Fools Rule In 27th Regatta

By Michaela Kennedy

Cars continued to park on Shoreby Hill as the gun went off for the first race of the 27th anniversary of the renowned Fools' Rules Regatta at East Ferry beach last Saturday morning, Aug. 21.

Patchy fog and gusty winds added an eerie ambiance for an excited crowd of participants and spectators. Newcomers and seasoned fools, 58 in total, gathered to compete in sailing strategies with such non-strategic materials as metal barrels, plastic tarps and wooden ladders.

In Class 1, for single-handed racers, Kenny Lush on Water Flyer captured first place. It is truly amazing what can be done with a red-checkered picnic tablecloth.

In second place was Faella Farm with Chris Faella at the helm. Erica Lush secured third place on the seaworthy vessel Springing to the Max. A healthy family rivalry spotlighted this class.

Class 2 featured a captain and one crew member. In first place was Water Works, with Philip Steggall and Greg Grisevich. Second place went to The 500 Bottle Boat, with Nat Hines and Matt Gregoire, and third place was awarded to Jamestown Jammer, with Mae Roos and Paul Milunee.

In Class 3, requiring a crew of three, Foolish Sea Quell, captained by David Malboeuf, flew into first place. Second place was awarded to Buzzy, with captain Geherly Gomez, and placing third was Glue Stick, with family crew Deken, Mike, and Jim Schmidt.

In Class 4, four sailors to a boat, Water Bug with the classic girl crew Ali, Georgia, and Jacqui Glassie and Stephanie Sallum, are yet again the undisputed champs of this class. They are in league with Lance Armstrong, having won first place for the sixth year in a row. ''We've added on and made changes to it, but basically we use the same boat every year,'' said Jacqui Glassie.

Second place went to Crab Rang Goon, captained by Molly Mahoney. Some spectators suspected that the crew got its speed and energy from Chinese food.

In third place was Soggy Dog with Fools' Rules veteran Jeff Hunter trailing the girls.

C.P.'s Desire, with captain John Matson, took first place in the Unlimited Class. Matson said that the name was a result of Chief Fool Chris Powell ''desire'' that the team come up with a new boat design. According to the Desire crew, Powell ribbed them about their entries in previous years being too reliant on a multi-hull design. ''It's a winter project for us,'' said Matson, with a wide grin. The winter planning paid off, apparently, as the gaff-rigged rocketship also won the Most Ingenious Design award.

The Jolly Dog, captained by Amina Brown, placed a close second. The dog and crossbones on the sail caught some good puffs of wind, giving the Dog a competitive edge.

Frankly Foolish, with Lucille and Jim Newman, was not far behind in third place.

The Frank Newman Judges' Award went to Left Overs, a vessel with 11 sailors wrapped in aluminum foil and duct tape, in the unlimited class. Onlookers nearby wondered if team members carried any leftover snacks under their uniforms. It was the team's first year, and they said it was a great way to have some crazy fun. ''We found it (the race) on the Web site and decided to come down,'' said Leslie Kelleter, team organizer, proudly wearing a cap of foil taped to her head.

The team that didn't win a Fools' ribbon but came out a top winner this year was Star of the Sea. Captain Arnie Soucie, with wife Dottie cheering on shore, celebrated the homecoming of his son, Michael, who spent more than a year in the Middle East. The Soucie family joined with the Gianetti family in an eight-year tradition of participating in foolish behavior at the East Ferry waterfront. Sherrie Gianetti noted that the family tradition started in memory of her 10-year-old son, also Michael, who died in 1996. ''We haven't done the race since Michael (Soucie) left. We're all celebrating today,'' she said. The families sported orange team T-shirts, with a promise of a new design at next year's regatta.

In the spirit of foolish behavior, much of the fun came in just making a splash. Quest Jammer, packed to the hull with kids and umbrellas, fought for and won last place in the Unlimited Class. The third- to sixth-graders, charged up with teamwork and new friends, kicked off their new school year in a respectfully foolish manner. Their instructor Lis Swain said, ''I grew up on this island and always wanted to do it. It's a great way for the new students to get to know some of the older children.''

The Trash Men, engineered by Brian Volpe and Donald Muir and recognized as the contraption of trashcans that fell apart, was awarded the Worst Example of Naval Architecture award.

Originally published in The Jamestown Press, Thursday, August 26, 2004