The  2006  MMBA River Rat Cruise
July 8, 2006 'til ...(you decide)

"And you really live by the river? What a jolly life!"

Come ride the bubble to the Delta, put the wind to your back...
Enjoy the warmth of Delta mode... Sail back in your own time...
Spend the weekend, spend the week, stay the summer!


   Departure:  Saturday, July 8   Sail to:  Steamboat Slough (open)      Return:   As you wish


The 2006 River Rat Cruise will be starting on Saturday morning July 8th, to Steamboat Slough with possibly an overnight stop at the Driftwood Yacht Club, just below the Antioch end of the Antioch Bridge. A 3.3 knot flood at the Golden Gate at 0954 and a 1.8 flood at Carquenez at 1236 should provide the usual swift over the ground speed up river all day Saturday.  July 8th was selected for the favorable currents and milder Delta temperatures. Starters should plan to transit Southampton Shoal area around 10 a.m. 


The usual Steamboat Slough destination is open to change, subject to participant input, Steamboat Slough destination is at the upper end along side the left bank (green side) heading up river. The advantages here are abundant shade trees, clean flowing river water, and convenience to roads, shopping etc.  Steamboat for the week also allows those heading back to the bay for business, leaving their boat in the care and watch of those staying. Other options might be upper Georgiana Slough, The Meadows, Potato Slough, Cuts in the San Juaquin River, or some other spot, or perhaps a couple of days at one spot and then moving along to another.


The Saturday overnight stop at the Driftwood Yacht Club is also open to change, at this early posting.  The Cruise Chairman will be polling interested and past participants as to the Steamboat Slough and Driftwood YC options.  Note:  Reserving the DYC for mooring and dinner needs to be done as early as possible.


The DYC is a full service Club with slips, Bar, Dining, River view deck, showers, ice, and a lot of other neat stuff, and they’re great people too. This stop will provide an opportunity for crew exchanges, drive up land cruisers, hanging out on board, on the river view deck, at the bar, at dinner, and all the camaraderie experienced in the past.  Breakfast may be available if there are enough boats.  Stopping here would mean reaching the final destination on Sunday afternoon, or in case of The Meadows, Monday.


This is the second weekend following the Corinthian Annual Meeting and Boat Show. The Driftwood requests a head count for boats and dinner reservations at the beginning of the week, so the Boat Show and the week after will be the last chance to sign up for dinner.  The Cruise

Chairman will contact those already not onboard for a final count before the July 4th weekend.


Flood Currents:  Saturday - Golden Gate - 3.3, 0954, Carquinez - 1236 – 1.8
Please mark your calendars now.

To sign up, or to provide your input as to the Driftwood, Steamboat or other venue options, why you may have passed up this cruise in the past or what would you like to see changed, or not changed, so you would consider doing this fun event this time, or anything else about the cruise, please contact Bob Griffiths at
(925) 254 9467, (925) 360 0826,  Once any changes are made and set, this website will be updated to provide the final information.


Communications: VHF Channels 68 for check-ins and 14 Bay Traffic, 15 River Pilots Traffic, 9 Bridge Openings and Cell Phones


Charts: 18652, 18661, and 18662


What to Bring: Awning, sun hats, sunscreen, cold drinks, ice, enough engine fuel, bug repellent, two anchors with rodes and extra line, and water sports gear.

Optional: Dinghy, swim ladder, crawdad traps with cheap dog food for bait, BBQ, GPS, binoculars, cell phone.

Getting There: Note: To DYC take New York Slough at the Pittsburg PGE Plant (stack) to starboard

The following is from experience and observation and not intended for substitute for good judgment and navigation skills, but just for the orientation of those not familiar with the route(s).

To Pittsburg: Entering San Pablo Bay, Red No. 2 marks an obstruction. Skirt the East (Red) side of the ship channel to take advantage of the stronger currents in deeper water. This may not apply on the return, however. Sailing in the ship channel is a no-no.  After Davis Point, stay well within the markers, alert for commercial traffic ahead and astern, and allowing time for a safe passing.  They are traveling deceptively fast, maneuvering to keep deep water, constantly changing course, not always predictable, and always have the right of way (Rule 9). Above the Martinez bridges there are vast areas of real estate, only exposed at low tides; beware of birds walking on the water.  It's vital that the next marks in sequence be confirmed as being correct, going from 1 and 2 to 3 and 4, and not 1 and 2 to 5 and 6 etc. Flying the chute on a shortcut across the Middleground can be a memorable family experience.

To Steamboat Slough:  Direct: Take the Sacramento River, at the Pittsburgh PGE Power plant stay to Port and head up the Sacramento to the Rio Vista Bridge.

To DYC:  Take New York Slough to Starboard, passing the Pittsburg waterfront area and on past the North side of West Island, and under the Antioch Bridge and here make an immediate 90 degree hard right Starboard and the narrow Driftwood entrance will be dead ahead. Berthing is arranged inside. Arrival is around 4 or 5 PM There should be ample depth at the entrance at this time.

To Steamboat Slough From DYC:  Departure from the Driftwood will be about 9 to 10 Saturday morning, after breakfast (ashore available) and everyone is organized. Typically there will be a good following breeze and some opposing current on the run up river to Three Mile Slough, which is the crossover back to the Sacramento. Entering Three Mile there is a spit to Starboard extending into shallowness off the point, so favoring the Port bank is recommended. Three miles later and after a bridge opening the Sacramento is entered and upriver to the Rio Vista Bridge, which also requires an opening.

Up River from Rio Vista:  After the Rio Vista Bridge there are two major waterways to Starboard, the first is the Sacramento River. Some deep draft cruisers may choose this “no worries" route, cutting back through the Steamboat Slough Bridge into upper Steamboat. The second is Steamboat Slough, which has some shallow areas. Use your charts here.  A 5 ft. spot at the entrance, later to Starboard at "windmill", just below "cable area", and below and above "Howard’s Landing Cable Ferry".  Staying somewhat near the banks where the dredges scoop, and swooping with the outside of the bends, can be usually be expected to carry the most depth. When following, allow enough distance in the event the vessel ahead bottoms out and stops suddenly, and encourage those following too close to pass.

Mooring at Steamboat:   The area used is the West (shade in the afternoon) bank about a half mile below the Bridge (to the Sacramento River). Some years there is more current than others, and even a slight reverse current, which varies in time with the tide. Pick out a spot, anchor fore and aft, parallel to the bank, and then run long lines from bow and stern to handy trees with long bowline loops, for easy letting go, and you're set.

Activities at Steamboat: Swimming, water sports, crawdad fishing and crawdad boils, BBQs, trips to Courtland for tacos, ice and fresh groceries, and to “Al the Wop’s” at Locke for steaks, fries, and peanut butter, and to the Big Store at Walnut Grove, for more shopping. In the Delta, the possibilities are unlimited. On the way back there are other spots to visit, the Georgiana Slough, The Meadows, Potato Slough, Cuts on the San Juaquin River, and all the hot spots around Bruno’s and Owl Harbor.


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