2014-08-14 / Editorial

Fools set sail this Saturday at East Ferry

Calling all fools and their friends. August brings a favorite Jamestown tradition: the annual Fools’ Rules Regatta.

The event, which sets sails this Saturday at East Ferry, will be the 37th time that islanders have taken to Narragansett Bay waters in craft not normally intended to float. It is a whacky display of Yankee ingenuity and a good time is required for all.

The Fools’ Rules Regatta attracts hundreds of onlookers who line the shore to watch, cheer and jeer as the contestants take part in the maritime mayhem. The event has attracted wide attention during its 37- year reign and has even been featured on the glossy pages of regional and national publications.

The fun begins at 9 a.m. on Saturday when the first cannon is fired. The foolish participants then have two hours to build their wind-driven vessels on the beach. The boat builders may use any non-marine items to construct their boats. In the past, there have been umbrellas and bathtubs, giant bags of packing peanuts, PVC-tube rafts and more. You name it and someone has probably tried to build a boat out of it. One year someone had an old Volkswagen. Another, an entrant floated on a giant block of ice.

At 11 a.m. the racing and the real fun begins. Participants get to test their crafts’ seaworthiness and their racing luck on the 500-yard downwind course. Some crafts will make it to the finish line, but more often than not, they will sink along the way.

There are prestigious awards for the successful, including the Karl Smith Most Ingenious Design, the Frank Newman Judges Award and the always-entertaining Worst Example of Naval Architecture.

Feeling foolish yet? We will see you there.

Entry forms and rules are available at businesses throughout town and at jyc.org. Or, call Chief Fool Chris Powell at 423-1492 for more information.

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