie: What customer have you worked with the longest?

Barney: These guys? (He gestures toward the boat tied up at the dock.) I think they bought this boat in 2004, but we have customers who have been coming in for longer than that. I started in 1985 on San Pablo Avenue. People still come in here and say, “I remember when you worked on San Pablo Avenue! You sold me this 15 hp Johnson back in 1985.”

Jackie: And they remember you?

Barney: Yeah. It’s crazy. It’s wonderful. It’s a good feeling. I think, “Okay, I’ve done something right.” That’s something to strive for, repeat customers. You want to be really nice, treat ‘em fairly and they’re gonna come back. I think society is getting away from that nowadays. It’s a horrible thing.

Jackie: What is it they call it? The keyboard economy?

Barney: I get a lot of calls from people who bought parts on Ebay or Craigslist. They come in and shop me, they want part numbers. I don’t give out part numbers anymore. People who go online, they forget they have to pay freight on it. In the end it’s the same price!

I’m a touchy-feely person. I like to go to the store. If it costs me a little more, I don’t care. I’ll pay a little extra. Even if it’s 20 percent, I’m going into the store to order it. Buy it there, you know? From a person. That’s huge. If you have a problem with something you bought here, you want some advice about it, bring it back to me.

I’ve thrown the ball to Kota, but it has rolled down the gangplank and gone into the water.

Jackie: Will she jump in the water to get it?

Barney: I can make her jump in. I just say, “Fetch!” But I’d prefer to not have a wet dog around here.

Jackie: In a guest column I called these boats stinkpots.

Barney: Of course you did.

Jackie: Readers didn’t like that.

Barney: Of course they didn’t. See, that comes from old two-stroke motors. We’ve gotten away from those. When you started it up you got a whole cloud of smoke. You start up one of these, you wouldn’t even know it was running. It’s so quiet.

Jackie: Really?

Barney: Absolutely.

This is when I realize how persuasive Barney must be at selling boats.

Jackie: Engines this big?

Barney: Absolutely. Yup.

Jackie: I believe you. This person is going to keep these two big engines?

Barney: We’re gonna nurse them along for as long as we can. They’re a little tired, but they’re still clean-burning engines. They’re two-star motors, so that’s second generation.

Jackie: How many stars do newer ones have?

Barney: There are three now. I haven’t seen a four yet, but I have a feeling it’s coming out. With a catalytic converter.

Jackie: Do you ever take your boat up to the Delta?

Barney: Oh, absolutely. I go to Rivers End. Del’s Marina. I go there. My buddy just sold his house there. I used to go up and stay at his house a lot. I used to water ski a ton. Not anymore, but I like to go boating up there.

Jackie: Do your kids take your boat up there?

Barney: You know what? They don’t. I’ve offered. My daughter has taken one of my fishing boats several times. I’ve got a truck and several boats… I don’t know. [he shrugs] My kids? They’ve got other things going on. They could use one of the nicest boats you could ever own and they don’t care. If I was their age and had access to that, I would’ve worn the motors out.

I used to go to the Delta with my grandfather and my parents. We’d go to Russo’s. We kept a cabin cruiser there that he built. We’d go out of there on our ski boat. We’d spend the night on the boat. My daughter, she does a lot. We’ve been duck hunting. I’m a duck hunter. That’s what I do. More than fishing. Way more than fishing. When she was 4 years old, I would take her out to my duck blind in a Mason’s tub, take hot chocolate, ear muffs and float her out there. She took to it. So, when she turned 12, she got her hunting license and she’s been my hunting partner ever since. She’s harvested five deer in California, pigs, lots of ducks and geese. We just went on a late season goose hunt about a month and a half ago.

Jackie: Where is that?”

Barney: We went to Robbin’s up near Yuba City. I’ve gone up with a guide for the least eight years. I hire the guide and then I get my nephew and my buddies and my daughter. It’s on our schedule every year. Middle of February we go. So, that’s what I do.

Barney makes the smallest gesture to Kota and she stiffens and stills, waiting for his instruction.

Barney: And she’s my dog. She’s very intense, very intense. My business partner Brian has two chocolate Labrador retrievers. People come in just to see the dogs. Not to buy anything, they just come to give them biscuits.

Jackie: Your boat customers all have gas outboard engines. One of these days their children might come to you and say, “We really want to keep working with you, but you don’t have any electric engines.” What will you say to them?

Barney: I’ll be retired by then. How’s that for an answer?

Barney and I laugh about that and I thank him for the time he has spent with me. I’m not a duck hunter. But, as I listen to Barney talk about duck hunting with his daughter and friends, I realize how interesting he has made it sound, and how meaningful it is to families who spend that time together. It has been a very nice exchange of information and I appreciate the fact that he has shared it.

Now, I already have a boat, and I don’t have a garage for the Whaler. But if I were a power boat person, I would buy that pretty Robin’s egg blue colored Boston Whaler that is being sold on consignment. Regardless of whether you buy that boat or the very last Whaler with the For Sale sign one available on the property, I would encourage you to get your orders in for one of those Boston Whalers. They don’t grow on trees you know. And when you drive over, watch for Kota the Wonder Dog.

Sami Howard at age 4.

In the April column I wrote that I would be writing about Berkeley Marine Center. And I did write a story. I interviewed the owner, Cree Partridge and the yard manager, Ruben Gabriel. I took lots of photographs and had my boat splashed with a brand-new Micron 66 bottom paint job and a buffed hull. Really, she will be even more beautiful than before when we sail up the Delta this summer. So, in June I’ll post the story about BMC. There’s a lot going on over there.

Thank you for reading and let’s be careful out there. You can drop me a line at jackie@yachtsmanmagazine.com if you like. I would enjoy hearing from you should you wish to share what you saw while out on the water.