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Doin' the Delta - 2003
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After getting stuck too many times on our first trip, we change our ways in 2003 and conquer the Delta!

We off for our second delta trip onboard the Addiction. Craig, Arnie, Dave and Tex departed Friday, September 5 for the trip of the summer. We met at Fortman Marina in Alameda at 3pm. Soon we were off for a boisterous sail across the bay to Pac Bell Park. The wind had an unusual northern direction to it so we couldnt sail directly towards the stadium. We headed south across the bay in winds over 20 knots. Once we tacked we could sail up the city front towards the park. We were bound for South Beach Marina, slip E50. We arrived safely and with the wind still blowing hard near the slip, we had some maneuvering difficulties but got into the slip without a hitch (read: we didnt wipeout any of the surrounding yachts). We roped off and I headed towards the office to check in. We met up with my friend Bob and two of his friends for some tailgating on the boat before the game. Then it was off to the game. The Giants were playing the D-backs and they ended up losing but we had a great time in the bleachers with our $10 tickets. Then it was off to the boat for some rest.

I woke up around 2:30 and just laid there until about 4am. Then I fired up the engine and off we went. The wind was up so I raised the main to see if we could get some more speed. Then a little while later the jib came out too. We were doing almost six knots. The bay was very dark but confidence was high and I manned the helm while my friends slept. It was a neat sight with the city all lit up and our humble boat sailing through the darkness.

By 6:30 we were approaching the Richmond Bridge and The Brothers. By 7am the crew was waking and enjoying the morning sunrise. I turned over the helm and began to prepare coffee and breakfast frittatas. Everyone enjoyed the meal as we sailed towards The Straits and on to the Delta.

After breakfast the wind really started picking up and we were flying with the favorable current. We attempted to fly the spinnaker but with the channel moving here and there we couldnt stay in it and keep our chute full. It would not have been a pretty sight to be going 8-9 knots and hit a mud bank. We brought it back in and continued at a fast clip. By noon we were entering New York slough. We came around the corner and whoa a boat going 90 mph or more passes very close. We didnt have time to react. Then another going even faster. This is nuts. Then a chase boat comes over to tell us we are in the race course and that we should stay clear. Thanks we will be happy to move. Several more speed by and each one going faster. We come around a corner and there are bands and lots of folks and a huge party going on right next to the Pittsburgh Marina. Looks like its race week and the town is having an annual bash to celebrate. We pull in and the harbormaster yells he has a slip for us. Yipee, lets go check it out.

We have some lunch and then meet some nice chaps and they tell us they have been on the delta for the last 4 days. I ask them what type of boat they have - a Choy Lee Offshore 40 - he says. May we come aboard for a look I say? Sure! We walk down a few boats and this one is a bueat! Built for the Transpac Race back in 68. Lots of teak on the deck and a very stout boat indeed. Makes our boat look like a bath tubber. We will get there some day. Next its on to the show. What a great party. The music is on two stages and there is some fun stuff happening here. We hang out for several hours and soak it up.

Next its on to the Antioch Marina for the night. Its about 5 miles away and we have a nice sail there. We head into D6 and tie up for the night. I put the salmon steaks on the grill and we have a great meal in the cockpit. We call it an early night and hit the hay.

Sunday we are up around 7 and getting the coffee and bagels ready. We finish that up, get a key from the marina and head out to the park for some Frisbee Golf. We have four discs but they are all different sizes. We trade after each hole and it works out fine. About the 5th hole, Tex picks a shot that is about 50 yards away but its around the corner and a blind shot at a tree. I line it up, take my best shot, run out so I can see it land and low and behold, HOLE IN ONE!!! Now that doesnt happen every day.

We shove off around 11am. Two years ago we were headed to Potato Slough but missed it by several miles as we were using our chart but not the GPS. This year we set up a waypont on the GPS and it was a snap to find the slough. We had a great sail down the mighty San Joaquin and entered the slough. We found our home for the next two days at Bedroom # 2. It is behind an island and very peaceful. As we pulled in there were half a dozen other boats hanging around. We anchored and really started to relax. Soon we were the only inhabited boat in the Bedroom. We had an awesome sunset that night and the crew said it might be the best one of the year! Lots of high clouds and great colors. We had a nice steak dinner and then we settled down to a poker game.

Monday morning was looking to be a beautiful day. We started the day with some french toast and fruit. Dave and I got in for a nice swim across the lee of the island. By 10am we were ready to inflate our kayaks and hang by the boat. It was a great day to relax and enjoy the delta. A helicopter hovered all day in the field next to us. We saw men in camouflage with automatic weapons through our binoculars. What is was going on?? After watching them for several hours we determined it was a government operation to destroy a pot field. We were glad when they finished so we did not have to hear the chopper any more. We had a light dinner and then went to bed early. What an excellent trip so far!

Tuesday brought all sorts of clouds and lots of wind. We got an early start, as we needed to empty our holding tank. We found a local marina but the pump did not have a fitting for our tank. We had banana pancakes and coffee and then continued up river bound for Antioch again. The wind was up over 20 knots at 10am so we reefed and had a great sail to our slip in Antioch. We even got enough rain at one point I had to put on my rain jacket. Weird monsoonal weather. Because we were headed into the wind it took twice as long to get to our destination. We stopped for lunch in Mayberry Slough and had a nice one at anchor. No traffic around so we anchored off to one side and ate. Arnie wanted to continue up the slough and into Antioch. We had been lucky so far and not gotten stuck at all. This would be our chance. We looked closely at the charts and it looked good, lets cross our fingers. We motored up to the turn and then sailed the rest of the way with no problems. We slipped into the harbor and toasted our success and thanked the boat for doing such an outstanding job. Arnie hit the road as he needed to get back and we hit the links for another round of golf before dinner. Tex, Dave and I were tired campers but we made it through dinner and then watched a movie on the boat (Carlittos Way) and then hit the sack.

We were up at 6am for departure, I released the dock lines and we were off. About 7 the coffee and pancakes were on. The favorable current was with us again and when I checked our speed over the ground, the current was giving us another 2 knots to our boat speed. This is the life! After the Benica Bridge we were able to turn off the engine and sail, It was another beautiful day on the bay. The wind was about 15 knots and we had no problem making progress. After the Carquinez Bridge the wind died a little and the current went from ebb to flood and our progress was slowed a bit. We got to Pt. Isabella and seemed to stay in the vicinity for several hours after tacking many times in the channel. Finally after lunch, the wind picked up and we were making our way towards the Richmond Bridge. Under the bridge the wind really stiffened and we got the marine influence we know and love. Soon it was a sleigh ride towards Treasure Island. We rounded up a couple times coming across the slot but no big deal. We got in the lee of Treasure and I turned the helm over to Tex and went below. Whats this? A little water on the floor. The bilge was not working. One of the wires had worked loose. I knew where to look as I had fixed the same wire earlier this summer. Did a quick fix and we were back in biz. We finished the trip with a swim in the estuary. What a nice welcome home.

All in all a great trip and tons of fun. The Addiction did everything we asked of her and more. We didnt touch the bottom of the delta once and we had way too much fun! We will be back again in two years. What an awesome trip!!!!!

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