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Sailing the California Delta
Stories of a new sailor exploring the California Delta on his 1982 Catalina 25
New Goodies
03/10/2009, Owl Harbor, Isleton, Ca

Well in my post about the weekend I did a good friend a dis-service and forgot to post about what an awesome guy he is. Don't get me wrong he was an awesome guy before but since this weekend he is even more awesomeer or something like that.

What am I rambling about you ask?
Well my friend Brian sold his power boat last week, and a few weeks back got rid of his Van Conversion in the process he ended up with an extra 1500 watt power inverter and a used Deep Cell battery. He knew I could use them so he brought them down to the boat on Sunday.
Well I got the new battery installed and it seems to work great, I have yet to permanently mount the inverter but that will happen in the next couple of weeks. I will probably buy one of those small microwaves to keep on the boat, for a quick cup of soup or popcorn it will be great. Also we can now charge the batteries on our laptops for those all important movie nights on the boat.

So if I didn't say it enough on Sunday Brian thanks again, you rock.

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04/04/2009 | drayllih bythewater
Beautiful journal Orrin.
BBD affliction
Orrin sunny 70+ light winds
03/09/2009, San Joaqin River

Well we spent a semi successful weekend on the boat, the admiral had Friday off, and we were actually able to get our other errands and stuff done, luggage packed and down to the boat before 5pm.
Saturday morning dawned cool and windy, but a promising day indeed, at least until after breakfast when I started the engine which ran for about 90 seconds and died. This is the same problem I had with the Honda outboard back in November and early December, I thought I had fixed it by replacing some leaking fuel lines and cleaning the fuel pump screen.
So after looking at the screen, clean this time and actually replacing the fuel pump with a spare from my parts motor, the engine fired up and ran like it was supposed to.
I let it idle at the dock for about 30 minutes as I got the boat ready to go out and it never had a problem.
We headed out about noon and had some decent if flukey winds, I let the admiral take the tiller while I got a chance to relax (what a change) and she did a great job. We headed down stream and got becalmed a couple of times, so I'd fire up the Honda and motor to the next patch of wind. Well about the 3rd time this happened the Damn motor did the same thing, fired up, ran for 30-90 seconds and died. At this point I'm pretty convinced that there is crap from the old tank getting into the fuel pump and causing havoc. I pulled the engine cover off, got out my trusty little ball peen hammer and lightly tapped on the fuel pump and carburetor (just for good measure) and attempted to start the outboard again, this time she fired up and stayed running. I put her in gear and headed back to the marina, while there were winds, I knew that they would be right on the nose trying to get into the marina and didn't want to risk trying to do that without a running outboard.
So there we were motoring in while everyone else was coming out for a beautiful day of sailing, we got back in without any further drama from the motor, total time on the water.... about 4 hours.
Back at the dock I decided that I needed to put a filter in the fuel line between the tank and motor, but it was almost 5pm and the nearest auto parts store was just about to close, something to do in the morning.

Sunday Morning: After waking up (forgetting about moving the clocks forward) and having a leisurely breakfast I headed into town to the Napa store, of course they were out of the filter size I needed, I headed over to the Ace Hardware (which was probably open till 9 or something yesterday) Got a filter for a lawnmower (same size) and some clamps. Got back to the boat added the filter after some flooding issues, got the engine to start, it ran pretty well but I noticed that the fuel filter was not staying full, in fact just a trickle of fuel was getting into the filter.
Ok more troubleshooting, I pulled the pickup screen out of the fuel tank - clean no blockage. I used carb cleaner to clean the connection at the tank to the hose, and at the hose to the engine - no change.
I took the fuel pump off, completely disassembled and cleaned every part, put it back together and started the engine - no change!

At this point the engine is still running fine, apparently it is getting just enough fuel. So I shut it down and called it good enough deciding that a carburetor rebuild and all new fuel lines and tank are in the boat's future.

And of course there is no wind anyway so we hang out at the dock, enjoy the beautiful warm day, talk with our neighbors and such.

Now to get to the bbd affliction. What is BBD you ask? Well it is an insidious disease that most boat owners suffer from it is .... Bigger Boat disease! Yes most boat owners whether they will admit to it or not Long for, lust for, or just plain dream about that bigger boat, that will get them to those far off places. Have all the storage that they need, be comfortable to stay on for indefinite periods of time, etc..
Well on our dock is an older Coronado 35 center cockpit sailboat. She is a beast of a boat, she's got like 4' of freeboard, large windows on the sides, her cabin takes up all of the space fore to aft, the cockpit actually sit's above the galley and head.
Well this boat is pretty neglected and the tags on her bow are from 07' I had asked the harbor master about her, always sniffing around for a possible deal and was told that the owner never comes around but pay's the slip fee's on time every month.
That was all I thought about it at the time. Well while were were pulling back into the dock on Saturday the owner was on the mast hanging a "For Sale" sign. I called over to him, and asked him how much he was going to sell her for. He answered back $8,000.00
Wow what a price, I've looked online at these boats and they are usually well over $20,000 in worse shape than this one. I tied the Catalina up and walked over talking to the owner, I got the tour, God this thing is huge inside. Over 6' of headroom throughout a very large aft berth, and a nice V birth with vanity sink. Large galley and Bath, with shower. She needs a lot of work, but man what a boat, not a racer but a serious blue water cruiser. Not at all what I'm looking for right now, but what I would love to have in about 3 years. I brought the admiral over to check it out and she was impressed, but of course being the more realistic of the two of us, and not afflicted with BBD, put the nix on the boat. Right now with Arnolds assault on state workers and the slow down in the home improvement market just the increase in slip fee's would be a challenge much less payments on the new boat, and all of the deferred maintenance she would need. So here I am home from the weekend cruising Coronado 35 websites, boy I've got it bad.

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Beautiful day in California
Orrin/Broken clouds, scattered rain, some wind
03/04/2009, San Joaquin River

Well today I had no work. I did have a meeting this morning with my pastor but after that not much. So I got home and adjusted the clutch pedal in my car. My Clutch Master Cylinder went out a week or so ago and I finally replaced it last night, but the adjustment was off so that the clutch was releasing too soon. That took about 1/2 hour.

I checked the weather and winds in Isleton the town closest to where I keep the Catalina and they were calling for 12mph winds. So I decided that if the Lord was going to give me an impromptu day off, who was I to squander it sitting around the house surfing the net.
So I drove down to the boat, driving through a couple of rain showers on the way, but nothing serious. When I got to the boat, I fired up the Honda to get it warmed up, weird it wouldn't start with the choke on but started just fine without? It hasn't been run in a few days. I pulled the main sail, tiller and cabin covers off, and headed out of the harbor.

I got out on the river a little after 12 and it was raining and blowing about 10mph. Note to self, when single handing make sure you pull all of your sails and jib sheet cars out and hang them at the dock!
Once I got the sails up I had a nice if wet sail for about 20 minutes, then the rain went away, and about 20 minutes later so did the wind.
That was alright I was the only person on the river, there were migrating geese and ducks flying overhead, I saw a sea lion on one of the navigational buoys, the sun was breaking through the clouds and it was a beautiful day, totally awesome. I had no schedule and no expectations so I just let the boat drift with the current, went below and found a book that I had been reading, brought it up into the cockpit with my pipe, loaded the pipe, lit it, and cracked the book. I got about 30 minutes of just drifting along, reading and enjoying myself before the wind picked up a little bit and I had to go back to work. I sailed down to where I could see the house on the old Barge, the wind was very light and when I turned back toward the marina I was just about keeping even with the current. So I fired up the Honda and motored back. Even with the motoring back it was a super relaxed day on the water, everything kind of clicked and nothing really stressful, wow what a great change.
Drove back to town and did an estimate tonight, I guess back to the grind.

Pegi has this Friday off and we are talking about trying to do another weekend on the boat, the weatherman is calling for sunny days, so I'm sure it will rain cats and dogs.

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Damn Weatherman!
Orrin, Cloudy, cool, light winds
03/02/2009, San Joaquin River, California

So I'd been watching the weather forcasts for last Saturday and they were calling for a break in the Rain, Overcast skies and winds between 5-10mph ESE. Not racing weather but after the last few very wet weekends we've had it looked like fun. I called a good friend of mine who has helped me work on the boat but hasn't had a chance to go out, and asked if he wanted to try sailing.
He said sure and we planned to meet around 10am on Saturday at the boat.
Well when we got there, there was some light breeze, so we did some housekeeping on the boat, warmed the outboard up, and motored out of the marina, the goal?
Antioch for a late lunch then Back to Owl Harbor before dark.

Once out on the river we raised sails, but the wind was extremely light, and the water was glassy smooth.

A couple of time's during the day the wind came up, but nothing major. We did make antioch but it was mostly motor sailing or just plain motoring, here are some pics.


My friend Brian at the tiller.


A shot of the Antioch Bridge as we were heading back, we decided to skip the marina restaurant and made some top ramen and canned chicken instead. Actually it probably tasted better than anything we would have gotten at the restaurant and much cheaper.


An actual sailing shot, headed upriver back home.


Last shot of Brian as the sun was setting in the background.

Well we didn't get back until after sunset and there was heavy cloud cover and almost no moon, I just about ran us aground on one of the marsh's in the entrance to the yacht harbor.

On a different note I finally figured out how the depth meter works... OK I know how a depth meter works, I've owned boats for almost 18 years, but this one never seemed accurate. It would say that I was in 2 feet of water, but if I put the boat hook over the side (fully extended it is almost 10' long) I couldn't touch the bottom. Well we actually hit a couple of shoals on the way back and as far as I can tell the depth meter is calibrated to the extended depth of the keel. So when the depth meter say's I'm in two feet of water I'm actually in something like 7-8' of water, a good thing to know.

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General Update
02/24/2009, Sacramento

Well I haven't been doing much with the sailboat the last couple of weeks. But I've been working on a friends 36' Chris Craft sport fisher. He got a great price on the boat a couple of months ago and has decided to move out of his duplex and on to the boat, trading an $850 per month rent payment for a $300 a month slip fee. He has an outside berth at a small marina south west of Sacramento in a little town called Freeport. The slip has a great river view and he is very happy with the arrangement.

Well he is trying to improve the boat which was built in 69' and had a very ugly carpet in the berths and main salon, we talked about the alternatives and decided to go with an engineered wood floor glued and nailed to the plywood decking. After the floor is down I will go back and scuff the finish then put 4-5 coats of varnish to protect the floors from any water or moisture.

Here are some pictures of his new boat.


From the front.

The aft deck and flybridge.

Another Aft shot, the nice thing is that the all 3 of the sliding panels at the back move, so you and open them all to port, starboard, or move them to the middle depending on the deck configuration.
Here we are starting to lay the floor on the lower deck in the master berth, a lot of compound cuts and angles.
That is my employee Nate setting the cut pieces in place to make sure everything fits right.

Here is the main hallway, notice the bilge hatch covers? They will all have to be cut separately from the rest of the flooring so that my friend can access
the bilge in the future.
This is what the main salon looked like while we were laying the flooring down.
The finished shot of the downstairs deck and stairway, I still have a lot of finish work to do, varnish and trim mostly.
Here is the finished floor with bilge hatches in place, they will be trimmed in a black aluminum to clean the hatch covers up and also something to put weather stripping on to seal the hatches.
The finished salon floor you can see the 6 hatch covers again these will be trimmed out to blend in with the floor.
Another shot of the salon taken from the rear deck.
Final shot of the salon with rug and couch.
My friends wife is out from New Mexico where she lives and works to help him move onto the boat so I will not be doing any other work to the boat for a week or so. But when the floor is done I have to rebuild two raw water pumps, take out the electrosan head and install a composting head, install a propane cozy cabin style heater, possibly remove the "huge" generator, and replace the refrigerator and electric range and oven with propane or diesel versions.

While Nate and I were doing the flooring last week a lot of debris came floating down the river from the heavy rains the prior weekend here are some pictures.


These things were trucking by the boat at about 3-4 knots and catching against some of the boats and houseboats along the dock. The last shot is of a tree that was probably 50-60 feet long and actually got jammed between the pontoons on the houseboat 3 boats up from my friends boat. We tried to get the tree loose but with the current that was impossible, and before the marina staff could get a boat out there big enough to move the tree it literally tore the house boat from the dock, spinning it around. At least we were able to get a line tied to the aft end and kept the house boat from drifting away toward San Francisco.
Once the Houseboat spun around the log broke free, drifted past my friends boat and got hooked up on the houseboat one down from him, this time it got hooked on the railings and cabin. Finally they were able to tie onto the boat and haul it out into the water away from the docks, God knows what damage it did downstream.

I expect to see more logs like that this week after the torrential rains we got this weekend.

Well I'm sure there's more I should be writing but I'm tired. I will update more for my one or two readers later.
Enjoy your fat Tuesday.

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03/16/2009 | Mike Connolly
When I read the title of your Blog I was expecting a serious problem. Glad to hear is maintenace related issue. Good work these days.
03/16/2009 | Orrin Anderson
Yeah maybe it was a little dramatic, but at the time it felt dramatic! I wanted to go sailing dammit! Now I'm starting to sound like the spoiled little kid I am deep inside.
Actually I would have been much more upset if I hadn't done this and had a major failure of some kind ruining a day or worse getting someone hurt.
So this is a minor inconvenience that I can live with.
Probably for the best
Cold, rainy and really really windy
02/15/2009, Sacramento

Well being sick and not being able to go sailing this weekend was probably for the best. Looking at the wind speeds for today (the day we would have been sailing back from Benicia. Yeah pretty freaking high, the stations that measure and store wind data are showing winds as high as 47mph along our route home with pretty steady winds between 25-35 mph, add rain to the mix and cold weather and if I hadn't already been sick I probably would be after this weekend.

I guess everything works out for a reason.

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California Delta Sailing
Who: Orrin & Pegirae Anderson
Port: Isleton, Ca
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