It’s not rocket science


The first Astoria Regatta, which was held starting Aug. 17, 1894, was a gala event, The Daily Morning Astorian reported. A photo from The Daily Astorian is shown. There were loads of tourists, sailing and rowing competitions, midnight cruises with bands, swimming and foot races and many other festivities — and one almost fatal glitch.

“The life-saving crews will be over bright and early this morning,” the newspaper announced. “… A boat will be capsized in mid-stream, and the signal given the life-saving crew. A rocket will be thrown over the capsized boat, and the usual interesting and exciting method of rescue will be gone through with.”

Not quite. The rescue was almost on land. As reported the next day: “When the mortar was fired at the life-saving drill, it rebounded to a distance of 30 feet. The crowd did not move away a moment too soon, several narrowly escaping the flying gun.” Presumably, the rocket fiasco was not repeated at future regattas.

Elleda Wilson is an editorial assistant for The Astorian and author of the award-winning In One Ear community column. Contact her at 971-704-1718 or