Skip to content

Cruising Through the Delta, on Land

What do you do when the summer is almost over, and you still haven’t got your sailboat ready to the point at which you can get off the dock and go sailing up the Delta? We’re sure we’re not the only sailors who have had to deal with this, but back in March, when the Delta Doo Dah registrations opened, we thought, “Of course we’ll be ready. Let’s do it!” April, May and June went by, as did July, August, and now September. And while we’re closer to completion than we were, we’re still landbound for now. So on Sunday we decided that by hook or by crook, we were heading up the Delta.

One of the first things we noticed, apart from the hazy sky — presumably from wildfires — was the warmth. Despite the Bay Area’s promising summer-style temperatures right now, it was nice to get out of the cooler air and feel the sun’s heat on our bodies. Next, the landscapes quickly flattened out and broadened to present acres upon acres of fields of corn, grapes, fruit trees, and cows. And then came the waterways.

After turning off Highway 4 and onto 160, we encountered our first bridge, the likes of which we hadn’t seen since motorcycling through Alaska. After crossing through Sherman Island we were treated to views of the Sacramento River as we continued north(-ish).

If we were to count all the bridges in the Delta region, how many would there be?
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Monica

Our first stop was in Rio Vista. We found our way to the waterfront, where we found a picturesque view of the river from the western side.

Sacramento Rv
These people might not be sailing, but they are at least enjoying a beautiful Sunday morning. And, they are alongside a sailboat!
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Monica

Just up the road is the Delta Marina. While in this particular marina sailboats were outnumbered by powerboats, we still found it to be a quaint and rather relaxing location.

Delta Marina
The grounds and buildings are adorned with nautical heritage.
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Monica
Delta Marina sailboats
See, there are sailboats in the marina!
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Monica
They also stock Latitude 38 magazine, as shown here by Ariel Carter.
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Monica

Our next stop was Owl Harbor, a marina that has been on our ‘must-visit’ list for some time. And we were not disappointed. The first thing we noticed when we stepped out of the car was the silence, and the birds.

While at Owl Harbor we stopped to say ‘Hi’ to Sospiro — owned by Latitude crew member Nicki Bennett.
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Monica

Owl Harbor also stocks Latitude 38 magazine.

Marina owner Devry gave us the grand tour of the facilities. And we were suitably impressed.
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Monica
This very cool-looking abandoned crane serves as an unofficial landmark for the entry to Owl Harbor.
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Monica

The Delta’s waterways are also a place where, as locals put it, sailboats come to die. We saw dozens of seemingly abandoned boats, sail and power, and it again raises the question: Why?

The water hyacinth is winning.
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Monica
No doubt there are some gems among them.
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Monica
Even without a boat, we were able to find a quiet spot by the water to stop for lunch. (Good thing she didn’t see the geese!)
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Monica
Of all the bridges we crossed, this one at Walnut Grove was our favorite. The concept of those giant blocks of concrete hanging in the air as counterweights is mind-boggling.
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Monica

Overall we found the Delta to be a peaceful, relaxing and very attractive region. The miles upon miles of waterways upon which to sail or motor along gently were appealing. And just when we thought we’d seen the the last of the sailboats, suddenly there were more.

Yes, sadly, these boats also appear to be without care. But perhaps they’re simply waiting for their next refit.
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Monica

Although we experienced on only a small part of the Delta region, if we achieved nothing else, our explorations have spurred us on to finish the work on our own boat, so we too can enjoy the lazy life of the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers.


  1. Rich Brazil 2 years ago

    Great article, Monica! A trip up the delta and nothing broke!

    • Monica Grant 2 years ago

      Thanks Rich. We consider ourselves pretty lucky 🙂

  2. Bud Kerner 2 years ago

    Most Wednesdays there are a number of sailboats that launch at the Delta Marina. You don’t see them at the marina because they are all on trailers. Most of the sailors are Potter Yachters. We have at least 7 West Wight Potters in Rio Vista.

    • Monica Grant 2 years ago

      Ah, we’ll have to head up on a Wednesday next time!

Leave a Comment

Sponsored Post
Here’s a great way to get all the good sailing-news sooner. Subscribe to Latitude 38 and have your copy of the West Coast’s best sailing magazine delivered to your mailbox every month!