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Delta Ditch Run Dished Out Some of This, Some of That

Fleet with spinnakers, C&H plant in the background
The Delta Ditch Run sails past the C&H plant in Crockett. Identifiable here are (left to right) the Express 34 Joy Ride, the J/105 Archimedes, the Express 34 Marrakesh, the Express 27 Magic Bus, the Cal 39 Sea Star, and the Express 27 Simply Irresistible.
© 2021 Tim Roche

The Delta Ditch Run race crews reported conflicting forecasts on Saturday morning, but in the end they were all correct. The Richmond Yacht Club race committee started the race right on time, with perfect rolling starts and no over-earlies. This despite light air and the start of a flood current. The racers rode the current and mostly kept their spinnakers full while the light air and heat persisted until the Carquinez Strait. Then a westerly filled in, with nice pressure but not too much.

Dufour 44 Escapade in Carquinez Strait
Jim Painter’s Dufour 44 Escapade, a Delta Doo Dah fleet member, sailed in the Cruising Division, which got a head start. They’re pictured here in Carquinez Strait.
© 2021 Slackwater SF

Until it was too much. In the reachy section between Antioch and Isleton, sailors with instruments reported gusts into the low 30s, with consistent wind in the mid- to high 20s.

Express 27 roundup
The Moore 24 Bluebird sails on as the Express 27 Current Affair rounds up just behind.
© 2021 Lyn Hines

In addition to wind-induced mayhem, some boats found mud, sticking for various lengths of time before the rising tide or crew machinations freed the trapped keels. After the stretch past Isleton, the wind eased up gradually. In Stockton it dropped from 20-ish to 10 after sunset. Big-ship traffic in narrow channels added to the challenge.

Janina rounds up
The Santa Cruz 27 Janina struggles in the ‘S curves’.
© 2021 Lyn Hines

It was a field day for the Moore 24 fleet. Twenty-six of them entered, and they packed the top of the leaderboard, finishing first through fifth on corrected time. Congratulations to Bart Hackworth and Simon Winer on Gruntled — first overall.

Gruntled and Nobody's Girl at the start
Gruntled hoists the kite at the (downwind) start. We’re pretty sure that’s Nobody’s Girl on her starboard quarter.
© 2021 Lyn Hines

The sixth boat was the recently renovated Santa Cruz classic Nelly Belle, to which we introduced our readers on June 9. (Or reintroduced to the old-timers. Rumor has it she hadn’t raced since 1975!) See all the results here.

Nelly Belle sailing
Alan Wirtanen’s Nelly Belle in Carquinez Strait.
© 2021 Tim Roche

Stockton Sailing Club welcomed the sailors with (proverbial) open arms (and an occasional actual elbow bump), commemorative Mt. Gay Rum hats, an outdoor bar, a BBQ dinner, and conviviality on the big lawn along the San Joaquin River.

Get Happy!!
Brendan Busch’s Get Happy!! was the first Express 27 to finish, at 7:30 p.m.
© 2021 Slackwater SF

We’ll have more on the DDR in the July issue of Latitude 38, coming out on June 30. How was your Delta Ditch Run? Feel free to comment below. Please include your full name and the name and type of boat you sailed aboard.


  1. Steve Cameron 2 years ago

    Ultimate 20 “UHOO” suffered a port side broken shroud, found the mud and the associated keel grass, and finished before dark.

  2. Simon Winer 2 years ago

    Nice article Christine.

    • Christine Weaver 2 years ago

      Thanks Simon! Congratulations to you on a well-sailed race.

  3. Brad Smith 2 years ago

    Having done a bit of bow on SC27s I looked at Janina with interest. First, the mast head fly is not in the water being destroyed so overall they are okay. I suspect as soon as the pole came off they lost it. Nice wrap with the guy over the forestay, the sheet tangled up in it there and the foot billowing up. How to recover? Blow the vang and the boat comes right up. Pull straight down on the foot while easing the halyard. In over 30 knots I would rather drop and reset, but perhaps, that is what they were trying to do.

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