22. August 2011 07:28
This past weekend was the 34th Annual Fools Rules Regatta here in Jamestown. This foolish tradition, sponsored by the Jamestown Yacht Club, is a unique sailing event where participants (fools) must concoct a vessel out of any non-marine items, and then attempt to race their ship 1,500 feet along the shore at East Ferry. Fools have two hours to assemble their boats. In the past, boats have been made from everything from ice, to Volkswagons, doghouses and toboggans. Awards given out include the Karl Smith Most Ingenious Design, Worst Example of Naval Architecture and the Frank Newman Judges' Award, given to the boat and crew with the best historical theme. For beginners, the advice given by Chris Powell, chief fool, is to "basically try to build something that will stay together. Remember, you have to be able to steer it. It's not just a downwind course."
There is no cost for participating in the event, but proceeds from the sale of T-shirts and hats go to local charities (Sail Newport, the Conanicut Island Sailing Foundation, the North Kingstown High School sailing team) after expenses are paid. This year, according to Candy Powell, "There were 50 entrants, the majority of whom came from Jamestown and other RI communities. There were also entrants from Oregon, Maryland, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts, and spectators from as far away as South Africa. A great time was had by all!"