2018-08-23 / Front Page

FOOLISH DAY ON THE BAY

Grandparents celebrate 50th anniversary in winning fashion
BY MATT WUNSCH


The “Great in ’68” boat, crewed by the grandchildren of Walcott Avenue’s Bob and Jill Bendick, won by an alligator nose in the unlimited class at last Saturday’s Fools’ Rules Regatta, defeating the two-time defending champions from Brown University. The boat’s name paid homage to 50 years of marriage for the Bendicks. Below, team members on shore celebrate the victory. PHOTOS BY ANDREA VON HOHENLEITEN The “Great in ’68” boat, crewed by the grandchildren of Walcott Avenue’s Bob and Jill Bendick, won by an alligator nose in the unlimited class at last Saturday’s Fools’ Rules Regatta, defeating the two-time defending champions from Brown University. The boat’s name paid homage to 50 years of marriage for the Bendicks. Below, team members on shore celebrate the victory. PHOTOS BY ANDREA VON HOHENLEITEN Walcott Avenue’s Bob and Jill Bendick celebrated their 50th anniversary Saturday by watching their daughter and five grandchildren sail a makeshift boat to victory at the 41st Fools’ Rules Regatta.

The Bendick family is a troupe of summer residents that built “Great in ’68,” which narrowly defeated “Sky Dog” in the unlimited class. Winning the 500-yard dash in the shallow waters at East Ferry, however, was not the goal.

“It was unexpected, to say the least,” said Bob Bendick, the family patriarch. “Our goal was not to sink.”

Capsizing was the fate for four of the 31 vessels, all of which were built on the beach in roughly two hours. To be eligible, boats must be constructed from non-marine items, which means no masts, dinghies, surfboards or actual sails. The secret weapon for the Bendicks? An inflatable alligator fastened to the bow.

“We won by about 3 feet,” Bendick said. “The nose of the alligator finished first, which is pretty funny. We got a good start and got fairly far ahead. Then the Brown team, ‘Sky Dog,’ caught up fast, but we held on.”

Comprised of Brown University students and alumni, team “Sky Dog” were hyped going into the race because of their scientific knowledge. The team, which was the two-time defending champion in the unlimited class, fashioned an impressive vessel made mostly of plywood and duct tape. Alas, they didn’t have the pedigree to top “Great in ’68.”


Twenty-seven of the 31 boats finished the 500- yard racecourse Saturday during the 41st Fools’ Rules Regatta at East Ferry. The event tasks amateur boatbuilders with constructing their makeshift vessels with items ill-suited for that purpose. Photos by Andrea von Hohenleiten Twenty-seven of the 31 boats finished the 500- yard racecourse Saturday during the 41st Fools’ Rules Regatta at East Ferry. The event tasks amateur boatbuilders with constructing their makeshift vessels with items ill-suited for that purpose. Photos by Andrea von Hohenleiten Bendick, a former director of the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, now directs the Gulf of Mexico program for The Nature Conservancy. He said this fun-loving regatta, which has been raced annually since 1977, plays a significant role in promoting and conserving natural resources like Narragansett Bay.

“It’s great,” he said. “The race draws 1,000 people or more to the bay on a summer day, including lots of kids. It helps them become more environmentally conscious.”


RIGHT: For the first time, Plymouth Road’s Greg Hunter served as chief fool of the regatta. Like his predecessor, Chris Powell, Hunter was a discernible presence onshore with his bullhorn, blue blazer, captain’s hat and mismatched socks. RIGHT: For the first time, Plymouth Road’s Greg Hunter served as chief fool of the regatta. Like his predecessor, Chris Powell, Hunter was a discernible presence onshore with his bullhorn, blue blazer, captain’s hat and mismatched socks. Along with his daughter, Rebecca

Kier, Bendick said his grandkids, Aidan, Fiona, Talia, Rory and Jasper, reveled in the competition.

“Three of them live in Montana so they really don’t get a lot of exposure to sailing,” he said. “They all had a role in this. Each kid had a job to do and they somehow pulled it off while also having a lot of fun.”

That lighthearted spirit was the theme of the day, according to judge Todd Merrill, a five-year resident of Jamestown. While he enforced the rules, mainly inspecting “boats” for illegal marine parts, Merrill also searched for creativity.


BELOW: “Toxic Bubble Wrap Boat” didn’t finish the race but it did win the coveted award for being the worst example of naval architecture. BELOW: “Toxic Bubble Wrap Boat” didn’t finish the race but it did win the coveted award for being the worst example of naval architecture. “We’re looking for uniqueness of design, really bad design and everybody having a good time,” he said. As an example, Merrill pointed to a double-decker boat last year with couches on both floors that won the Class 4 race.

“Somehow the thing didn’t tip over,” he said.

Built by Sadie Haun, a 2015 North Kingstown High graduate, “Release the Quackin” was given the award for the most ingenious design. The boat won the singlehanded class.

The judges gave their award to Jamestowner Alex Carney for his vessel “Das Boat.” Finally, the coveted award for worst example of naval architecture, often given to a boat that ends up in the bottom of the bay, went to the Newport team of Paul Raston, Ryan Early and Rohan Jack for their entry “Toxic Bubble Wrap Boat.”


LEFT: The Pennsylvania team of Ryan Hirsh, Jase Smith, Stephen Trempel and Mike Ferris helmed “HMS Implication” to a secondplace finish in the Class 4 race. LEFT: The Pennsylvania team of Ryan Hirsh, Jase Smith, Stephen Trempel and Mike Ferris helmed “HMS Implication” to a secondplace finish in the Class 4 race. The winners are:

Class 1

First place: “Release the Quackin,” Sadie Haun (Jamestown)

Second place: “The Sea Section,” Cathy McCarthy (Newport)

No other boat finished

Class 2

First place: “75 Winks,” Winkle Kelley and Mandy Kelley (Jamestown)

Second place: “Krusty Krushers,” Jason Sturges and Tyler Beck (Tiverton)

Third place: “Snail Boat,” Phil Haun and Adrienne Schuettke (Rumford)

Class 3

First Place: “Sail Mary,” Nolan and Fin Roach, Grampy Fennell (Jamestown)


ABOVE: Wendy Mackie, Colleen Van Ryn and Gigi Ginelewicz sailed aboard “HSC Rainbow Connections” in the Class 3 race. ABOVE: Wendy Mackie, Colleen Van Ryn and Gigi Ginelewicz sailed aboard “HSC Rainbow Connections” in the Class 3 race. Second Place: “Unsinkables,” Lukas, Ruby and Brooklyn Oakley (Jamestown)

Third Place: “Bolt,” Sean, Connor and Grant Doyle (Jamestown)

Class 4

First place: “Lotus Quarlie Shinger,” Kate Mylies, Kate Rivers, Annika Stookley and Amanda Rivers (Jamestown)

Second place: “HMS Implication,” Ryan Hirsh, Jase Smith, Stephen Trempel and Mike Ferris (Bethlehem, Pa.)

Third place: “Jibby 77,” Assma, Chaima and Axaub Idbahmane, Salim Davis (Newport)

Unlimited class

First place: “Great in ’68,” the Bendick family (Jamestown)

Second place: “Sky Dog,” David Tersegno and crew (Providence)

Third place: “Das Boat,” Alex Carney and crew (Jamestown)

Special awards

Most ingenious design: “Release the Quackin,” Sadie Haun (Jamestown)

Worst example of naval architecture: “Toxic Bubble Wrap Boat,” Paul Raston, Ryan Early and Rohan Jack (Newport)

Judges’ award: “Das Boat,” Alex Carney (Jamestown)

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