File this under “Things You’ve Got to Try!”
Looking for a
really fun hilarious cruising community activity? Say for a cruisers’ fest, flotilla or just a “let’s have fun” evening?
Try a Rumbrella Regatta.
I’d never heard of one before, but about 10 days ago David on Alice Mae came on the VHF net and said he wanted to organize an “umbrella regatta” with kayaks propelled by umbrellas. Well, the idea just kind of took off from there.
Suddenly the name was Rumbrella . . . “boats” expanded to be anything that floats . . . steering only with a paddle or oar (can’t paddle, just use in water straight down or pointed aft) . . . umbrellas had no size limit but had to be collapsible . . . Missy on Invictus volunteered her services as a photographer (and generously gave permission to share her photos, which I’m using here) . . . several dinghies were recruited for the start/finish line and to serve as safety boats in case there were any capsizes . . . happy hour for the spectators and a potluck after the race were organized by Mike and Vickie on Whensday with chicken being paid for from the proceeds of a soda cooler in the workshop.
We’d thought there might be shots of rum for the winners, then were told there’d be $10 to the winner of each division, but the morning of the race five bottles of Captain Morgan’s were donated by Alice Mae 😃 and Alice (David’s wife) also made certificates.
We had five divisions — kayaks, paddleboards, inflatables, centerboard/keel sailboats and keeled boats — but all raced together. And for safety’s sake, everyone had to wear a PFD (not just have it aboard). We didn’t worry about right of way rules — just bump and go.
The finish line was just outside where the spectators could watch from land, and the start line was set upwind of that. Important note: the course has to be dead downwind! Vessels without a keel are very hard to steer.
The race course was a couple hundred yards, with a finish line that was probably 20 yards wide. Boats moved surprisingly quickly in light winds. I think that any winds over about 8 knots would be tough as umbrellas would start to turn inside out, but it might be fun to try!
Two dinghies anchored at the start area and ran a long rope between them. Competitors held onto that line (behind them) with umbrellas collapsed. The starter blew the conch horn, umbrellas deployed and . . . well, here are the pictures.
For posterity, the winners were:
Keeled boat (and line honors): Mike Barber and Vickie Nelson from Whensday
Keeled sailboat: Toby Potvin from Aribess with “Marine Jon” as crew
Inflatable: David from Alice Mae
Kayak: Mahghandi Stephen from Saphira
Paddleboard: Me. Only entrant. Didn’t cross the finish line as it was impossible to steer the paddleboard and a wind shift blew me away from the line. But they gave me the bottle of rum anyway!