July 1-3, 2000
Benicia Rendezvous
What a terrific weekend! A record 18 boats were represented as we filled the harbor and enjoyed a fast sail up and an easy (but very early!) ride back down San Pablo Bay. Saturday morning we had a full 4.7 knot flood which we picked up at Southampton Shoal at 1100 and rode right into Benicia. After light air through the San Rafael Bridge to Point San Pablo, the breeze filled in and gusted between 20 - 30 around Point Pinole, before backing down as we got into Carquinez Strait. Harry Farrell romped away from the fleet with his clean bottom and MaxProp!

Saturday evening's cocktails were enjoyed dockside before moving to the packed dining room at Benicia Yacht Club. In addition to our 44 people, they were hosting a wedding downstairs and another fleet at the far end of the dining room. The food was wonderful, the beverages plentiful and well priced so everyone had a good time. What with all the sun and wind, we all slept in easily on Sunday morning.

Sunday was made for being lazy. Bill Higdon set to work with a mechanic to get his engine running - it ran fine to the starting line, but wouldn't do the job at Benicia. His former crew, Jack Thompson, towed him in. Everyone had a theory, but the mechanic got the fuel line and filters cleared and she was running again by mid afternoon. Lots of walks to town to window shop and "antique" - though no evidence of large pieces being stowed below. Sunday evening was pot luck up at the clubhouse, and what a great spread - no one went hungry.

Monday morning it was up early - very early! With the Benicia channel silted in to about 5 feet at low tide we had to get out before the -1.5 foot low or we'd be there til noon. So alarms went off before 0530 and the first boats cast off by 0600. The tide was with us again, and the wind had thankfully slept in too, so we made the 15 mile run to point San Pablo in 1 hour and 40 minutes, or an average of 9 knots over the bottom. I think everyone was safe home well before the forecast 30 knots winds arrived in the afternoon.

Click on images to enlarge, click "Back" to return. Photos by Rick Van Mell.

Blockbuster and Ophira gather at the starting line. Dennis Bush on Natural High had Ed Henry's Balandra as a support boat.
Natural High living up to her name. Heading for the San rafael Bridge with fog in the Oakland hills.
Light going on Vanishing Animal. Harry Farrell slips Pacific High inshore in the strong current.
The main raft at Benicia. All lined up and ready to celebrate.
Raspberry Tart from the far end of the marina. Natural High and Balandra rafted.
Midnight Sun looks more black than her true bright red! Everyone dressed ship for the occasion.
The name says it all for Mike Bennett and his crew. Carol Hunter shows new F-36 buyer Susan West around Escape.
Peter Szasz naps while Louisa reads on Midnight Sun. Louisa is all smiles after a Friday night birthday celebration.
Skipper Wall says it's Cocktail Hour! Some even came by dinghy.
Saturday toast: Gary, Peter & Margo Wilhite, Meryl, Pat, Harry, Tim K., Sandy & Jack Thompson. Cocktails on Snowflower.
Tim & Rhonda and 6-week-old Ian sailed up! Father & Son.
It's hard to get a crowd of Islanders to sit down! Cruise Captain Don Henderson & the Bushes visit Kay & Harry's table.
Carol Hunter makes the rounds. Judy Bush in conversation.
Kathy, our newest canine, guards Ophira for Pat & Gary. Kathy gets a Sunday walk from mom.
Sunday cocktails on Ophira. Sandy Van Mell stirs the pot for Sunday's pot-luck.
0600 Monday aboard Getaway & Noncents. Let go the stern line, we're outa-here!

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