Friday, October 23, 2015

CIYC's 31st Annual Down Bay Cruise

CIYC’s 31st Annual Down Bay Cruise

You will have to look at the many photos to get the full picture (, but we can say it was another successful event. Eventually there were eight boats involved and many CIYCers came by car along with invited guests.  Marking an all time record, Vern and Caro Green participated for the 31st time (Although Caro had to call in from a hospital once—what a gal!).

The event started a day early, on September 30th , for the Green’s on Southern Bell, Pages on Delta Moon and the Lyman’s on Happy Clown. (Southern Bell spent the night before at Pittsburg YC to break up the long trip from Discovery Bay to Benicia.) They were met on the docks by Fleet Captain, Bill Ritter, and brother Bob who keep their Suz E Q at the Benicia Marina.  Some of us walked into town for the farmers market and street scene while others repaired directly to the club bar. 2016 club Secretary, Phyllis Ritter, joined us for dinner on the deck overlooking the marina along with Glenn Peck and Marsha Fine. The weather was terrific as it was for the entire cruise.

The next morning we made our way all the way (5 miles) to Vallejo Yacht Club where the cruise formally began.  We were put in empty slips because the club expected a horde kayaks the next day who would be participating in the city’s annual Waterfest over the weekend. The four boats were joined by Joel Panzer and Linda Hess on the Happy Pappy. Also joining in were Michelle, Diane and friend, Tami, on Knot Too Fancy bringing the fleet count at this point up to six boats.  It was a very long walk on some pretty rickety docks for most us up to the clubhouse (we overheard a conversation among that club’s members about detailed plans to dredge and completely rebuild their marina in the near future.)  Dinner was in the clubhouse that night and it was early to bed ahead of longest cruise segment beginning early the next morning.

We departed as a group about 9 AM, but Knot Too Fancy was more than a bit disappointed when they got to the Vallejo Municipal Marina fuel dock and found that it was closed on weekends (Go figure!).  They had to backtrack to Benicia to take on the fuel needed to get up to Petaluma and then west to San Rafael, a long stretch of no fuel supply for the gas- powered boats.

Traveling up the Petaluma River was as scenic as always, but very slow due to a construction project along the way.  It turns out the very old rail line between Larkspur and Petaluma is being rebuilt for mass transit purposes and the bridge just before town was to be closed for construction except for between12:00 and 12:30 PM!  That meant that our fleet had to time its arrival at that bridge within a 30 minute window or risk having to idle in a very narrow channel till the next opening at 3:00. We were talking by cell phone to the foreman on the project to make sure that the bridge was actually going to get open on time.

We went through that bridge on time and under the “D” Street Bridge before sterning into the docks near the Petaluma YC deck. The new bridge, by the way, is beautiful.  Rather than tearing out the original bridge (probably built in the 20s) and replacing with a modern structure, the builders bought a bridge built in 1980 and used in Galveston, TX.  It looks very similar to the old one but has all new works. From now on we will need to arrange for two bridge openings in and out of Petaluma.

Petaluma was cool as ever with great docks, good folks in the club, many nearby restaurants, and plenty of things to see and do.  Bikes came off Southern Bell, Happy Clown, Suzy  E Q and Knot Too Fancy. We rode alone and in groups throughout the town and especially in the neighborhoods of old Victorian houses.  Groups large and small got together for dinner and it was great to include Curt and Marsha Hayes along with long time CIYC admirer Donna, Marsha’s niece, in the dock fun and dinner.  Also visiting were Red and Betty Griffith, Michael, Sally Sue and Christine Christopher, Jody Lyman and Gregor Lumsden, and Phyllis Ritter plus Bob and Bill's sister, Nancy.  One of the highlights of our time there was Movie Night put on by the Page Cinema showing "Hangover" to a good crowd and furnishing popcorn! If you can believe it, Gary actually printed up tickets for the affair.  We sat in tiers of chairs on the dock watching the monitor on Delta Moon's flybridge.

After two nights in Petaluma, we left for San Rafael in time to make the noon opening of the aforementioned bridge.  All went well for a nice trip on the outgoing tide all the way back into the Bay.  The tide was low going into the San Rafael Channel but nobody touched bottom, or admitted it.  At one point depth finders on both Happy Clown and Delta Moon reported zero water under the boats while in the channel, but if we touched, we knew that  the mud is like heavy dirty water for some feet down.

We were met by Commodore Chip Maguire and Jackie on their About Time.  They were on the docks of the yacht club along with a CIYC member from long ago, Deanna Desin, helping get the fleet onto the guest docks.  Deanna is now a member of SRYC and managed to open the bar for all. Soon Joel and Colette came in on their Dream Catcher, with wave runner in tow as a dinghy, to join the fleet.  This brought our fleet count up to eight boats.

Ted put together a crew on the docks of Jackie Maguire, Gary Page and Vernon Green to attach the CIYC collection of burgees to 10- foot lengths of line to be used for decorations at future events.  We have collected about 135 of these over the years from all over the Bay, the state and, indeed, the world.

Red and Betty Grifith came in from their nearby home in Novato and Phil Calderoni appeared from Pittsburg. (Phil wanted to come by boat, but it wasn't ready for the cruise). It was dock talk till happy hour and hors d’oeuvres at about five (as was the case every afternoon).  The Commodore fired up the club barbeque, side dishes were assembled and the night put right with a fine dinner inside the clubhouse as the bay breeze set in. 

The next day was spent, as were all the days, hanging out, shopping, exploring and the like.  The Lyman’s hosted their friend Diane Mercer for the afternoon with a dinghy ride the length of the channel and then lunch at a very cool restaurant (Pier 15) with a very rickety dinghy dock. (You all don’t know Diane, but it is her father’s recipe that JoAnne uses for her famous Gin Fizzes).  Several others made their way to that same restaurant for dinner.

About Time and Delta Moon left San Rafael after one day for a couple of days at South Beach Marina as the rest of us (the entire fleet couldn’t get reservations) headed off to Berkeley Marina and the yacht club there the following day. 

On the way to Berkeley, we traveled down and back out the historically-significant Santa Fe channel in Richmond. We checked out the old shipyards, the Red Oak Victory, now being restored, and a jeep and tank factory (once turning out Fords) along the way. The Rosie the Riveter museum is located in this facility and we had handout material from that group to help guide each boat through this area that was such a major factor in our winning WW II.

Berkeley YC offered close-quarter berthing, but we all got in without major difficulty. Guests arrived and the party ramped up. Dinner that night for most was at Skates, a great place to eat that looks directly out the Golden Gate Bridge. The sunsets from the Berkeley YC clubhouse were incredible.
We had power supply problems the entire time on these docks, with the issue apparently within the clubhouse. Our boats weren’t the problem since the weather was on the warm side so no heaters were in major use.

The second day in Berkeley found Diane Shoff and friend, Shelly, up at O dark 30 to head to Emeryville for a day of ocean fishing on a party boat (Shelly caught one small one) and the Happy Pappy crew was up at a similar hour to go to San Francisco to join Joel's breakfast club in hosting four Blue Angels pilots.  These same pilots were flying their practice runs overhead that afternoon.

After two days in Berkeley, we took off for Treasure Island’s Clipper Cove and guest docking for two days at that marina. We were joined again by About Time plus Erlyn Lucas Payne and Don Payne on their Dawg Gone Wild with dog Betty on board. Delta Moon had to boogie back to Village West to get ready for a long-planned visit to the east coast to see relatives.  Out came the bikes, the dock tables and chairs, the gin fizzes, and everything else that goes with CIYC cruise outs. We were joined over the two days by some of Caliente’s most active members—Jack and Rosalie DiBartolo, Red and Betty Griffith, Kim and Mark Sechler (and her granddaughter), Phil and Sue Calderoni, the Christopher clan and visitors to the Greens, Maguires, Paynes, Curtis-Browns, Lymans and Ritters, which means, every boat had visitors.  The big dock party after the Blue Angels flew had 35 folks lined up along the sterns of our boats. Fleet Captain, Ritter, graciously supplied margaritas for the dock party and the Treasure Island Yacht Club roasted a pig in our honor (or maybe just because they wanted to and we happened to be there!).

Alas, after two days of this fun, it was time for the group to break up and make their ways onward. Happy Clown, Suz E Q and Dawg Gone Wild headed off for an overnight on the docks of the Sausalito Cruising Club. Yes, the water is thin there and that island seemingly feet in front of their guest dock is still there, now with a little man standing tall (see photos).  We began calling this very cool place the Rusty Porthole of Sausalito. A long walk along the waterfront, leisurely drinks at the club bar and dinner at a nearby Japanese restaurant rounded out the day.

To catch a very timely flood tide, we left Sausalito early and rode home in perfect weather.  It was a good time had by all.  Thanks to Fleet Captain, Bill Ritter, for putting this fine Down Bay cruise together.

Speaking of Rusty Porthole, don’t forget our General Meeting there on October 24.  Check in with Commodore Maguire on docking and Entertainment Director Marsha Hayes for meal info.

Ted and JoAnne Lyman  


Tuesday, September 1, 2015


For anyone watching the weather reports, it took some real water dogs to brave the heat over the August 14-16 weekend and get out on the water.  Temps were forecast to be in the high 90's and Sunday at Bethel Island saw a documented 104 degrees.  But CIYC offered two inter-related events that were all about being either on the water, or in the water or both, and we had a fine turn out for these two events.

The first group to anchor out at Mildred Island on Friday, August 14th, included the Page, Christopher, Maguire, Eck, Calderoni and Saffari boats.  After a bit of anchor replacements and getting these boats securely tied into the raft, the party commenced.  Lots of boat visiting, floating in water and cocktails were the priority activities for the initial group of Caliente cruisers.  It is unlikely that anyone got dehydrated.

The following morning saw the "Go-Fast" boats arriving at Mildred Island on schedule and set off on the cruise at 1000 hours.  Ted and Jo Anne Lyman had their "Green Hornet" loaded with past CIYC members, Marvin and Patti Cecchini, as well as Lifetime Member, Judy Scrimger.  Fleet Captain, Bill Ritter, roped his Pleasanton neighbor into the fun for a second year and packed a large ski boat with eager mystery cruisers and poker players.  Bill Eck had his friend, Wanda, with him in his very fast (70 mph) ski boat along with Christine Christopher.  To round out the group, Michael and Sally Sue inaugurated their new-to-them runabout by loading it with Commodore Maguire and others picked up along the way.

This happy crew of 15-20 people took off for the first stop at Orwood Resort and the obligatory Bloody Mary's.  Being that it was forecast to be a very warm weekend, Orwood had ski boats everywhere -- launching, hanging on the docks and many just enjoying "see me" cruising around aimlessly, most with their music turned up loud.  This scene -- ski boats, "look at me" cruising and loud music seemed to fill the south Delta.  The water ski/boarding/scurfing, etc. scene was everywhere.  Our next stop was Union Point where Bloody Mary's turned to a beer or two for many (not the Captains).  Then it was off to the high point of the cruise, which was a catered lunch.  This was at Tiki Lagoon where the owners basically closed the restaurant down to accommodate our cruisers.  We had several lunch options, three fine shaded tables on the levee lawn where we could watch the unfolding scene on the water.  Michael Christopher provided an overview of the history of this event, noting that Judy's husband, Glen, launched the first Go-Fast cruise but passed away before his year as Commodore could really get started.  He noted that Judy stepped into the role of Commodore and carried off a very successful year.

By noon on Saturday, the second group of Caliente cruisers began arriving at Mildred Island with the Billens, Easly/McGees, and Sechlers completing the Mildred Island raft making a total of 9 boats with a quick visit from the Culbertsons.  Again, getting in the water was the main priority and therefore the majority of the group floated until the "Go-Fast" boats began arriving back about mid afternoon.  Due to where we were anchored, there was lots of "rocking and rolling" so the "Go-Fast" boats were not able to stick around and visit with the raft folks as the rafters had hoped.

Saturday night was beautiful and those at the anchor out had a great time visiting.  Hating to see the weekend end, everyone got back into the water on Sunday to float as long as possible.  The raft started breaking up around 2 o'clock and everyone was on their way home by 3.  A great time was had by all.

Thanks to Commodore Maguire for putting this event together and especially to Michael and Sally Sue for making all of the arrangements for the "Go-Fast" Cruise.  You can see photos of both of these events at on the Photo tab.  Next up:  Curt and Marsha Hayes' always-winning event at Commodore Island over the long Labor Day weekend.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Sportsmen Yacht Club Cruise Out and Luau Weekend August 7 – 9

CIYC cruisers started this event by early arrivals.  The Ritter's Sue Z Q arrived at the SYC around 10:30 AM with Fleet Captain Bill and a crew of Brother Bob and Bob's son-in-law Neal on board.  Friday evening dinner was a wonderful enchilada dinner with fruit plate and was enjoyed by the crew of Sue Z Q along with Judy Scrimger and Dane and Honorfel Holweger who came earlier by land.

Saturday morning, a wonderful breakfast was provided by club members and served to all who were at the club.  Shortly after noon, Silver Star (Michael/Bernie Billen) arrived, followed shortly by Delta Pearl (Dane/Honorfel Holweger).  By mid afternoon, the early birds (Jo/Mike Daniels and Red/Betty Griffith) arrived at the club by car and made their way down to the dock.  Of course, this was a good enough reason for an impromptu dock party with Mai Tai's on Silver Star.  The Curtis-Brown threesome arrived shortly and all were ready for the tour of the Museum at 5 PM.  By now a few more CIYCers and guests had joined the Ritter party -- Sue, Phyllis, and neighbor Nick drove in.  The museum historian, Kathy, was full of information and personal stories that made it all seem so real -- she even shared her "room" with us.  The Sportsmen YC clubhouse is a museum piece, celebrating the story of this old Bay ferryboat from the 19th century.  If you haven't seen this place or its museum before, it is certainly a must see!!

Our club had a quite respectable showing of two full tables for the luau.  It was obvious that this club goes all out with decorations, etc. for their annual luau and we were happy to be a part of it.  The dinner included pulled pork and chicken, rice, coleslaw and a beautiful table of various fruits.  The dessert table had something delectable for every taste. 

The Hawaiian dancers were fantastic -- how can those bodies move those hips so fast???  They did numerous dances prior to getting the "locals" up on stage to participate with them.  These few struggled to keep up, but they were certainly good sports.  A lovely evening was had by all.

Sunday was quiet but the few who were around enjoyed another great breakfast at the clubhouse.  SYC members were there to help each of us get off the dock and headed back "home".

Thanks to Steve Kling for setting this up for us and to Fleet Captain Ritter for all of the coordination.  Next up is the Glen C. Scrimger Mystery Go-Fast run that leaves from the Mildred Island anchor out the weekend of August 14-16.  The Go-Fast departs the raftup at 10 AM sharp on August 15th.  Then we have the annual Commodore Island event over the long Labor Day weekend.  And don't forget CIYC's 10-day-long Down Bay Cruise that departs on October 2 and returns on October 12th.  If you can't make it by boat, come visit by car.  There will surely be dock parties every afternoon and all are welcome.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

2015 Mid-Year Recap and a Look Forweard

Caliente Cruisers:
Mid-Year Recap and a Look Forward
We started 2015 with a pretty full calendar and now find ourselves halfway through the year.  Early on, mid-January, we enjoyed a return to Marina West Yacht Club for their annual crab feed.  Some CIYC cruisers traveled by boat while others came by car on the asphalt sloughs.  In February we had our annual Commodore's Ball where current Commodore Chip Maguire feted now immediate Past Commodore Jo Daniels at Carpaccio's Restaurant in Oakley.  In late March we challenged winter weather at Delta Yacht Club where we played a little golf, had a fine time in the clubhouse and made it back to home ports without any interference by either biting cold or high winds.  In April we returned to Willow Berm Marina for good times on their docks (a few made it to Mildred Island.) Early May  had us tied to the docks at the Rusty Porthole for our spring General Meeting and the great food that place continues to turn out, seemingly surpassing themselves with new specials every time we return. Memorial Day was celebrated at Stockton Yacht Club where Kim and Rob Scott put together a terrific event that had us in the middle of that club's full house of western events.  Somehow our Commodore got put in their jail, along with many of their folks--all in the name of fun and earning money for charity -- of course.  Next was a Day at the Races put on once again by Bob and Carolyn Graham.  Not exactly on the water (but very close at Golden Gate Fields.)  Those attending saw American Pharaoh win the triple crown that day (on TV.) 

This all brings us to the most recent event, less organized than others in that members are traditionally on their own over the long 4th of July holiday.  There were two "pods" of CIYC cruisers tied to the banks of Mandeville Tip with a great overall turn out of boats.  One of the "pods" managed by Michael and Christine Christopher eventually had something like 35 boats all tied together.  Many of these were CIYC boats but who was counting? No doubt some of these other boats were with other clubs we know well,  including Don and Erlyn Lucas Payne  (Erlyn is the Vice and soon to be Commodore of DBYC) who recently submitted an application to join our club as well. Welcome aboard guys!!!

Next up is an opportunity to cruise into Sportsmen Yacht Club on August 7-9 to enjoy that group's annual luau (see the recently emailed announcement and reservation form.)  Immediately following is our annual Glen C. Scrimger Memorial Go Fast Mystery Cruise on August 22.  This year the event will depart from and return to our summer time Mildred Island anchor out (see the recently emailed flyer and reservation form.)  Contact Commodore Chip Maguire for anchor out details and Vice Commodore Michael Christopher for meal choices and other details on the Go Fast Mystery Cruise.  Labor Day follows with our return to Commodore Island on September 4 for four days of fun including the always amusing Jungle Cruise put on by Curt and Marsha Hayes (look for an emailed reservation form from those folks.)  On September 18-20 we will have our last anchor out, this at what has become known as Secret Slough near Discovery Bay.  Like our other anchor outs, the theme is water fun--bring floaties, SUPs, water wings and the like and soak up the 80+ degree water likely at that time of year. Commodore Chip Maguire will be the contact on that event.
This brings us to the 31st Annual CIYC Down Bay Cruise.  Fleet Captain Ritter has lined up a full program of destinations, all of which should be alluring to those who want to really get out on the water and explore our SF Bay and beyond.  During the period October 2-12 we will visit: Vallejo Yacht Club, Petaluma's Downtown Dock,  San Rafael Yacht Club, Berkeley Yacht Club, Treasure Island's Clipper Cove (to watch the Fleet Week happenings including the Blue Angels and other flying acts,) and finally the Sausalito Cruising Club.  You've seen the early announcement and will soon see the sign up info for this event.

We bring the cruising year to an end in the Fall beginning at Grindstone Joe's on October 23-25.  If you haven't seen this private club and it's island facilities (actually a peninsula, near Tower Park on Little Connection Slough), this is your chance.  This club, rather exclusive, doesn't have many clubs cruising in but we've got a reservation and hope to have a good turnout. We then finish up as the year comes to a close at Bridge Marina's annual Halloween Party (drive or boat in) and hopefully at Discovery Bay November 7-9 for a cruise in.  We will have our year ending General Meeting at one of these locations as well as our Change of Watch gathering. These last three events are still in the early planning stages so watch for emailed announcements.
That's something like 17 events for 2015, either already enjoyed or on the books.  Some have been in the off months of winter, others where we've tied to docks, still others where we've been on the hook.  We even had an event--Day at the Races--that was just about getting good friends together even if no water was involved.   As a cruising club nobody does it better than CIYC!  We hope to see you on a few of these upcoming events.  Don't hesitate to contact any Board member with questions about our calendar and details about these events.