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Sailing the California Delta
Stories of a new sailor exploring the California Delta on his 1982 Catalina 25
Sailing through Hell
Orrin, Triple digit heat and no wind
05/20/2009, California Delta

Well after a late start on Saturday we made it down to the boat. Pegirae and I were set to spend a great 17th anniversary on the water. Well we didn't make it down to the boat until late afternoon, and I decided to just motor up to Potato Slough our destination for the weekend. We arrived and found another sailboat there, we anchored nearby and chatted with "charles" for a while before I went below to get dinner ready. It was already hot in the cabin even with the front hatch open and the companion way open. I had finished my propane conversion of the old alcohol stove but could'nt find the gas line for the stove before we left so I ended up using the cheap "wall-mart" camp stove which was a little scary because the grate was not flat and the hot pots kept wanting to slide off any time the boat moved.
After a nice Italian (spaghetti) dinner with a celebratory glass of wine to toast our 17 years together in marital bliss, just the two of us and about a million mosquito's and other flying bugs (they got in before the netting went up) we settled down to our first night at anchor. Even at eleven pm it was still about 80+^ on the boat thank God for the forethought to get insect repellent because I was not sleeping under the covers that night.
About 3am I changed my mind because the boat was finally cooling down to around 30^ below, actually about 60^ but laying in bed with no cover at 3am it felt like 30^ below. We woke with the sun, this has not been a problem before because when we spent weekends on the boat over the winter the sun came up at a respectable hour, and the cloud cover usually enabled us to ignore it and go back to sleep. Not so Sunday morning we were up at six, hit the air pump on the mattress, answer natures call and sneak back to bed for another hour of sleep, by then the cabin was warming up to a nice high 70's temp wise.
I do have to admit this was the earliest we actually got up and got sailing. We had a light breakfast of Honey Do Mellon, I got out the cleaning bucket and cleaned the bow decks, then pulled anchor, pulling up all kinds of mud all over my newly cleaned decks (perfect). After breaking out the bucket, rinsing off the mud, then motoring out of the anchorage (the Honda worked flawlessly this weekend). We headed over to Franks Tract, the winds were very light and I pulled out the asymmetrical spinnaker we got with the boat. I had only used this sail once before and the winds were so light then, it was useless. I've been Leary of using this sail because of the reputation spinnakers have if you are single handing, but the sail worked great, the winds were just light enough that I was able to tack without going forward and "chuting" the sail through the tack, I just tacked, let the sail lightly shift sides, then when everything was clear adjusted the sail, and off we went. We were pulling a steady 3 knots in about 7mph of wind
We sailed around Franks tract for about 1 1/2 hours, I was able to actually use a bungee cord on the tiller and go below for visits (escapes from the sun) for up to 5 minutes without having to go above and adjust course. There were only power boaters out and we had the open areas of the tract to ourselves.
To make a long story less long, oh yeah too late. We got off of the tract and I pulled the chute down over the spinnaker leaving the main up, but pretty much just motored down false river, and up fishermen s cut, then accross the San Joaquin, dropped anchor and went swimming because it was so freaking hot, over 100^,
after finding out how badly the boarding ladder and railing were designed we headed back to Owl Harbor and home. When I was loading the boat up at the end of the day I looked at the digital thermometer and it read 111^ in the cabin, I would have taken a picture but I was too busy sweating and trying not to pass out.
Here's a Google earth track of our weekend sail,
anniversery cruise
the kicker was that on Monday my friend bill went sailing with a couple of other guys and the temps were in the mid 80^ and winds over 30mph, wtf???? Oh well here's hoping for a better sail this weekend with memorial day and all.

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05/20/2009 | nathaniel frost
you may want to do what i did for the tiller "stay" i cant wait to try it.
On the water again
05/16/2009, California Delta

Well I know I haven't been posting much lately, I did get out sailing a couple of times since April, but not much. The winds have picked up for the most part, this weekend however they are supposed to be light and it is supposed to be HOT! over 100^. This is Pegirae and my 17th anniversary so we are going to do our first weekend on the boat anchoring out. Wish us luck and I promise to update when I get back.

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05/16/2009 | BH
Hey! Happy A' day.... Hope you have a great weekend...

Curiosity has gotten the better of me, looking at your pic... With the sails down, and in the lee of the docks, I am trying to ficure out the rather extreme list on your Cat there...
05/17/2009 | nathaniel frost
what did you do now??? to make the boat heel so much?
05/17/2009 | Orrin Anderson
Redneck hull cleaning,
We tied an extra line to the mainsheet halyard and pulled the boat over to about 30^ from the other dock, if you look in the top right corner of the picture you can see the line. Then I took my pressure washer and sprayed most of the gunk off of the bottom of the boat. Saved $300.00
05/20/2009 | nathaniel frost
thats a good way! iv seen running the boats up on land...
First evening sail
Orrin/ Cool, winds 10-15mph
04/12/2009, San Joaquin River

Well after heading down to the boat early on Saturday and spending the day cleaning it up. I pulled the old brown carpet out to shake it out, then decided that the white fiberglass floors look so much better, so I took it up to my car to save as a future template if I want a different type of carpet.

I got the boat cleaned up but my wife decided that she was going to drive her own car down and meet me right before my client and her boyfriend were due to arrive, as it happens she ran out of gas and arrived about 45 minutes after my client Kimberly and her boyfriend Vince.

Now let me make myself clear, I become friends with some of my clients/customers it is one of the things I love about my job and I became fast friends with Kimberly, she is just that type of person, very open, friendly, funny, etc. So when I bought the Catalina and was telling her about it she asked if I had considered renting it to make up for the loss of income from the slow down in home remodels. I pretty much said that I would never rent the sailboat, and the list of people that I would loan her too was very very very short. Then I asked her why and she told me about how she wanted to surprise her boyfriend on his 40th with some kind of cruise. I told her I would be happy to take her and her boyfriend out for a dinner cruise.
That was two months ago, she has been so excited about the evening that she was willing to go out if it was raining (the weather report was iffy).

But as it turned out yesterday was beautiful and even though the winds were light, it was going to be a nice sail day.

Kimberly and Vince showed up at 4, they brought the food and drink and we spent the next hour just kind of hanging out at the dock. I hanked the jib on at the dock so I didn't have to worry about it on the river, warmed the outboard up (still finicky) then after my wife showed up we cast off and motored out of the marina. I raised the sails going out of the harbor as the wind was on the beam and kind of motor sailed out. Just at the entrance to the harbor the wind picked up and the boat started healing lifting the outboard out of the water, so I shut it off. As soon as the outboard shut off the wind died a little and I think we were dragging half of the underwater weeds in the harbor off of my keel and rudder. the wind started to push us into the marsh at the entrance to the harbor and of course the outboard did not want to start.
I asked my wife to grab the tiller while I messed with the outboard, then turned facing aft grabbing the starter rope and giving it a hard fast pull. I felt my hand hit something hard and turned around to see my wife kneeling in the cockpit holding her head. Rather than move to the other side of the cockpit, she leaned over and without thinking of what was behind me I nailed her good. She was seeing double and had a horrible headache but did not want to go back in, and actually soldiered through the night, without showing how much pain she was in.
Here is a picture of our route. The first push pin is where we ran aground and I hit my wife, the second is where we dropped anchor, had dinner and watched the sunset.

bohanon sail

Once we got the outboard running, and out of the mud, we motored/sailed over to the floating channel marker that the local sea lions call home and let Kimberly and Vince say hello and get some pictures.

Then we headed down wind and up river with the returning tide, considering we were still hauling a small forest on the keel I think we made decent time, the temp was dropping fast though, so I put the pop up camper canvas on, and actually dug out the propane tent space heater I keep on board and Pegi (my wife) Kimberly & Vince went below while I manned the tiller. We arrived at potato slough dropped anchor and had some awesome chicken wraps that Kimberly had prepared, hung out, talked and enjoyed each other company. Then watched the sunset, hung out some more, then I hauled the anchor and motored back home.

Of course the moon did come out last night, just not until about 10:30, and it was dark, luckily I brought the GPS and the channel is well marked. The new lights worked great though, and I really really love the new deck light. It made hauling anchor and putting the boat away a lot easier.

Here are some pic's from the sail.

Pegi and Kimberly coming down to the boat.


Kimberly at the tiller.


Kimberly and Vince at sunset.


Sunset at potato slough.

Mount Diablo in the distance.

Pegi and I in the Cabin.


Kimberly and Vince in the cabin.


Well hopefully this is the start of a great season, the outboard still needs some fine tuning and now a new spark plug and wire since I had to take the motor cover off on the way back (to tap the carb and get it to start) when I was backing into the slip the dock caught the outboard and broke then end off of one of the spark plugs and wire ends, not a big deal I need to change the plugs anyway, and I got the new timing belt so I will probably do that repair at the same time.

Well until next time.

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06/28/2010 | Jay Bernard
Hi I have been reading your posts, how often are you on the boat do u ever sail to the bay??
08/20/2010 | JAY
Scheduling conflicts!!!
Raining and cold
04/08/2009, Sacramento, Ca

April 5th was the Berkley Yacht club swap meet, the first one of the season, I've been looking forward to going to the swap meet for like 4 months. I was hoping to find a cheap Boom Vang and whisker pole, plus who knows??
Was I in Berkley at 6am on the 5th to take advantage of all of those great deals????
NO I had to be in church to push for the missions trip I am heading up to Mexicali.

Apr. 11 - Encinal YC's Nautical Flea Market, the largest in the East Bay. Breakfast, lunch and beverages available. 6 a.m.-1 p.m. Info, (510) 522-3272 or

Where will I be on April 11th? Not in Encina, checking out those great deals, no I will be having breakfast with some of the men of my church going over the changes in the leadership of our Men's ministry.

Apr. 15-19 - Strictly Sail Pacific & Power Boat Expo, Jack London Square. As the West Coast's really big all-sailboat show, this is a must-see for sailors. Info,

Apr. 18 - Emeryville Marina's 2nd Annual Boaters Swap Meet, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Info, (510) 654-3716.

April 15th -19th will I be in Jack London square drooling over all the shiny new sail boats, or in Emeryville checking out their swapmeet deals? No I will be in Mexico building a storage shed for a Clinic serving the poor.

Apr. 25 - Opening Day on the Delta Boat Parade. Starts at noon in front of San Joaquin YC on Dutch Slough.

Apr. 25 - Stockton Sailing Club's Boaters Swap Meet, 8-11 a.m. Info,

Apr. 25 - Sail a Small Boat Day at Lake Washington Sailing Club in West Sacramento. Info,

Where will I be on April 25th? Possibly in Stockton first thing in the morning for their swap meet, but I will not be at the Lake Washington sail a small boat day (my own sail club), I will not be taking part in the Opening Day on the Delta Boat Parade. Starts at noon in front of San Joaquin YC on Dutch Slough, no I will be playing some bastardized version of survivor the home game all afternoon at our church. Have I mentioned how much I hate Survivor the TV show? I don't think I've ever even watched an entire episode, now I have to waste a perfectly good sail day with all kinds of sailing events going on all around my area, while I play the poor excuse of a game based on a TV show I hate? Have I mentioned how much I love my wife and want to make her happy? Have I mentioned how much she likes Survivor? Have I mentioned where I will be the afternoon of the 25th for 5 miserable hours?

I might as well just write April off as a sailing month, and start looking forward to May.

May 2 - Napa Valley Marina Nautical Flea Market, 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Info,

May 9 - 10th Annual Marine Flea Market at Anderson's Boat Yard in Sausalito, 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Benefits Sausalito YC Junior Sailing Program. Info,

May 17 - Nautical Swap Meet at Marina Bay Yacht Harbor in Richmond, 8 a.m.-noon.

May 23 - Peninsula YC Marine Flea Market at Docktown Marina in Redwood City, 7:30 a.m.-2 p.m.

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04/08/2009 | nathaniel frost
wow! man, have fun! you know the last show of the "bad show" i cant call it its name as i hate it soooooooo much! was in gabon west africa! that is were i stayed for a month in a hammock!
Sunny and warm
04/06/2009, Owl Harbor, Isleton, Ca

One of the other projects I took care of over the last few weeks was to rebuild the "Flipper" faucet/pump in the galley.
It was getting really bad, we would have to pull the faucet end out and prime it with water from a bottle to get it to pump, so that we could wash our hands, do dishes etc. I do not use the water from the tank right now because it needs to be cleaned and honestly the water in the marina tastes horrible, but it works well for doing dishes etc.

here is a picture of the pump.

I found a couple of rebuild kits online and some articles online at the Catalina owners website
But the morning that I went down with the new coax I stopped by west marine and they had the rebuild kit competitively priced if I factored in the shipping costs and they had it right there, I didn't have to wait a week for the kit, so I bought it.
When I got down to the boat ended up having to remove the sink so that I could get my largest channel locks on the lock ring/nut for the faucet. I figured it would take 1/4 hard turn then it would loosen up. Nope whoever installed the faucet at Catalina cross threaded the nut and it fought me the entire way off, this is a nylon nut on a nylon faucet so I know there was no oxidation or rust, and honestly as hard as it was to get off I'm really surprised something didn't break.
Once the faucet was off it came apart pretty easy and took about 45 minutes to rebuild, the kit came with all new gaskets, o-rings, a new check valve and check balls.
I took the opportunity to replace the hose clamps for the fresh water line and for the waste line from the sink, one of them had been leaking into the drawer below the sink and causing havoc. I resealed the sink with silicone caulk when I set it back in and tested the faucet, works like new for 1/3 the price.

The next thing I want to do is install my shure-flow pump. I have a through hull fitting under the cockpit that was used for the original depth sounder. The PO had abandoned that for a new depth sounder transducer under the dinette. So I have an unused through hull fitting that is close to the galley sink that would work great as a raw water source. The plan is to put a valve on the through hull, then a filter and line to the pump, then a faucet. Then I would have endless water for washing and such, and I could sanitize the fresh water system and actually use it for drinking and cooking water.
To sanitize the fresh water tank and plumbing I will need to replace the fill line 3/4-1 1/2" line about 6' then 1/2" line from the tank to the Flipper faucet about 10'. This will happen some time this summer. I already have the pump. I will need to figure out the valve and such but it is a very doable project.

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All lit up
Warm and Sunny, Hey it's california!
04/05/2009, Owl Harbor, Isleton, California

Well it's been a couple of weeks since my last post and apologize to my loyal readers. A lot and a little has happened.
I was able to get new lights off of E-bay, a new Frenzel style masthead light from Hella and a new steaming/halogen deck light also from Hella, both for under $60 including shipping!
I got new Antenna Coax from a local electronics store not the type of store where you buy stereos, the real electronics store, where you go if you want to build your own computer or something from the chips up.
I think I spent about $200.00 in the last couple of weeks on parts for the boat, got a new fire extinguisher the original was last checked in 1992, smoke detector, 4 circuit wiring to wire the new lighting in.
Last Saturday I had a friend (Mike with the Chris Craft) come down and help me wire and solder in the new antenna connectors (pl259) and new lights. Then we stepped the mast, put the wiring of the deck connector and cabin wiring off and tried to go sailing - very little wind, but it gave us a chance to test the radio - it works very well, not sure if it works better than before, but it works just as well and the antenna insulation is not cracking letting moisture in.
Today I slept in, something I haven't done on a Saturday for tooo long, then went down to the boat to finish up the mast repairs. I took my old Golden retriever with me so that she could hang out on the boat (more on this later). On the drive down my good friend Brian called and filled me in on his new toy, an FJ13 he is refitting and getting ready for summer. Check him out at "I am thinking... Second Wind" after chatting with him for most of the 45 minute drive I signed off as the cell signal was failing, right before pulling into the marina.
Started off my drilling a 1/2" hole in the deck/cabin liner for the new wiring. Catalina actually fiber glassed over the wiring for the Mast when they assembled the boat I guess it was never meant to be replaced or upgraded. I ran the new wiring through the cabin to the switch panel and and finished installing the new 4 pin deck connector. Then I tested all of the circuits with an ohm meter, it seems like their shorted, getting cross connections all over the place. Looks like I will have to step the mast again to get to the wiring inside of the mast, I verified it was not the new wiring in the cabin (that would be too easy) after that was done I worked on the outboard a little I was not happy with the way the recoil starter (pull rope starter) was working and pulled it off to make some adjustments. The motor is getting very hard to start, but runs fine once it starts.... There was a little breeze blowing through the marina and it was about 4pm so I put Poppy (the Golden Retriever) into the boat, hanked on the Jib (I'm learning this is easier to do at the dock when single handing) and cast off. I motored through the marina, the outboard actually sounding like a good running outboard, not a steel coffee can full of loose nuts rolling down a hill. When I got to the mouth of the San Joaquin river I reached back to idle the motor down and raise the jib, instead of idling down the engine died (I wasn't that far out into the river). I tried to restart the engine and on the 3rd pull the rope didn't return (crap). I raised the jib just to try and keep forward momentum, then lashed the tiller in place and went forward to drop the anchor.
I dropped the anchor in about 30' of water letting out about 90' of rode, I know it is not enough but it did the job. The I went back, pulled the hood off of the motor, then started pulling the recoil starter off. I told myself to be careful and not drop the socket and ratchet wrench into the river, not 30 seconds later I heard a power boat coming out of the harbor entrance and as I turned to look... You got it I dropped the damn tool into the river!
Luckily I had another 10mm socket and wrench. I finished pulling the starter off without loosing any other parts or tools. I got it into the cockpit and opened it up, turns out the recoil spring had unraveled. I re-wound the spring, then re-wound the pull rope, I wasn't happy with the job I had done before (the rope broke the week before last) I put the starter back together, got it back on the motor, and tried starting the engine - no good. So I took the screwdriver handle I had handy and tapped on the side of the carb then gave the starter a pull.... The engine started right up and ran fine???? This is getting old I really need to rebuild my spare carb and get this one changed out.

I left the engine running and went forward to pull the anchor, after getting the anchor up I motored up river toward Stockton, the rest of the sail was uneventful, beautiful day on the river all I needed was some wind.

After making it as far as Old River and shutting the engine off and drifting for a while as I cleaned the cabin up. I tried starting the engine again, it is really getting hard to start and as I pumped the fuel bulb I could hear a sucking noise from the fuel tank which should be full, I think I will change it out for a new 6 gallon tank I bought for my smaller sailboat and never used, and get a new line and primer bulb. This may be contributing to the hard starting problem.
I motored back without any other problems, at least until I got close to the marina and tried to raise my keel. The harbor has a ton of vegetation in the water that fouls the keel and rudder really bad, so I've found if I raise my swing keel I don't snag as much junk. Well we found on one of the few windy days that water will splash up into the cockpit on the keel cable soaking the 1/4 berth cushion, so we keep an old rag stuffed into the cable tube, this works pretty well but I need to remember to pull it out before raising the keel, this time I forgot.
The rag got tangled up in the winch and jammed it up, the keel was about 1/3 of the way up and I couldn't raise or lower it. I hadn't shut the outboard off I just lashed the tiller in place when I went below to take care of the keel and while I was working on the rag the boat was going in slow circles down the river with what looked like my golden at the tiller. Sure must have looked weird (ha). I finally got the rag out, and the keel raised then motored into the harbor, put the boat away for the week and got ready to head home.
As I was motoring into the harbor the sun was going down so I was able to test my new lighting. Everything works, but I'm getting some feedback between the anchor light and deck light I will have to look for a short next week.
At this point my wife called with extreme drama and needed me home NOW! I raced to lock the boat up and get my stuff to the car, as I was walking down the dock with armloads of stuff my dog, did I mention she was like 14 years old and going blind? decided to walk right off of the dock into the river. I dropped all of my stuff and leaned over the dock grabbing at Poppy afraid that she was going to swim under a dock and drown. I got a hold of her, pulled her out, now I had a wife freaking out at home and a soaking dog, could things get better? I put the dog in the car on a coat I had, then went back to the boat to get the rest of my stuff and lock it up. At this point my wife called, her friend Jerry had saved the day and the crisis was averted, so now I just had a soaked dog and frazzled nerves to deal with.

Even with all of the problems it was a good day on the water, I'm that much closer to having a dependible safe boat for the summer. Next week I'm actually taking a client and her boyfriend out for a dinner cruise. I hope there is enough wind.

Sorry about the long post, also here are some pictures from today.

Flying the colors:

Poppy the wonder dog:


Running with the outgoing tide, over the ground versus indicated:


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04/06/2009 | Bryan Hillyard
Wow, and I thought my weekend was full of trials... You did get one thing I didn't though... Water time...

May have to come out and see you soon while my stuff is curing up and waiting to be put back on the trailer so I can finish the job.

I wouldn't want you to have all the fun. Let me know if you want some help unstepping that mast again to fix the wiring. Maybe the mast wiring is afflicted with the same brittle insulation your VHF antennae wire was, and it is shorting?

Damn dog... I remember Poppy blasting into the water at New Hogan when Toby was a pup, you sure she wasn't just doing the Golden Retriever thing and deciding to go swimming at the worst possible moment? Every Golden I have ever seen has this impeccable sense of timing... Wait to hit the water until it will cause the most frustration to my owner...

Take care... May is approaching, and the spring blows are on their way...

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