Delta Messabout
by John O'Neill

The California Delta "Bolger/Michalak/Homebuilt" Messabout of April 17 was, if not hugely attended, at least hugely enjoyed.

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).

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A June Bug, Microtrawler and Diablo managed to make it to the event. They brought their people with them.

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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!)

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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!

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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).

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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.

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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!