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FREE SAILBOAT RIDES returned to the Stockton Sailing Club on Saturday for the first time since the pandemic began.
Jim Dale, the harbor master, said the rides are a tradition of Opening ay for the club.
“This is the first year I’ve done this that there’s actually wind,” Dale said with a smile.
As the sun shone and a refreshing breeze carried the scent of hot dogs being grilled, children and adults waited near the clubhouse for the arrival of the sailboats.
Seven to nine boats were made available for rides by members of the club who volunteered their own watercraft, Dale said.
Among those who offered to give a spin on their Cal 27 sailboat named Dynamite were three women: Tena Carr, 76, Ruth Howell, 74, and Faye Roberts, 72.
The trio said they and another woman, Elizabeth Johnson, bought the boat together in 2009 and participated in the free rides every year prior to the pandemic.
“We had funny priorities when we bought the boat,” Carr said. “Like it had to have a head (bathroom) … no more porta potties for us.”
About 45 to 50 people took rides in the Stockton Deep Water Channel, which allows ocean-going vessels to reach the Port of Stockton by way of the San Joaquin River.
Carr, Howell, and Roberts all worked together quickly to get Dynamite’s mainsail up. The huge white sheet caught the wind and pushed the boat forward, displaying the number 263.
Lyric Mayers who went on her uncles’ boat during the event, said it was a fun, chill and relaxing ride.
“I got to sail the boat,” chimed in Ne’vaeh, an 8-year-old attending the celebration.
Those in attendance who didn’t want to go out on the water sat on the clubhouse’s lawn, watching different sailboats go by and jet skis zip along.
Following the sailboat rides there was a blessing of the fleet to ensure a safe season.
Victoria Franco is a reporter based in Stockton covering San Joaquin County for Bay City News Foundation and its nonprofit news site Local News Matters. She is a Report for America corps member.