Date: Saturday & Sunday, May 6 & 7, 2006
Event: Potter Yachters event:
Sacramento River Delta sail, Brannan Island to Bethel Island, CA
Saturday: 10:30 AM to 2:00 PM (3.5 hrs on the water.)
Sunday: 10:00 AM to 3:30 PM (5.5 hrs on the water.)

Potter Yachters preparing for the day's sail to Bethel Island, CA (Photo: Jerry Kergan)

w/ P-15s: Don Bergst (#797); Pat Brennan (#621); Rich McDevitt (#2531); Steve Potter (#2298); Robert Sampson (#367); P-19s: Jerry Barrileaux (#48); Mike Swartz (#N/A) Dave & Cheryl White (#1099) Others: Dick Herman (Com-Pac 17); Brad Evens (Vagabond 17); Dave Kautz (O'Day 19) and others.
Winds: Potter Yachters preparing for the day's sail to Bethel Island, CA (Photo: Jerry Kergan)Saturday: Good consistent 3-5 knot breeze from the west. but as we negotiated the slough west of Bethel Island and south of False River, the protection of the levee and buildings made the winds a little shifty.
Sunday: Morning was good . . . 8-10 knot winds were great for those of us who chose to sail the leg across Franks Track. Winds died away to almost nothing west of Bradford Island; increasing to 2-4 knots for the last mile back to the ramp.
Weather: Excellent! By the reports of those who've made this sail in the past, it can be VERY hot . . . uncomfortably so. Light jackets were needed in the mornings, but virtually no one wore one while sailing.
  Saturday, May 6, 2006
Brannon Island to Bethel IslandI thought I was early to be at Brannan Island State Park before 7:30 AM, but found Rich McDevitt, the only Potter in the lot, pretty much ready to launch; he told me that several others had spent the night on their boats at the docks around the corner from the ramp. More boats continued to arrive over the next hour giving us a total of fifteen boats to make up our little fleet for the weekend.

One by one, we began launching a bit before 9:00 AM, then motored around the point to the docks for a little social time and a few pictures of boats being made ready. a little after 10:00 AM we shoved off and headed out Three Mile Slough for our destination, Bethel Island, to the south.

The day's sail was uneventful for most; a relaxing voyage in light to moderate winds along the meandering delta sloughs. There was plenty to keep the skippers occupied along the way. I had brief conversations with locals as I passed their private docks, and watched numerous varieties of aquatic birds and wild life; a couple of wayward sea lions and a raccoon to mention a two.

Don Bergst (left) sharing his knowledge of knots, May 6, 2006 (Photo: Jerry Kergan)2:00 PM found everyone all boats tied up at Lundborg's docks and Skippers and crews at comfortable tables in the dining room for a delightful lunch. The menu offered choices to suit pallet and pocketbook of all. I heard no complaints when all were done, and I saw plenty of smiling satisfied faces. Following lunch, some gathered for an adult beverage on the patio out front, while others napped on their boats. Spontaneous clinics on knot tying and inland navigation sprung up at the direction of Don Bergst and Steve Potter respectively--Steve lecturing all who would listen on the accuracy of his budget charts courtesy of CSAA (aka road maps.)

Bruce Hood enjoys some after lunch conversation with Pat Brennan aboard "Eaglet": Lundberg Landing, Bethel Island, Ca, May 6, 2006 (Photo: Jerry Kergan)

Naps aboard . . . at  Bethel Island, CA, May 6, 2006 (Photo: Jerry Kergan)

Potters at Lundborg Landing, Bethel Island, CA , May 6, 2006 (Photo: Jerry Kergan)

In response to a marina request that we clear up a little dock space by nesting up, I moved Lazy Ka to a birthing outboard of Steve Potter's "Stars & Bars." I pulled out my chair, and settled in to glean what I could about the "tricks" Steve had installed on his boat. One by one, the population on the dock started to grow . . . by late afternoon virtually everyone was squeezed onto a 30' section of dock with hor d’oeuvers & wine being adjacent Steve Potter's birth. Rumors that the dock was near failure from the gathered crowd are exaggerations to say the least. At dinner a mad game of musical tables was played to test the abilities of the wait-staff. Our band started with cocktails on the patio around several tables placed together to form one large banquet style seating. With the two waitresses working from opposite ends, drinks were served and dinner orders were taken. As the evening cooled, it was agreed that we should seek shelter inside . . . we did this by occupying several tables in a hap-hazard arrangement that better suited our conversational groups than the waitresses work stations. In spite of our surprise relocation, Lundborg's staff still managed to deliver our meals without incident.

Following dinner, we settled in to listen to the Live band (Tropical Breeze) providing a couple of hours entertainment for the evening. The band was more a duet, with a repertoire drawn from Sinatra to Buffett to the Beach Boys . . . some variety.

Afternoon gathering on the dock, Lundborg Landing, Bethel Island, CA , May 7, 2006 (Photo: Robert Sampson) Dick Herman readying his Sun Cat for the evening: Lundberg Landing, Bethel Island, Ca, May 6, 2006 (Photo: Jerry Kergan) Brad Evens tented for the night, Bethel Island, Ca, May 6, 2006 (Photo: Jerry Kergan)

Sunday, May 7, 2006
Sunday morning early risers shared coffee, juices and pastries on the dock in the morning sun. Lundborg's opened for breakfast at 8:00 AM; most were seated by 8:05. Following breakfast, we made our boats ready for our return voyage to Brannan Island. A skipper's meeting produced two plans for the return route. The first would retrace our trip south through the protected sloughs. The second option would cross the open waters of Frank's track to False River, then retrace our steps from there. The decision was made to split into two groups and sail both plans.

Dick Herman, homeward bound, May 7, 2006 (Photo: Jerry Kergan)On the water by 10:00 AM, I encountered troubles from the start. The short of it was my lesson for the day . . . I can't sail (or motor for that matter) with river grasses clinging to my center-board! It took two infestations and subsequent clearings to drive the message home. By the time I had determined the root of my troubles and executed a remedy, I was a hundred yards behind the group. I decided at that point to take to Frank's Track and the higher winds to make better time. Don Bergst on False River, in the shadow of Mt Diablo, May 7, 2006 (Photo: Jerry Kergan)

Frank's Track was a great sail! . . . consistent winds allowing for sailing a Reach to Close Hauled all the way across the waters of the Tract. By the time I'd made the north side, I'd closed the 200 yd distance and caught up with the rest of the Back at Brannan Island State Park, May 7, 2006 (Photo: Robert Sampson)group. But as we turned west on to False River, winds were lighter, too light to allow headway against a strong current. After stubbornly playing with the situation for half an hour or more, I fired up my motor and headed west, periodically stopping to try my sails without success. Some wind was encountered