A predawn fire has taken out another favorite Delta watering hole and boat-in dining destination. Moore’s Riverboat fell victim to the flames early in the morning of Wednesday, July 6. The restaurant was no longer an actual riverboat, but a barge overlooking ample guest docks. The wrap-around veranda, right on the Mokelumne River, was popular with locals and visitors alike. By land, the restaurant was on Isleton’s Delta Loop.
Firefighters rushed to the flames around 4:30 a.m. and battled the blaze as the summer sky lightened. Units responded from the Isleton Fire Department, River Delta Fire District, Montezuma Fire District (based in Rio Vista), Woodbridge Fire District, Walnut Grove Fire District, Contra Costa County Fire Protection District, US Coast Guard and Medic Ambulance. Authorities reported no injuries.
While en route to the scene, fire crews reported seeing heavy smoke and flames from approximately five miles away.
After extinguishing the flames on Wednesday, the River Delta Fire District posted on Facebook: “As a precautionary [sic] River Delta Fire District resources will remain at scene at Moore’s Riverboat for firewatch throughout the night. Fire Station 94 will also be staffed with its typical engine company and ready for response. It’s been a difficult day for all of us, especially for neighbors who live adjacent to the Riverboat. We will remain on scene so you all can have a good night sleep.”
Investigators are looking into the cause of the fire.
This incident follows last year’s death-by-kitchen-fire of Giusti’s, a historic Italian restaurant on Snodgrass Slough in Walnut Grove. Giusti’s burned to the ground in September. Our sympathies to the owners, staff and regulars of these two historic Delta destinations.
A bridge at the center of controversy in the maritime capital of Europe — which has become a structure symbolizing the excesses of wealth — will not be temporarily dismantled to make way for Jeff Bezos’ new superyacht.
In February, Oceanco, the Dutch boatbuilder of Bezos’ beast, lobbied the city of Rotterdam, Holland, to temporarily deconstruct the middle section of the 95-year-old, decommissioned, national-heritage-landmark Koningshaven railway bridge, also known as “De ‘Hef,” to accommodate the passage of Y721, which, at 417-ft, would be one of the largest sailing yachts in the world. The New York Times said that the necessary work on the bridge would take about two days total, according to a spokesman for the city of Rotterdam.
Recently, Rotterdam city officials said that Oceanco had “informed the municipality that it is cancelling its current logistical plans,” according to the Independent, which said that employees at Oceanco “feel threatened, and the company fears it will be vandalized.”
After the proposal to dismantle De Hef became public, an event was organized to throw eggs at Y721 when it transited Rotterdam’s canals.
In February, the project leader of Y721 said, “It wouldn’t be practical to finish the project elsewhere, which is why Oceanco and Bezos initially agreed that the De Hef needed to be dismantled, rather than moving the superyacht prior to its completion,” according to Dmarge.
The fate of Y721 is now uncertain. “It was unclear how Mr. Bezos’ yacht would leave the area or whether Oceanco would finish the boat,” the Times reported. Will Y721 become the largest and most expensive Airbnb in the world? Will it become a homeless shelter? (Although a socialist country, the Netherlands has a homeless population of around 40,000 people.)
As we said in February, the De Hef bridge has come to symbolize something more than the sum of its parts.
Even though the dis- and re-mantling process would be paid for by Oceanco and relatively quick and painless, a line has clearly been crossed. We don’t know what percentage of the generally well-off, high-standard-of-living population in Holland objects to the passage of the Amazon founder’s megayacht to the point of wanting to hurl rotten eggs at it, but news of the proposed dismantling became a political rallying point. “If Jeff Bezos can afford to dismantle a bridge in Europe, you know what? Mr. Bezos can afford to pay his share of taxes to build a bridge out of poverty for working-class families in America,” Senator Bernie Sanders said.
Clearly, messing with De Hef was a bridge too far.
The race is the fastest growing race in San Francisco Bay because it is fun, fast, and starts and ends with great parties. It is part of the YRA Weekend Regatta Series. Saturday, July 16th, 2022 with a pre-race party at Treasure Island YC, post-race at The Club at Westpoint. Registration is now open. Sign up on Jibeset.
As the last of the Pacific Cup divisions (the fastest boats) depart San Francisco today, we take a glance over our shoulder to the north and see another dozen boats exiting the North American continent bound for the isles of Hawaii.
On Monday, Charlotte Gann filed this report for the Vic-Maui Race:
“This morning dawned droopy and foggy with little wind, but nothing dampened the excitement at Victoria’s Causeway Marina, where the nine boats in the first fleet were putting in last-minute supplies, topping up water, and, most importantly, kissing goodbye to loved ones. The committee boat, Adventure-Us, had all the flags and horns at the ready. The group of spectator boats had hot coffee and muffins for their many guests. The last photos were taken of crews assembled in cockpits, along the decks, or at the stern.”
“One by one, engines fired up, dock lines were coiled for the Lahaina landfall, and boats began to peel away from the docks. What had been docks chock-a-block with boats became empty within 10 minutes, as boats paraded out in orderly fashion, headed to the 10 a.m. PDT start off Brotchie Ledge. Fog obscured the fleet until, wonder of wonders, a small breeze filled in, just enough for us to see all the boats, and sails were hoisted.
“While spectator boats moved around the race fleet, each yacht sought their best position, figured out the current, backed down one final time to ensure no kelp, and tacked in and out until the five-minute horn sounded. Jibs went up, and final positioning played out until the start gun went off. Flow got off in clean air; Xiomara pipped the fleet on the inside. The boats are now off to Hawaii. Within moments, several boats were treated to a humpback whale moving through the fleet. More are possible as the boats sail up Juan de Fuca Strait.”
Much like the Pacific Cup fleet, the Vic-Maui racers are taking a south-of-rhumbline course.
The final starters went off on Wednesday. Charlotte Gann reported: “Today’s race start was a near-drifter. Glassy waters, hints of wind that didn’t materialize in time for the start. In sailboat racing you get what you get. The three boats today are the fast Division 1 yachts. Their higher sail coverage grabs wind that doesn’t reach the sea surface, so they kept some momentum.
“By roll call today at noon HST, all three were through Race Passage and into slightly better wind, though the direction was pretty much on the nose.
“Meanwhile, the rest of the fleet is off the Oregon coast and ghosting along in light, mostly following winds — some spinnakers are flying! The boats regularly download GRIB files (GRIdded Binary) to analyze the next 24, 48 and 96 hours of winds at the surface, then plan their route according to their analysis. No clear pattern appears to be emerging until the weekend. The wind gods will prevail.
“Red Sheilla has seen sharks! Amun-Ra has seen dolphins with bioluminescent trails. Planet Express has a fruit fly invasion in the cockpit. Flow’s crew have gone for a swim (no wind). Annie M caught a 3-ft great white shark that ate the flagpole. And Outbreak has seen great Dall’s porpoise shows.”
On Thursday, Gann reported that the winds were still variable. “The barometer is stubbornly steady. Amun-Ra caught their first tuna. Fog is now in the rearview; it’s all sun, and seas are calm. Some contemplated going for a swim, but sharks have been spotted. On Planet Express, yesterday’s fruit fly extravaganza was sorted through various methods, then a bird landed and gobbled up the bug detritus.
“Flow experienced some squalls today, which could be a sign the trades aren’t too much farther ahead. Whales and dolphins are seen all around.”
We see that Steve McCarthy, owner of Hogin Sails in Alameda, is sailing aboard John McCarthy’s Santa Fe, New Mexico-flagged Amel Mango 52, the Annie M. In addition to working in sail lofts from Seattle to Santa Cruz, Steve has raced on Moore 24s and J/24s and cruised on a Swan 47 across Europe.
There are more pelicans looping the Bay than we ever remember seeing. Despite their ungainly appearance, they are one of our favorite birds to watch while sailing. They are forever relaxed as they pump their wings or pause to glide over the water. Then, without much effort or flourish, they drop to the surface to scoop up another mouthful of fish.
According to SFGate, we’re currently seeing more seabirds due to an explosion in anchovies between Half Moon Bay and Pt. Reyes, which in turn, is caused by extra-cold water bringing more nutrients to the surface. Pelicans and other seabirds are filling themselves up so much that, when flying inland over the city, they have been dropping excess fish onto rooftops and sidewalks.
We’d like to think the increasing marine life is also due to cleaner Bay waters. Over the past several years we’ve seen much more bird life and many more whales, and enjoyed more frequent sightings of harbor porpoises. It’s a wildlife extravaganza right in the middle of our densely urbanized, metropolitan area.
By appearance, the pelicans look like one of nature’s mistakes, but in flight they are graceful and inspiring. Their odd appearance doesn’t hinder their effective fishing techniques or their enjoyment of the currently plentiful schools of anchovies.
A recent conversation between two of our younger editorial staff turned up the word “blooper” as a part of sailing’s vocabulary. It wasn’t familiar to them, so some time was spent discussing and researching the blooper as it pertains to sailing.
Your mission, dear readers: Tell us what a blooper is, within the sailing world. To give you a hint, it is not a funny, onboard mishap captured on camera. It is, however, something that could be found on a sailboat.
Put your answer in the comments below.