Sent:                                            Saturday, September 22, 2012 1:26 PM

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Subject:                                       Catalina 30 Newsletter







It was late July and I was on the boat doing my final preparations before taking off for a week in the Delta.  This year I scheduled my trip to the Delta for late July so I could get back to Chicago for my folk’s 89th and 90th birthdays.  Both my folks have their birthdays in July and I wanted to be there to celebrate.  For a change, the weather in Chicago was pleasant.  After I got back I installed my new 90 watt solar panel and charge controller, hoping that the upgrade would keep my new reefer running for the trip.  I wasn’t too concerned about ice (I stashed several blocks of ice in a cooler I keep in the quarter berth), but was hoping I would have enough power to keep the reefer operating and the food and drinks cold.  As I was working through my list of last minute projects, some boats began coming in to our club and Beatle’s music began playing over the harbor speakers.  I knew that the Delta Doo Dah fleet was using Vallejo Yacht Club as its stop-over for the first night, but what’s with the music?  Then I figured out that this was the 4th Delta Doo Dah, or Fab Four at they called it, and it all made sense.  Among the boats that made it up to Vallejo for the DDD were two Cat 30s, Mike and Lorianna Kastrop on Goose and a couple on Windmill whom I didn’t meet.  It looked like they were all ready to party. 


The Doo Dah fleet planned on leaving Sunday at noon, so I made sure that we was backing out of the slip before then to avoid the confusion and congestion.  I always stay at Antioch Marina the first night, and the winds and current cooperated for a nice trip through the Carquinez Straits and down  Suisun Bay.  Antioch has a pump-out station at the fuel dock so it is an easy place to pull in, fuel up, pump out, and move to a slip for the night.  The rates are reasonable – just $15 for a 30 footer.  Monday we took off for Potato Slough, and by 2 p.m. the hook was set and the drinks were poured.  Potato Slough in late July and early August is warm and quiet, with only a few boats out during the week.  Unfortunately I had a bunch of paperwork that I brought with me and that needed to get done, so I didn’t get into full Delta mode until Wednesday afternoon.  Still, it beats being at the office.  We did see the Doo Dah Fleet on Thursday, but they were mostly anchored behind Bedroom 2.  And I also got to try out my new dink.  I had an old 9’-4” Zodiac that I used for my Mexico trip in ’03 and ’04, and it gave up the ghost last year.  Replacement models were in the range of $1,800+, and I just didn’t want to part with that kind of money.  So I found a brand new 2011 Bombard inflatable at Defender Marine for under $1,000, even with shipping.  Bombard is the less expensive line of Zodiac inflatables, but it is just fine for the Bay and Delta.  It looks to be virtually the same as West Marine’s inflatable sold in the store for $300 more, and has better features than the West Marine model.  It is a little shorter at 9’, and fits fine on the foredeck.  I put my 6 hp outboard on it, and it planes nicely with two people in it.  Next year I plan on adding a kayak for the Delta trip so I can do a little paddling around the slough.


I will say, a refrigerator is nice, especially in the Delta.  The past few years I carried a 50 quart and later a 75 quart 5-day cooler with blocks of ice.  It works, but some of the food spoiled and I was running out to Korth’s Pirate’s Lair every few days for ice.  With the reefer up and running, the food stayed cold and I could use the 50 quart cooler for keeping ice and drinks.  And I only had to make one run out for ice.  So I would say it was a success.  However, a refrigerator is a power hog, and I was constantly monitoring the batteries and turning the reefer off at night to save some juice.  I’ve changed out some of the cabin light with LEDs, and plan to replace the rest of them in the next few weeks to save a few amp-hours.  It looks like I will also need to add a second bank of Group 27 batteries now, but that’s a project for next spring.  I just need to keep reminding myself how nice it is to have cold drinks when I am doing all these projects and spending all this money. 




Well, all good things must end, and Saturday meant it was time to take down the cockpit awning down, stow the gear, pull up the anchor, and head for home.  The trip down the San Joaquin River was uneventful, although the wind was blowing nicely.  We ran into the Doo Dah’ers on the way down with Mike and Lorianna on Goose leading the charge.  Of course, the trip back was not going to be as easy as the trip out, and as Mike said, Suisun Bay was “kickin’ ”.  Gotta love pounding into 20+ knots of wind and a short chop.  I thought of taking the easy way out, pulling into Antioch for the night, and heading out early the next morning, but we just pushed on instead.  And who did we see out there doing the same thing but Goose.  You can sure tell the difference between a racing boat and a cruising boat.  We had a double reef in the main and a dodger to hide behind, and Mike and Lorianna had a full main and were looking directly into the spray.  Long story short, the main helped powered us through the chop and things settled down as we reached the Benicia Bridge.   I think we left around 9 a.m., and got into VYC just after 6 p.m.  I felt sorry for Mike and Lorianna, and figured they had a several more hours ahead of them in the dark to get down to South Beach.  But then who did I see but Goose at the guest dock, and Mike and Lorianna relaxing.  Smart way to go.  I suspect they had a much nicer trip home the following morning. 




Just thought I would remind everyone, Fleet Week is right around the corner.  This year it is October 6th and 7th.  And there is no better place to watch the festivities and the Blue Angels than from your Cat 30 anchored in Aquatic Park.  You can relax with a drink in your hand and not worry about the crowds on the shore or playing dodge ball with the hundreds of boats on the Bay.  And the nice thing about Aquatic Park is that it is limited to rowboats and sailboats, so we can come in and anchor.  Aquatic Park is under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service, and you can get more info at its website,  Just click on the link for Aquatic Park for more info.  I am planning on coming in Friday afternoon, and will probably stay until Monday.  If you plan to stay overnight, you will need to get an Aquatic Park Anchoring Permit and submit it to the NPS.  You can get a copy on line by visiting the NPS Aquatic Park website and asking them to email it to you.  Then you just send it back to them by email and you’re good to go.  Hope you can make it out, and hope to see you on the Bay. 


Jim Sobolewski

Fleet Captain, Fleet 1

s/v Bella Luna      

916.425.3469 (cell)