In the annual Fools' Rules Regatta in Jamestown, R.I., locals start constructing their "boats" only two hours before sailing them. Aug. 18, 2007.
by Wendy Perrin
In my earlier posts about last week's "vacation" (ha! does such a thing even exist for a travel blogger?) in Newport, Rhode Island, I never did tell you where my family stayed. That's because we didn't stay in Newport.
Here's the secret that every smart traveler should know: Want to enjoy Newport's attractions but avoid its traffic and tourist crowds? Make next-door neighbor Jamestown your base. A quick drive or an easy ferry ride from Newport, on an island right across Narragansett Bay, Jamestown is a low-key, quaint, surprisingly rural haven. We rented a house there and ended up catching the Jamestown Yacht Club's hilarious 30th annual Fools' Rules Regatta.
Sailors in the Regatta have from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. to build their "boats" from scratch.
No manufactured nautical equipment
may be used. That means no masts, sails, dinghies, or surfboards. So what do you construct your hull from? "Hull examples might be beer
cans, auto bodies, bathtubs, trees, or an old worn-out sofa," the rules
read. "Sails could be made of old sheets, old rugs, burlap bags, or
your grandma's petticoats. Bystanders must not steal materials from
crews they have no bets on."
"Vessels shall be propelled by nature's wind only," the rules continued. "There shall
be no mechanical means of propulsion. Because of the possibility of gales, hurricanes, and such during the competition . . .