Colbert’s Report: The 2011 Charleston Bermuda Race

Light winds have plagued this year's event, but at least all humor hasn't been lost.


Joyce Burdick

The 2011 Charleston Bermuda Race is wrapping up. Light winds have wreaked havoc on the fleet of 11 boats—currently five have retired from the race and are motoring toward Bermuda. The others, including Spirit of Juno, a Farr 65 with comedian/sailor Stephen Colbert serving as a crew member, will be trickling in beginning this evening.

Other boats still participating in the 777-mile run include Eagles’ Wings, a Morgan Out Island 41.2; First Light, a Cherubini 44; P_ied’ a Mer_, a Beneteau 411; Solarus, a J/130; and Tucana, a Shipman 63. You can tack the race on the Charleston Bermuda website.

Colbert has sent emails each day to the race committee—here are excerpts from two of them (he definitely kept his sense of humor during the race):


Colbert on Sunday May 22nd:

“Dear land-based life forms,” he wrote. “Fantastic day. We started with windless bobbing from 4:00 a.m. until 8:00 a.m. We punctuated this inertia by catching, on a hand line, two mahi-mahi, a very beautiful fish-fish! They both were laid to rest in a small Tupperware coffin surrounded by lime juice and chopped onions.
“Spent the afternoon dodging wind holes and watching dolphins play in our bow wake. We’ve also been introducing our English crew to the joys of grits. They are dubious, but too polite to admit they tossed it overboard.
“We are on four hour watches and lucky to get three hours’ sleep at a time. Those of you familiar with totalitarian regimes will remember that sleep deprivation is one way that dictators break their enemies.
“We are in good position thanks to our skipper, Tim Scarisbrick, first mate Bertie Whitley and second mate Chris Miller.
“We all smell wonderful. See you in Bermuda!”
Colbert sent the following Wednesday May 25th:

“180 miles off Bermuda. First of all, would someone please call the Hamilton Fairmont and cancel Stephen’s massage for tomorrow morning? Thanks a bunch.
“In the last 48 hours, we´ve seen sperm whales breaching, a family of dolphins playing in our bow wake, devil rays, and man o’war. Now we are alone. A speck of white moving over and under fields of endless blue. Winds are light and variable. We have put up our Audi spinnaker (which is roughly the size of Denmark), and we crawl toward glory at the blistering pace of four knots. And by blistering, we mean what’s happening to our skin in the merciless rays of the sun.
“In these conditions, it is more important than ever to keep up your fluid intake, or else suffer the serious effects of dehydration: fatigue, dizziness, and hallucinations. Thankfully, so far…Spiders! Spiders everywhere! They’re coming out of the sails! Kill them with fire!
The Spirit of Juno
p.s. Did that Rapture thing happen last Saturday? You know what, don’t tell us. We’ve got it TiVOed.