April 14, 2017

Petaluma River Basin Silted In

Recent storms have deposited so much silt in the Petaluma River that boats can’t currently get to the docks in the downtown turning basin — and the normal flow of water itself is blocked.

© 2017 ABC7 News

California’s unprecedented wet winter has claimed another victim: the Petaluma River. This year’s torrential rains have flooded the popular waterway with "kind of like, an island" of silt, according to ABC 7 News.

Petaluma Yacht Club — which is currently yacht-less because of the extreme conditions — canceled its annual Memorial Day event, which typically draws some 80 boats from around the Bay Area.

The Petaluma River has not been dredged since 2003 because of federal funding issues, according to Petaluma360.com, which went on to say that the Army Corps of Engineers is waiting for Congress to approve between $6.5 and $9 million for long-overdue maintenance.

The Corps "is authorized to dredge the 14 mile river — actually a tidal slough leading to San Pablo Bay — every four years," Petaluma360 said.

Bride and Groom Sail-Off

Two fixtures of San Francisco Bay Area sailing are celebrating their recent marriage today with a sail-off on the Bay.

Ashley Perrin and Merf Owen this morning at San Francisco Yacht Club in Belvedere.

© 2017 Michelle Slade

Ashley Perrin, the owner of Racing Yacht Management and a well-known face in Bay Area sailing and racing circles, tied the knot with Merf Owen of Owen Clarke Design, a world-renowned naval architecture company.  

More than 20 of Ashley and Merf’s friends will be joining them on a pair of J/120s —Chance and Twist — before heading to the Inverness Yacht Club for the full nuptial celebrations on Saturday. The couple were officially married on February 3 (Ashley’s birthday) on South George Island, a British territory in the southern Atlantic Ocean.

SPUR on the Delta

Delta waters may appear placid to recreational sailors, but what lurks beneath the (figurative) surface?

©2017Latitude 38 Media, LLC

“The Delta and San Francisco Bay are fundamentally linked,” says Caitrin Chappelle, Associate Director of the Public Policy Institute of California. She spoke at an event on April 7 hosted at the Oakland office of SPUR, the San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association. Approximately 30 people came to hear about the ongoing debates surrounding the policy and planning process for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, as well as an outlook on its future.

Just the next day, Governor Brown then declared that the state’s drought emergency was over. But what does “over” mean? Governor Brown was quick to warn us that the “next drought could be around the corner.’’ The blue bars in the graph from Ms. Chappelle’s presentation illustrate how quickly the next drought is likely to occur. “Many people question whether outflow water is wasted to the sea,” she said. It is not wasted because, “water flows into San Francisco Bay where it supports aquatic species and repels seawater so that water in the Delta remains fresh enough for farming and urban uses.”

A graph of Delta outflow (shown in blue) since 1923.

© Caitrin Chappelle

With the expectation of future droughts, exports of fresh water (red bars) have continually increased since the 1950s when the diversion projects were built. Almost every Californian relies on Delta water, which is exported to 25 million people along with other diversions that irrigate three million acres of farmland. The system is stressed in additional ways from being the most “invaded” estuary in the world to water quality effects from contaminants. Maintaining this freshwater flow is important because it keeps salt water from intruding into the system, which would significantly impact farmers and other users, and it supports the region’s plants and animals, including more than 35 endangered species, some of which are found nowhere else.

The three main issues now facing state officials are: 1) whether to build a new conveyance project to divert water from the Sacramento River, 2) to determine how much water should be made available for endangered species, and 3) to decide what to do with the more than 1,000 miles of levees that need to be protected for agriculture. The California legislature passed a law in 2009 that required all three issues be addressed as “co-equal goals,” but the state was not able to obtain a long-term, 50-year permit from the federal government to move that project forward.

Adams Cup Reunion

The National Sailing Hall of Fame will host an Adams Cup Reunion on May 19-21 at the NSHOF in Annapolis, Maryland. According to the NSHOF, "The weekend event is for female sailors to share sailing stories, go sailing, celebrate women in sailing, and engage the next generation." Sailors in past Adams Cup preliminaries and/or finals, plus race committee members, are invited to attend (click here to register).

Our readers can help spread the word. If you know any female sailors who participated in Adams Cup championships, pass this along or contact the NSHOF with names.

Repeat winners, San Francisco YC’s Vickie Sodaro, Stephanie Wondolleck, Katie Maxim and Emily French claimed the Adams Cup on September 16-20, 2008, in Oklahoma.

© Bruce McDermott

Adams Cup Reunion activities will include:

  • Friday night dinner with speaker Rachel Miller
  • Saturday morning panel discussion moderated by Dawn Riley
  • Saturday afternoon sailing on Bull and Bear, modern reproductions of the 19th century, 28’ LOD, wooden Sandbagger sloops
  • Saturday evening open-mic session for Adams Cup story telling

Speakers will include:

  • Rachael Miller, Co-Founder/Executive Director, Rozalia Project for a Clean Ocean
  • Dawn Riley, Executive Director, Oakcliff Sailing Center, America3 crew, US Sailing Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year
  • Jan O’Malley, US Sailing Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year, First World Women’s Doublehanded Championship
  • Pam Healy, St. Francis Yacht Club board member, Olympic Bronze Medalist
  • Louisa Chafee, College Sailing All American, Rio US Olympic Sailing Team

The Mrs. Charles Frances Adams Trophy was first awarded in 1929 and has had a complicated history since then.

Pen and watercolor of Victoria Dock, Hobart, Tasmania.  © 2017 Dorothy Darden It seems as if it was only a few years ago when Tiburon residents Steve and Dorothy Darden launched their Morrelli & Melvin-designed 52-ft catamaran Adagio in New Zealand.
Delta sailors, we are seeking your expertise and hoping to mine your memories of great Sacramento and San Joaquin River destinations.