by John O'Neill
The California Delta "Bolger/Michalak/Homebuilt"
Messabout of April 17 was, if not hugely attended, at least
The weather was nearly ideal, sunny with a brisk
sailing breeze. Brannon Island State Park was the location,
across the Sacramento River from Rio Vista (remember Humphrey
the wandering whale in the mid-1980s? - that Rio Vista). The
park sports three large boat ramps, a clean, secluded, tree-shaded
and nearly deserted boat docking area, plentiful campsites and
an enormous trailer parking area (which was good, as there was
a bass-fishing tournament going on that day, which actually
didn't much impact the Messabout at all).
A June Bug, Microtrawler
and Diablo managed to make it to the event. They brought
their people with them.
(click to enlarge)
The waterway the boats launch into is Three Mile
Slough, which, as we brave Mess-Abouters learned, should be
called Three Knot Slough, because that's about how strong the
current was at full flood. The wind mimicked the current, straight
up the slough but strong enough to allow the sailboaters to
beat against it - as long as they were paying close attention!
Joe Tribulato did discover a flaw (the hard way,
by ending up in the weeds) in his self-designed 10-foot scow
sporting Bolger's ubiquitous 59-square-foot spirt-boom rig -
not enough lateral plane. (Clearly Joe hasn't chiseled every
Bolger-written word in his boat-addled brain like many of the
rest of us have. Bolger clearly states - uh, somewhere
- that low-speed boats (or is it under-canvassed boats, or boats
slow for their something - ???? - something like that anyway)
need more lateral plane for their . . . you know, than other
uh, kinds of boats. So there is no excuse Joe. PCB wrote
it down.) You've built 35 boats (yes, I'll spell that out
thirty-five boats) so we'll excuse you this time if
you spend more time actually building boats than you do reading
about building boats like most of the rest of us swabs do. Just
don't do it again OK? (Joe also brought another self-designed
boat, self-built boat, which unfortunately never made it off
the roof of his car!)
This 10 foot, home-designed
scow (constructed like an airplane wing, and just as strong
- if probably not quite as light) brought it's own person,
Joe. Here the scow is clearly raring to go, while Joe
is clearly hold it back!
(click to enlarge)
Several of the hard-core Mess-Abouters made it
a camping excursion - including Joe, who spent two nights there.
But truth to tell there wasn't a whole lot of "roughing
it" going on. Some of the campers spent the night in a
rented cabin, located almost spitting distance from
the boat-docks. What a life.
Rick Bedard, organizer and semi-official photographer,
was there with his son Matthew and their sweet-looking
Micro-trawler. Rick cut off the after half of the designed cabin
and converted it to ope-air, lounging-around space, a purpose
for which it served admirably (have you ever noticed how beer
tastes better on boats?)
Performing surrogate "coast guard" duties
for the sailors (and for Chris Harvey's yellow June Bug, which
tried to slip down the slough unnoticed - and un-manned!) was
Chris Kyriacou in his gorgeous Diablo, a real eye-popper. Personally,
I considered purposefully getting stuck on a lee-shore just
so that Diablo could come to my rescue!
June Bug -Chris, by the way, is reportedly hot
and heavy on becoming "Tennessee-Chris" - and soon
- hankering away as he is on building a Bolger Tennessee. Which,
perhaps, might explain the runaway June Bug incident. Chris,
do you think maybe June Bug has been feeling ignored? A sibling
rivalry kind of thing maybe? (I'm sure you'll be able to work
things out . . .)
John O'Neill (your keen-eyed reporter) showed
up with his two Cartoppers to round out the field (Tim Loomis,
his sailing buddy, brought his lovely, grown daughter Lindsey
and his 14-foot Banshee - a sleek racing dingy that could and
did sail circles around everything else - but of course it's
not home-built, so it doesn't count).
Two Cartoppers also came
to the Messabout, but between the two they only brought
the one person with them. The other people were borrowed
for this occasion.
(click to enlarge)
Oh, we also mustn't forget "Cartopper"
Steve Neal. He didn't actually bring his Cartopper (how many
primer coats you got on it now again Steve?) but he did get
to go for a sail in a Cartopper, as did June Bug/Tennessee-Chris
and Banshee-Tim and his daughter.
I'm sorry to say that we were missing some promised
Mess-Abouters. I'm not going to name names, but D.B. (who, I
happen to know first-hand has gone over to the "dark-side"
and purchased a Sparkman-Stephens designed fiberglass, production
sloop), where in the hell were ya! Probably either trying to
figure out how to fly your spinnaker, or maybe just sittin'
in the cockpit soaking up the Vallejo sun and listening to the
"slap, slap" of wire halyard against stayed aluminum
mast. Some people . . .
There is a plan afoot to hold another Delta Messabout,
and soon, this time in a place you actually have to take a boat
to to get to! Cool. I'm assured it's a quick row/sail/motor
from a nearby ramp, and for those who show up without boats
fear not, a way will be found to get you to the party.
Keep your eye on the CA
Delta Messabout Yahoo group for updated information.
Hope to see you there!