What Do You Do With a Drunken Sailor?

“Safety and Courtesy Tips for the Beer Can Regatta”

So let it be written; so let it be done. Thursday Night's Beer Can Regattas in Newport Harbor may never be the same. A redraft of the entry form would shamelessly exclude the drunken and the ignorant. The Harbor Patrol and the Harbor Commission are hammering out a new-fangled version of Newport Harbor's Rules of the, er, Road. From The Log:

The proposed draft reminds entrants that Rules of the Road must be followed -- and that racers must be on the lookout for inexperienced boaters, communicate with other vessels to avoid collisions or misunderstandings, avoid commercial vessels and be aware of other nearby vessels at all times, whether racing or not. Guidelines for common courtesy for harbor users and the procedure for reporting accidents is also listed.

Common courtesy for other harbor users? Such as recognizing that sounds carry across water, and maybe not blasting Soulja Boy from your Duffy (which, by the way, cannot possibly constitute a booze-cruise) in the wee hours of the morning? One can only hope.

What about the emergency situations which apparently justify Harbor Patrol boats to rage through the channels, causing perhaps-deserved but unneccessary damage to docks, boats and property? What about the Harbor Patrol boat which killed Rupert, the beloved-yet-evil Australian black swan and unofficial mascot of the harbor, while speeding towards a dead body? Well of course the Sheriff's Department is concerned about speed. That is, they're concerned about racing yachts violating the speed limit, traditionally only observed for motor boats.

Harbor Commissioner Ralph Rodheim recommended that the city address the “speeding” issue by offering a special permit when races are held, allowing for higher speed in organized and controlled racing situations. “We can’t ask the Sheriff’s Department, in good conscience, to turn their heads” to unauthorized speed violations, he explained.

No worries, Commissioner Rondheim. You don't even have to ask them. It comes naturally.

Watch for more on this, and apologies to my family who have no knowledge of my writing and would prefer I be as polite as possible and observe the utmost decorum both on and off the water, as the Newport Harbor Yacht Club is a Corinthian club after all. Which I think means it has those flourish thingies at the top of its columns. Anyone want to clarify?


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