The Delta Doo Dah has taken a twist this year. Instead of limiting entries to just 50 boats, everyone is welcome to sign up! We’ve taken a page out of the Pacific Puddle Jump’s playbook by allowing anyone who wants to cruise the Delta between May 24 and September 9 (give or take) to register and be eligible for discounts from participating sponsors. You can go whenever you like, stay as long as you want and sail wherever the wind — or, more likely, the current — takes you.
The Delta Doo Dah DIY’s Kick-Off/Meet & Greet Party will be held May 10 at Berkeley YC, where official registrants can meet other Delta-bound sailors and coordinate meet-ups. The Reunion Potluck Party on October 10 at Richmond YC will feature Doo Dah’ers regaling everyone with their tales of Delta derring-do.
Since plans can change unexpectedly, don’t be afraid to hold off to register — it will remain open until August 30 — or change your projected travel dates. A family emergency comes up? No problem! Your boss flies in and insists you work instead of play? No worries! Just sail on up whenever it fits your schedule.
If you have questions about cruising the Delta, head on over to our informative Delta Forum. There’s a boatload of Delta vets who are more than willing to share their knowledge. You can also coordinate your cruise with friends there, and invite others to join your group.
So if you’re one of the many Bay sailors who’ve never explored the Delta, this would be a great year to make firm plans. Head on over to www.DeltaDooDah.com and fill out our short registration form. It’s easy, it’s free and it’ll lead to some hot summer fun!
If you were lucky enough to be out sailing on the Bay last week you may have heard a sécurité message issued by the local Coast Guard advising boaters that a humpback whale had been sighted in the Central Bay. While it would have been fun to see such a creature up close, our friends at the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary remind us that collisions with cetaceans can be disastrous for both the mammal in the water and the mammals in the boat! More importantly, as that organization points out: “All whales are protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act.” And both humpback and blue whales are also protected by the Endangered Species Act.
The organization advises boaters to “watch out for and steer clear of whales, which migrate into the San Francisco Bay Area in large numbers during the spring and summer. Gray whales are at a particularly high risk of collisions with vessels, as they often travel near shore and may even wander into the bay. San Francisco Bay and Tomales Bay always have a few springtime gray whale visitors.
“Boaters should use caution year-round, but springtime presents a greater chance of coming into close contact with whales. From March through May, thousands of migrating gray whales make their way north from breeding grounds off Mexico to feed in Arctic waters near Alaska. Many of these whales travel through busy shipping lanes off San Francisco in the Gulf of the Farallones sanctuary just outside the Golden Gate.
“While they also migrate south through the sanctuary in the winter, gray whales – including mothers with newborn calves – swim closest to shore in the spring. Cow-calf pairs can sometimes be seen from shore, and may even pause in the surf zone for the calf to nurse or rest, and to avoid killer whales.
“Boaters should watch for the gray whale’s blow — or exhalation — which looks like a puff of smoke about 10 to 15 feet high, since very little of the whale is visible at the surface. A whale may surface and blow several times before a prolonged dive, typically lasting three to six minutes.
"Boaters should not:
- Approach within 300 feet (the length of a football field) of any whale
- Cut across a whale’s path
- Make sudden speed or directional changes
- Get between a whale cow and her calf — if separated from its mother, a calf may be doomed to starvation."
America’s Cup fans take note! Alameda’s St. Joseph Elementary School’s Fire & Ice fundraising auction has something you may want to bid on: A training day on San Francisco Bay with Team Artemis, the America’s Cup Challenger of Record. After breakfast with the team, the lucky auction winner will then join Head Coach Andrew Palfrey in a chase boat as the team trains on their bright red AC72. The auction ends on Wednesday at 2 p.m. and the opening bid is $1,000.
As we reported recently, we think the St. Barth Bucket (March 28-31) might be the greatest sailing spectacle in the world. That said though, the Voiles de St. Barth — which starts today — actually might be the most fun. The French know how to mix racing and partying. And the lovely French women dress in the most improbably delicious outfits, and wear them as though they were on the catwalk.
Now in its fourth year, this year’s 65-boat Voiles fleet is the biggest ever. There are 65 entries from 24 to 80 feet. This includes seven maxis, 36 boats in three spinnaker divisions, four multihulls, and four classics. The Bay Area’s Kenny Keefe is here again with Jim Swartz’s TransPac 52 Vesper, Steve Schmidt is back with the cruising Santa Cruz 70 Hotel California, Too, and there’s some Seattle boat named Hamachi. We’ll be looking for other West Coast boats and sailors as the week goes on.
Organizers expect there will be about 800 sailors involved, so wholesalers have unloaded about 30 containers of champagne. Can’t have sailors going thirsty. Bubbly and St. Barth just seem to go together. The Voiles parties on the dock are legendary. Video of the day’s racing — plus other hair-raising sporting activities — on big screens, plus great music. Tonight’s band is the Fabulous Johnsons. They’re a group of folks who came to St. Barth about 30 years ago, and have mostly moved on to become successful professionals in the States. But they still come back to the island once or twice a year to play hot, sweaty, loose rock ‘n roll and reggae tunes of their youth. They’ve got more soul in their little fingers than all the Bucket billionaires combined.