Now everyone has done things they wouldn’t dream of doing sober under the influence of a drink or 10. Sailors are a notoriously drunken lot and the WARC crew take that notoriety to a whole new level. The WARC parties were a force to be reckoned with.
Umineko’s, or “sea cat” in Japanese, motto was: have Karaoke Machine, will travel.” Sato San, the cat’s ebullient skipper was a born showman. The svelte man was a dyed-in-the-wool extrovert. He had lived in Detroit for 20 years and easily made friends with all nationalities on the ARC. It was impossible not to like the man who always had a joke ready and a story to share. When he joined WARC in Australia he told everyone that Umineko had a karaoke machine on board and invited everyone to karaoke and “Hiroshima Pizza.”
Thus many a WARC party made fellow mariners wish there were some actual sea cats in heat around to drown out the drunken ARC members serenading the marinas. After all, it is the universal rule that whatever pitch a singer may have at the start of the evening drains away as more pitchers are downed. But drunken karaoke caterwauls were barely the tip of the iceberg.
Teeth were knocked out, trampolines, or netting stretched across the foredeck of most catamarans, were ripped, drunken gymnastics ensued, party-goers accidently fell in marinas… More hilarious anecdotes were forgotten at one WARC party than 100 landlubbers parties could begin to boast. WARC parties were legendary.
They say WARC is a drinking club with a sailing problem for a reason.
Unlike some of the seasoned rum-soaked veterans, (the heiress to a Scotch maker who kept a library of whiskies and scotches on her boat was among this colorful cast of characters) I don’t tend to drink a lot. I never have. A glass or two of wine I nice and when I feel too tipsy I generally head for to bed.
The WARC upped my alcohol consumption. Dramatically. But still, I was quite a tame drunk, boring even. Until South Africa, that is.
Zululand Yacht Club in Richards Bay, South Africa welcomed WARC with open arms. Doing it right they presented every yacht with a bottle of sparkling wine when they arrived… a present for crossing the Indian Ocean.
Two days after Southern Cross and the last boats had docked Zululand combined a traditional Braai, or South African barbecue with the WARC awards ceremony. Almost no one really took the “race” aspect of the WARC seriously, but that’s what each leg technically was a race.
This last lengthy leg of the Indian Ocean had been rough on everyone though, and Rally Control, the WARC staff, gave out all sorts of prize other than for just fastest boats. Everyone was happy to be on land and celebrating together. Alcohol flowed like water, the banquet tables (over-glorified picnic tables) were piled with South African fare. An incredible dance troupe of high school kids. With a now fluid, now jerky style of modern dance that was mesmerizing, the guys in NerdzZ Fam had some of the most impressive dance choreography I had seen in a long time. It was even more impressive when I found out the guys were still in High School.
There was the awards ceremony, traditional Zulu dancers, and the rest of the evening was erased from my memory. Whether that was from alcohol or PTSD, no one can be really sure.
As Zululand promised, they were hosting a traditional braai. Complete with traditional food, dances, and games, or rather game. The “game” in question was called bokdrol spoek, in other words s**t spitting.
Nope, this is not merely a sport to get back at white colonists. This isn’t something to make fun of tourists. Spitting dried kudu droppings is actually a Zulu sport. Kudus are massive antelope, almost twice the size of a deer with satellite-dish ears and the males boast beautiful spiral horns. One buck is enough to feed a whole tribe, unfortunately they are elusive.
The sport developed from tribesman spitting the dried dung to curse the animals. Still, when I heard about a kudu poo spitting contest I was appalled. It sounded absolutely dreadful! And it is. Not a sport for a sober person. But by the end of the night I was pretty far from sober and somehow something you wouldn’t dream of doing sober can sound like a good idea drunk.
According to witnesses it wasn’t quite as dreadful as it might have been. The dried pellets were preceded by a shot of tequila. Then the dung is held between the player’s teeth and spat as far as possible. After spitting, the player is offered another shot of tequila to sterilize their mouth. I suppose with enough alcohol even kudu poo can be hygienic.
I did not win. The up side to this is that I wasn’t the only competitor. The down side of this is that it is possible that there are pictures of me spitting poo somewhere in the world.
How drunk were you?
I was so drunk I was spitting s**t.
Damn. That’s wasted.
We may have a new measure for intoxication here.