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Ahoy, pirates — start your engines

For anyone who secretly longs to be a pirate but wants to keep their feet firmly on land, the Port Orchard Chamber has designed a “land lubbers” derby race next weekend.

Included as part of the chamber’s second annual Murder Mystery Weekend, the Pirate Dinghy Derby Race is a way for closet pirates to nurture their creative and competitive sides, said race committee chair Billi Gurnsey.

“It’s going to be way cool, and I’m getting lots of calls about it,” Gurnsey said, explaining that she hoped all the interest means that downtown will be full of homemade dinghies on wheels next Saturday. “I am hoping we get all kinds of really cool ideas.”

Gurnsey said she got the idea from seeing the bed races that the city of Shelton used to hold during its Tree, or now Forest, Festival, and another city that raced outhouses.

“Everybody liked the idea (of such a race),” she said, explaining that since the chamber’s weekend is pirate-themed, the committee decided to make the “vehicles” pirate ships.

According to the race rules, each dinghy must be on wheels, pushed by three humans and no more than 10 feet long and four-feet wide. Other than that, Gurnsey said, participants can do what they want — as long as they include one recycled item.

“We want them to be creative,” she said, explaining that the recycled item can be anything from a “gallon milk jug that you use as an anchor,” to an old wheelchair that another team is reportedly planning on building their dinghy around.

Wednesday afternoon, South Kitsap residents Ryan Cooper and Bill Booth were busy building a dinghy for their team, which Copper said would be the “Demolition Derby Scurvy.”

Although both are frequent competitors in the Kitsap Destruction Derby, they admitted they had “never built a boat before” and were not certain — or would not reveal — what the final product will be.

“I can tell you it will be on some wheels,” said Cooper, who also revealed that his daughter Piper, 13, would be the dinghy’s captain. “She’s the lightest.”

Once all the “boats” are built and registered — a $25 fee — for the Sept. 15 event, they will line up for the race on Prospect Street between Kitsap Street and Sidney Avenue.

The first three finishers in four categories: business, non-profit, private, and children’s will receive trophies, along with the best decorated dinghy, Gurnsey said.

For more information, contact the chamber office at 876-3505, or Gurnsey at 620-7582.

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