Poor Portland

Rip City gets a record of its own, only to be swiftly dethroned.

Seattle's Seafair Pirates have been scaring the bejesus out of children for 59 years, and spawning a legion of eye-patched and besworded followers, grog in hand. But Portland, which always must go Seattle one better (see: light rail, urban density, gay mayor), has already topped Seattle in the field of pirate costuming.Last year, Pirate Festival organizers convinced 1,670 Portlanders to dress up in bandannas or three-pointed hats and don the required black patches, then meet in one place—Cathedral Park—to establish the Guinness World Record for Most People Dressed Like Pirates. While this falls under the category of Wacky World Records, along with Hairiest People (Victor and Gabriel Ramos Gomez, with 98 percent of their bodies covered), Longest Maggot Bath (Christine Martin, 30 minutes), and Most Watches Eaten (Kim Seung Do, five in 1 hour, 34 minutes, according to the last one he ate), Portland bragged it up anyway. And after the record was confirmed by Guinness, a proclamation on the festival website (portlandpiratefestival.com) stated "It is Official!!!!"But it looks like Portland's pirates will soon be returning to the sea. Last month, 1,722 men, women, and children slipped on their eye patches and fake wooden legs, reports the London Telegraph, and gathered in the little British port town of Brixham to snap Portland's record. Guinness is currently in the process of verifying the effort, as it did in Portland, through pictures and video. The record-checkers must agree that each pirate was holding a (play or real) sword, wore at least an eye patch and bandanna, and signed an official book of participants.The Portland pirates intend to re-break the record in September, assuming, says festival spokesperson Kate Larsen, that Brixham's attempt is certified by Guinness. "We sent them so much amazing evidence," says Larsen, "that I'm sure Brixham has to live up to a higher standard this time around." Larsen, who signs her e-mails "Yars truly," is one of 24 pirate captains from around the U.S. chosen by Pirate Magazine—yes, there is one—and a member of the piratehood's elite Dirty Dozen. She takes the Portland/Brixham rivalry semi-seriously: "It's war!!!" she says.In May 2009, Brixham had earlier set the record at 1,469 pirates, only to be topped by Portland last September. Karen Barnes, a spokesperson for the Brixham pirates, told the Telegraph she was "thrilled" the town had retaken the crown for stuffy ol' England. The turnout was about 10 percent of Brixham's population. To achieve that level of per-capita penetration, Portland will have to draw more than 50,000 pirate cross-dressers to its Sept. 19 event, although all it needs to reclaim the Guinness booty is 1,723. Surely Seattle could top that if it wanted to. With several generations of pirates, there must be thousands of old swords and patches lying in Ballard attics alone. But let's throw down the stein to Portlanders: Break, if you dare, Seattle's own unique Guinness record: Most Beer Guzzled at Sea, single event. First, you'll need a hydroplane race.

 
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