By Adrienne Downing
There were cows loose at East Ferry this past Saturday, but no one seemed concerned or even tried to round them up.
The 350th related theme of the 30th annual Fools' Rules Regatta brought about several farm-themed boats and the cow costumes that came with them.
One such boat, the Inflata-Bull Cow E II, took second place in the Class 4 race with its crew of Jeff, Lisa and Laura Hunter and Shanin Barzin. They also took home the Karl Smith Most Ingenious Design Award.
"It was such a cool thing for us because we went from worst to first in just one year. It was really redemptive for us." Jeff Hunter said. "We finished dead last at last year's race and won the Worst Example of Naval Architecture Award for capsizing our boat before we even started."
He has been sailing in the regatta for eight years, but said this year was special not only because of his win, but because he was sailing in the race with his two daughters for the first time.
"They were absolutely brilliant. They arrived on Friday night and Shahin and I had been having some discussion about how we were going to make the balloons work for us," Jeff said. "They came up with this idea to confine it all in deer netting and we didn't think it would work, but it worked very well."
Jeff's wife, Wendy Samter, did not sail on the craft, but put her artistic stamp on the crew by dressing them in the cow theme.
"As soon as she knew what theme we were going with, she was online ordering our costumes. She got the aprons, the cow hats, the pants and everything," Jeff said.
Ben and Ethan Roach, their cousin, Tyler McNamara, and their grandfather, William Fennell took first place in the Class 4 division with "Sail Mary." Fennell and Ben sailed a similar design in last year's race, but updated their design to include Ethan and Tyler this year.
"They were elated, super excited to win, especially with their grampy, " Robb Roach said.
Taking third place in Class 4 was "Fun City" with a crew from Peace Dale.
Quentin Anthony was delighted when some of the loose cows showed up on his doorstep after the event with a Rhode Fresh container full of money totaling $117.80.
The six-girl Unlimited Class crew made up of Amina Brown, Emma Kate Vogel, Emily and Eliza Kallfelz, Lindsey Harris and Lindsey Duhamel, walked the beach and collected money to save the farms while their family and friends built their boat.
"We have been doing this a long time," Samira Hakki said. "It is a tradition for the parents to build the boat and the kids to sail it. This year with the 350 theme we just evolved toward the idea of the farms because of the cutouts on North Main Road and when it was decided that was what we were going to do someone suggested collecting money."
"It made me feel good helping the animals so they have a place to keep living on Jamestown." Amina Brown said.
Their boat starts with the same base, a 25-year-old lobster tank, every year and evolves based on their chosen theme.
Although another boat ran over their sail and caused the crew to narrowly miss third place, they still had a grand time and are looking forward to coming back next year.
"It was a bit more difficult this year than usual because of the wind and the current but it was still fun and goofy, so we don't worry about winning, just about having a good time," Amina said.
The sole Jamestown ribbon winners in the Unlimited Class were the military spouses, who took second place with their "Sum of all Fools" boat, captained by Julie Bailey.
A broken halyard at the start cost the five-person crew some time, but a heroic effort and a human mast got the sail aloft and the boat made a nice comeback.
"It was such a blast, a chance to be a kid again," Bailey said. "It would not have mattered whether we won or lost, we had a great time."
It was a Jamestown sweep in Class 2, with Nathan, 11, and Sadie Housberg, 9, taking top honors with their boat "Tubba Wubba."
"It is something they have wanted to do every year and the timing never worked out until this year," their dad, Paul, said. "We had been watching and studying in previous years, so we kind of had an idea of what worked and what did not work."
The dual-hauled design made of storage tubs definitely worked well for the sibling team, as they quickly distanced themselves from the competition and sailed to an easy victory.
"King of Fools," manned by Mac Roos and Carson White, cruised to a second place victory followed closely by Garrett Roes and Dylan Pexton on the most edible sounding boat of the day, "Blueberry Pancake".
Class 3 was also dominated by islanders with Jarod Carr and "Husky Noodle" taking home the first place blue ribbon.
Joe Logan and grandsons Danny and Jeffrey Huber embodied the historic theme with their second place finish aboard "Conanicut Island for Sail-350 Years".
"I have been a member of the historical society for years, so I knew with this being a special year, I would have to do something relevant." Logan said.
As an engineer, Logan said that the annual competition gives him a creative outlet and although he does not consider himself very competitive, he does give his design effort his all.
"We would have a hard time competing for the worst prize because it is just not in my nature to build something that won't work," he said.
He shared how the Fools' Rules is a family affair for him.
"Before the twins started building with me I used to sail with my other two grandchildren who are older now. We even harvested the bamboo we have used all along from my uncle's backyard on Long Island," he said.
Tim, Giles and George Lemmon were speedy enough for third place in their "Speedy G" boat.
The only division without island representation among the ribbon winners was Class 1. Dan Sevey of Wakefield took first place and Connor Cusi-Asquith of California took second place honors.
"All in all, even with the wind blowing 15-20 knots, with gusts up to 30 knots, it was a great day. Everyone seemed to have a great time and we had a near record number of boats with 65", Chief Fool Chris Powell said.
With all of the smiles at the end of the day, it seems as though the foolishness is destined to go on another 30 years or more.
Originally published in The Jamestown Press, Thursday, August 23, 2007