Date: Friday, Saturday & Sunday, May 18, 19 & 20, 2006
Event: Potter Yachters event:
Sacramento River Delta sail, Brannan Island to Bethel Island, CA (20.5 miles for the round trip.
Saturday: 10:00 AM to 1:30 PM (3.5 hrs on the water.)
Sunday: 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM (4.0 hrs on the water.)
w/ P-15s: Pat Brennan (#621); Steve Potter (#2298); Robert Sampson (#367); Ed Dove (#1236); Harry Gordon (#234); Don Person (#2472); Mitch Carnes (#2671)  P-19s: Jerry Barrilleaux (with Gene Hersom as crew, #48) Dave White (#1099); Bud Kerner (1263) Others: Dave Kautz  (O'Day 19)
Winds: Saturday: Consistent winds all day; light, 6-8 knots in places, to skill challenging 20-25 knots.
Sunday:
Strong winds all day. 35+ knots on unsheltered False River, 10-25 knots on more the sheltered sloughs south and north of False River.
Weather: Excellent! It couldn't have been better. The ever-constant winds tempered the seasonally hot temperatures.
  Friday, May 18, 2007
Course of the day: Brannan Island State Park to Lundborg Landing, Bethel Island.I arrived at Brannan Island State Park a little after 6:00 PM, paid my fees for the weekend ($34.00 total, for one launch ($5.00,) one slip for Friday night ($14.00,) and Day use (parking) for three days ($15.00)) and set off to the boat ramp to find Robert Sampson  Rigged and involved in a little housekeeping aboard his vintage P-15"ESP."

Robert and I talked while I rigged, and were soon joined by Pat Brannan. One by one we launched and motored the short distance to the berths where we tied up for the evening. Pat then chauffeured us over to Rio Vista for dinner and refreshment at a local Italian restaurant. Then it was pack the the park and to bed for another restful night aboard Lazy Ka. The few nights that I have spent sleeping aboard are some of the most restful to be had. With the sounds of local birds, wind in the trees,Sunrise over Brannan Island State Park (PHOTO: Jerry Kergan) water lapping at Lazy Ka, and her gentle rocking motion, I'm asleep in minutes.

Saturday, May 19, 2007
ESP (Robert Sampson,) Eaglet (Pat Brennan,) and Lazy Ka (Jerry Kergan) waking up Saturday morning (PHOTO: Jerry Kergan)I was out of my rack by 6:00 AM for an early morning stroll along the park's main drive to the front gate and highway, then back to the marina by way of the waterfront along Threemile Slough. By 8:00 A.M. several other boats were in the parking lot making ready for the day; others continued to roll in with Mitch Carnes being the last arrival some time just after 9:00 A.M.

Ed Dove (P-15) & Bud Kerner (P-19) rig for the day's sail. (PHOTO: Jerry Kergan)

Dave Kautz prepares his O'Day 19 along side of Don Person's P-15 "Sarah Anne" (PHOTO: Jerry Kergan)

Jerry Barrilleaux (left) reviews the the day's course with Harry Gordon (PHOTO: Jerry Kergan)

 

P-19 Fleet Captain Dave White's "Wee Boat" receives a safety inspection from the Coast Guard Auxiliary (PHOTO: Jerry Kergan)

One by one, the Potter Yachters fleet forms up at the Brannan Island State Park slipd (PHOTO: Jerry Kergan)

Swallows at the docks, Brannan Island State Park (PHOTO: Jerry Kergan)

Steve Potter, Harry Gordon, Don Person and Mitch Carnes; P-15s under sail on Threemile Slough (PHOTO: Jerry Kergan)Promptly at 10:00 A.M. twelve boats were away and headed out Threemile Slough into consistent winds of 6-10 knots. This was a significant improvement over last year's delta outing, where we experienced very light air outgoing and on most of our return trip on Sunday. As we continued the four miles out Threemile Slough onto the main channel of the Sacramento, and False River beyond, we continued to experience building winds. Eastbound on False River we had a 20 knot wind at our back with modest guts to 25 knots.Pat Brannan on Threemile Slough with Mt. Diablo in the distance (PHOTO: Jerry Kergan)

The winds continued to be reasonably strong as we made the southerly turn along the east side of Jersey and Bethel Island onto Piper Slough. It was along here that Don Person turned back for the State Park as he was unable to stay on with us for the night. Harry Gordon leads Jerry Barrilleaux and Dave White up Piper Slough (PHOTO: Jerry Kergan)

Just past 1:30 P.M. found most boats secured at Lundborg's docks with skippers sitting at the bar enjoying a cold beer, perusing the menu for lunch, or relaxing on their boats. It was at the bar that we learned more of the troubles experienced by Dave White on the outbound leg. Dave had handling problems that brought him dangerously close to the rip-rap along the Eastern side of the main channel of the Sacramento. I was a little over 50 yards from Dave while he was all too near the shore; I was listing closely to our marine radio channel for a call should he be in serious peril. If the need arose, Pat Brennan, Jerry Barrilleaux, Harry Gordon, Robert Sampson, Dave Kautz, and Mitch Carnes (PHOTO: Jerry Kergan)I would have been there to assist in two or three minutes; but no call came, and Dave recovered without assistance.

Just past 2:00 P.M. the last stragglers, Steve Potter and Ed Dove sailed into Lundborg's, and Bud Kerner turned for for home, unable to spend the night as well. This reduced our fleet to ten.Gene Hersom and Jerry Barrilleaux trying to relax (PHOTO: Jerry Kergan)

The afternoon was spent with more social time and energetic napping activity by some. Hors D'Oeuvers were shared on the docks before all returned to the restaurant for dinner. On the recommendation of Jerry Barrilleaux, I had saved my apatite for the prime rib dinner; Jerry had started talking abut this in the middle of the afternoon. Most of us followed Jerry's lead, and none were disappointed. It was well worth the wait.

The restaurant and bar closed on our heels as we turned for our bunks just before 10:00 P.M. for another restful night aboard.

Happy Hour on the Lundborg's Landing docks (PHOTO: Jerry Kergan)

Mitch Carnes and Harry Gordon enjoying Happy Hour (PHOTO: Jerry Kergan)

Buoyancy test of Dave Kautz's O'Day 19 (PHOTO: Jerry Kergan)

Sunday, May 20, 2007
I slept in this morning . . . all the way to 6:30 A.M. Returning from a brief stroll along the levee, I found Ed Dove and Harry Gordon in early morning conversation aboard their P-15s nested at the dock. I joined them; we were subsequently joined by others as we waited for the restaurant to open, and a first cup of morning coffee.

The forecast was for less wind today, and the day seemed to be setting out to do just that. The waters along the slough were like glass; the windsock on a staff atop the eastern levee was hanging limp. There was absolutely no air movement. Dave Kautz, the last to rise, swapped to a larger headsail on his O'Day in anticipation of light-air sailing for the day.

No sooner had we sat down to breakfast, we witnessed evidence of winds beginning to blow; first movement of flags and the windsock, then waves and whitecaps out on the open waters of Frank's Track.

Water foul on Piper Slough (PHOTO: Jerry Kergan)Following a delicious breakfast, Dave changed headsails, once more for heavier winds, and the rest made ready to put out for the return trip to Brannan Island.

Under the experienced leadership of Jerry Barrilleaux all boats motored a good part of the return trip. On making the turn from the protection of Piper Slough along eastern Bethel Island onto False River, we found our selves driving into a near 40 knot blow with whitecaps on three foot swells. Control for most was marginal at best. As the bow would fall from a passing swell, the stern would rise, the prop would cavitate, and headway would be lost. Several found the bow then acting like a sail, being turned off the wind. Without adequate power, no amount of tiller would point the boat back on heading. This necessitated the uncomfortable maneuver of doing a 360 degree turn off the wind, allowing the prop to recover; with power restored, the Skipper could now power back into the wind.

Dave Kautz (now known to his friends as “This Ain’t no motorboat” Dave) was first to set sail. Dave uses the 2hp Honda outboard from his P-15 as auxiliary power on his O’Day as well. As Dave put it, in short, ‘. . . 2hp . . . NO WAY . . . ‘. Potter Yachter fleet heading home on Piper Slough (PHOTO: Jerry Kergan)

I was next under sail, at first raising a single reefed Main only, then unfurling my Lapper as well. I found that I was making more headway under sail than with a marginally effective outboard. In these high winds, I quickly learned that there are times when no headsail at all is the best option. With the Lapper, Lazy Ka wouldn’t point well at all, she wanted to fall off the wind, maintaining course was difficult; reefing the Lapper with the furler didn’t help either. When I returned to Mainsail only, all was well. Mitch Carnes and Harry Gordon slogging into the wind (PHOTO: Jerry Kergan)

One of the first lessons learned from my Bay Area Potter mentors, was to sail with Mainsheet in hand at all times. In Sunday’s high winds I found it easy to maintain 10-15 degrees of heel. Occasional gusts bring the Leigh rail to the water’s edge. Twice, I took on a bit of water, about a quart, before I could dump the main to bring her back upright. Two vintage Potters, Harry Gordon and Robert Sampson (PHOTO: Jerry Kergan)

Lazy Ka’s Main has two reefing points; until today I couldn’t imagine conditions where using the second reef would be necessary. Sunday came very close to that point. On every outing I seem to come away having learned something new, this weekend was no different. I was amazed at how well my little P-15 sails in high winds with reefed Main only. She just scoots right along. If Sunday’s winds had been a consistent blow in excess of 40 knots, I suspect that I would have employed the second reef.

Dave Kautz and I slowed our return to keep an eye on Ed Dove who was bring up the rear of the main flotilla. For a skipper with only a couple of years experience, Ed did a masterful job at handling the high winds. Dave and I landed at the dock under sail to the amazement of Jerry Barrilleaux. After hauling out I caught up with Robert Sampson to learn that he had developed a crack in his Gunter Spar at the Gooseneck. The stresses must have been tremendous as this spar is something like a nine-ply laminated assembly! One heck of a strong piece of timber.

Dave White was late out of Bethel Island for the return trip, so he sailed back alone. He arrived back at Brannon Island just about the time I finished making Lazy Ka ready for the road, so I hung around while he de-rigged. After Dave hauled out and a hull inspection was made, he reported no damage from yesterday's mishap. The daggerboard of "Wee Boat" was deep enough to keep him off the Rip-Rap. This gave him time to sort things out and back off under outboard power. It was a masterful recovery.

I stayed to the bitter end, keeping Dave company while he packed for his drive home. Though I've sailed with Dave several time over the past year, this was the first time that I really had a chance to talk with him. Bucks Lake came up, and Dave showed some interest in the two of us doing a check-out sail together . . . more sailing on mountain lakes!