May 29-31, 2004|
(If you like, you can skip down through the prose and go straight to the pictures below!)
Friday night the wind whistled with sustained winds over 30 knots in many places. Sure made it hard for boats who wanted to get a head start up to the main Bay for an early Saturday morning start on the Memorial Day Petaluma Cruise. Al & Nancy Farnum sailed Silver Shadow all the way to Petaluma on Friday, as did Tim, Rhonda & Ian Shea on Lean Times. They were able to save some space for the rest of us - but it was a fight, what with about 80 boats from several fleets headed for the combined capacity of the Petaluma Basin and the Petaluma Marina.
But the wind gods relented, and clear skies, no fog and little wind greeted everyone as they converged on the rendezvous point at 0845, or headed straight for the Petaluma River. Rick & Sandy Van Mell on Vanishing Animal and John Melton on Freedom Won approached from Vallejo - returning from 9 days of cruising the Delta. (You can check out that story at Delta Ciiruise.)
With the wind light and the remains of a flood tide, most boats were under power. We had to swin upriver against the start of the ebb to reach Petaluma whle there was still water in the river. And that we did, arriving shortly after noon in bunches. The fun began as we worked to med-moor islanders in a narrow creek. With help from Al & Nancy and Tim Shea in their inflatables working as tug boats, the boats were backed into the dock one by one. The creek is so narrow that bow anchors could not be put out until the boats were in place! That made for some long diagonals and lots of heavy pulling to get things lined up. But they sure looked pretty when the raft was together!
Hula Lessons began in the Petaluma Clubhouse at 1430 - but we didn't spot any Islanders there. They were boat hopping and shopping! At 1630 it was time for a group picture - have to Show Kimball The Bacon. People, kids and dogs squeezed close enough together to get the whole gang in view, but the boats got their own pictures.
A whopping 21 Islander Association member boats were represented, plus one known guest Freeport 36, a second F-36 and an Islander 40 to total an even two dozen! Med-moored along the yacht club shore were: Amante, Frank & Susan Mayo; Midnight Sun, Peter & Lousia Szasz; Zenith, Art & Betsy Fowler; Nimbus, Mike & Daphne Dickson (however, new news, Daphne is expecting and was at the christening of a godchild in Florida while Mike had friend Chris help sail Nibmus!); Diana, Lou & Diane Zevanov and Steve & Gena Zevenov with kids Taylor (9), Nick (7), & Sam (3.5); Freedom Won, John & Nanci Melton, plus John's sister Pat and her granddaughter Alissa; Vanishing Animal, Rick & Sandy Van Mell (+Teak - the dog); Natural HIgh, Dennis, Judy & Matt Bush; Lean Times, Tim, Rhonda & Ian Shea; Sea Dog, Jay Saul & Jen Alcock (+Daisy); Endeavor, Brian & Fran Jacobs, & David (+Tillie); Pulau, Johnaton Muhiudeen & Linda Horne and kids Iain (4) & Kegan (18 months); and Silver Shadow, Al & Nancy Farnum (+ Schatze). Across the basin were: Spindrift, Chris Mellor, Kelley Montana & Claire (+Nellie); Kindred Spirits, Don & Barb Henderson; Pacific High, Commodore Harry Farrell & Carol Williams, with crew Michele Williams, Mike Williams, Yvonne & Veronica; and invited guest Mojito, Tom & Karen Hieronymus - by the way, Mojito is either a Cuban drink or slang for "Wet One". Wandering Star, Jack & La Vaughn Ferguson, were just down river at the Petaluma Marina, but came up for the fun.
Also along the docks were the F-36 Intrepid and the Islander 40 Two Dogs. Two Dogs is now owned by Brian & Erika Witcher who sail out of the Presidio YC, and yes, the two dogs are Lisa & Maggie. The boat was previously a member of the Association under the name of AWOL when owned by Steve & Jill Hoffman. They took her down the west coast, through the canal and up to Rhode Island before shipping her back to Sausalito where Brian found her.
Those arriving by land cruiser included: Blockbuster, Bill Higdon; Noncents, Jack & Sandy Thompson; Mischief Charles & Kathryn Hodgkins; and Solace, John Snook. That's a grand total of 61 people plus 6 dogs! (Hope that's enough Bacon for you Kimball!)
Then on to the clubhouse for the 1730 lighting of the Tiki lamps by Petaluma Vice Commodore James Keller to start off South Pacific Night. With dinner tickets came with sailor hats or leis, and what a feast it was. Beautifully roasted pork and chicken right off the grill, complimented by Polynesian cole slaw, poi, grilled pineapple, sweet potatoes and pineapple upside down cake for desert filled us to the brim.
Following dinner the Lei Girls (from the island of Komoniwanaleiu) performed in a packed clubhouse to the tunes of South Pacific. There surely were no more than the allowed "140 persons for Assembly", but who's counting when the show was so great and the crowd so big. Starting off with "Wonderful Guy" (I'm as corny as Kansas in August...), sung along with a great tape on the sound system, things only got better with a solo rendition of "Some Enchanted Evening". The sailor boys then took the stage for a chorus of "There Is Nothing Like A Dame", which of course was the cue for "Bloody Mary" to enter - played by none other than Tiki lighter VC James Keller in a grass skirt, coconut half breasts, and his very real 3-masted ship tattooed on his stomach. (For those who missed the show, he did a reprise by dinghy on Sunday morning.) The show wrapped up with a tribute to the men and women in the service with an all-standing version of "God Bless America" - all verses with everyone in the house singing out. What a great way to end the evening! Compliments to all who put the show together.
Not content with just putting on a terrific dinner, the Petaluma folks laid out a generous continental breakfast Sunday morning - and then a few boats started heading for home. Art & Betsy Fowler were treated to a gourmet breakfast aboard Midnight Sun by Louisa Szasz - just the usual "Kimball's Bacon", plus scrambled eggs, tomatoes, and salmon, cream cheese, capers and crackers, washed down with OJ and coffee. There was plenty of time to chat and fix little things. Peter Szasz mentioned that he had a new VHF antenna to replace the one blown off the top of the mast - Art Fowler volunteered to go aloft (being lighter than either Rick or Peter). So up he went with Rick & Peter taking turns on the winch. Mike Dickson suggested that Art might be enough weight to compensate for Peter's tapered mast - alas Art had other plans. LIke any good cruising lay day, there were shop to browse, chores to do and books to read. Even the kids and dogs had a good time.
1700 hours was Commodore Farrell's invitation to bring a favored punch recipe (well, OK, it was Carol's idea). It doesn't take much imagination to think of South Pacific punches, but knowing the Islander Fleet's ability to over-supply any potluck gathering, everyone approached the appointed hour with expectation and glee. Tables groaned under a load of goodies, including meatballs, chicken sate, nuts, veggies, dip, and another of Louisa's great salmon, capers & cream cheese plates. Oy yes, there were punches...and punches...and punches. We'll have to check with Carol and Michele who did the organizing, passed out ballots and tallied the results, but contributors included Pulau, Midnight Sun, Amante, Vanishing Animal, Natural High, Pacific High, & Diana - and probably some more that I couldn't remember after tasting them all! Pulau brought the kid-friendly punch that was great for kids - adults had their own bottle of Mt. Gay to add spice. The assembled tasters, who were luck not to fall off the crowded dock, voted Midnight Sun in first place (now they will have to carry a punch jug at the top of their mast too), with Amante second. But everyone had a good time. A few of the most hardy even had the stamina to go out for dinner - but most simply retired to finish of the last of the great liquids.
Memorial Day Monday dawned clear and warm, and the minus tide allowed everyone to sleep in and get an easy breakfast before boats started shoving. The D Street drawbridge started its up-and-down dance at 0930 as the first seven boats headed home. It was a great rendezvous, and everyone repeatedly thanked Harry Farrell and Carol Williams for a very special event.
Pictures are compliments of Barb Henderson, Bill Higdon, Linda Horne (Pulau), Mike Dickson & Rick Van Mell. Click on images to enlarge, click "Back" to return.
|Zenith, Diana, Natural High & Amante||Brian Jacobs' Endeavor||Approaching the Petaluma River||Valley ahead|
|San Rafael Bridge||Catching up with Harry||Admiral Farrell...||Smile for the camera!|
|Bridges in sight||Into the river||A steady stream of boats||A budding vineyard|
|Coming up on Lakeville||Lakeville & Papa's Taverna||Sea Dog & Midnight Sun ahead||Nimbus, Pulau & Pacific HIgh arrive|
|Freedom Won arrives||Kindred Spirits & Freedom Won||"Tugboats" Tim Shea and Al & Nancy Farnum wait for Freedom Won||Nice & gentle to the dock|
|Kindred Spirits||Far side of basin||Right in front of clubhouse||Looking down to Islander row|
|Rhonda & Ian Shea on Lean Times||Jay & Jennifer depart Sea Dog||Med moored crowd||Carol William hangs lights on Pacific High|
|Job well done||Claire, Nellie, & Kelley Mellor||Don & Barb Henderson ready to party||Luau Entnertainmt|
|Smack Cup party!!!||Happy Steve Zevanov & kids||Louisa Szasz smiles on Midnight Sun||The Mighty Islander fleet|
|Even more Islanders||Banners fly!||Lookin' good||Sandy, Michele,Bil, Carol, Jack & Harry at Petaluma YC|
|Hail, Hail the gang's all here!||Kimballs Bacon - again||Smile!||Dressed in style|
|Islander cosy||No one's left out||OK, now let's party!||Rick gets in a picture.|
|Nice & Calm||Nice flags||Being Commodore is TOUGH!||John Melton, Freedom Won|
|Is that a martini, ensign Higdon?||A native views Silver Shadow||Petaluma Yacht Club||Let the Hula begin|
|Tiki lighting ....||well done!||South Pacific BBQ||Bill Higdon (Blockbuster) & Jack & Sandy Thompson (Noncents) chow down|
|The Bush (Natural HIgh) & Jacobs (Endeavor) tribes||John Snook (Solace) & Don Henderson (Kindred Spirits)||Susan & Frank Mayo (Amante) break fast with Nanci & John Melton (Freedom Won||Louisa shows off Kimball's bacon...|
|& salmon, capers & cream cheese!||Enjoyed by Peter Szasz & Betsy Fowler||Art Fowler paid for breakfast by replacing Peter's antenna!||Commodore Farrell's SS Silverado disguise|
|Palm tree in cockpit!||Bloody Mary (aka James Keller, Petaluma YC Vice Commodore) reprises Saturdays show||Pulau has netting for 2 good reasons..||Iain (4) & Kegan 18 months with parents Jonathon Muhiudeen & Linda Horne|
|Punch Making!||The Goodies Table||Punch (Drunk?) Crowd||Have at it!|
|Iain tastes dad's Pulau (kid-safe) punch||Frank & Susan Mayo (Amante)||Everyone's happy||Punch Prizes|
|Breakfast crowd||Matt & Judy Bush with David||The great I-40 Two Dogs...||That's Maggie (the dog!) & Brian Witcher|
|The morning calm||First boats head for home...||with Pulau in the lead ...||and a long line astern.|
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