Pirates try for Guinness record

Published 8:05 pm Tuesday, April 9, 2013

NEWS_GUINESS BOOK OF WORLD RECORDS_130409_WEBFrom the world’s longest fingernails to the number of years a man suffered from hiccups, the Guinness Book of World Records documents the tallest, smallest, longest, shortest of all things.

Saturday, a group of East Carolina University alumni will attempt to join the Guinness ranks by amassing the world’s largest gathering of pirates in the world at Blackbeard’s Challenge, held in conjunction with ECU’s Piratefest at the Greenville Toyota Amphitheater located at the Town Common in downtown Greenville.

Hastings, England, holds the current record. On May 21, 2012, 14,231 costumed pirates gathered there to break the previous record held by Penzance, in Cornwall, U.K. The last American city to hold the record was Portland, Ore., in 2007.

Participants can’t just show up and claim to be a pirate — there are rules involved, the most important of which is dressing as a pirate. All costumes must clearly resemble a pirate and consist of a pirate-style hat or bandana/kerchief; an accessory of a sword, hook, musket, skull and crossbones flag, parrot or eye patch; and appropriate shirt and pants — ladies are asked not to “wench it up” with dresses but to wear pants, as well.

According to Whitey Martin, one of the organizers, the gated area where pirates will be counted opens at 9 a.m. Gates will close and the official pirate count begins at 11 a.m. All pirates must maintain their position for the 10-minute count, he said.

While the event may be taking place in Greenville, there are plenty of pirates in Washington who may want to help land the world record, according to Martin.

“It’s simple — how would you like to have a Guinness book of world records certificate hanging in you house? I think you’ll have a good time; everyone had a blast last time. There’s going to be some very unique costumes. … But the main reason (to go) is that Europe has owned (the record) for decades.”

This is Martin’s second attempt since 2009 to break the standing pirate record. His first was at an ECU vs. Navy baseball game in 2010, when the record stood at only 2,500. Breaking the record this time around might be a bit more of a challenge.

“The school’s behind it, all the students have been sending emails. I feel like this is the best chance we’ve had,” Martin said. “But 14,000 is going to be tough to break.”

For more information got to facebook.com/pages/Breaking-the-Guinness-World-Record-of-Costumed-Pirates-at-ECU/1262292340911.