Men, booze, and a smoker………that’s how it always starts. Pulled pork, sailboat racing, and stories is usually how it ends.
Last year was a pretty epic Pig Regatta for Team Anonymous, We won the race and walked away with one of the more meaningful Pig flags flags to be awarded. It just so happened that last year the Pig Regatta fell on Veterans Day. The winning flag was designed in an awesome camouflage format to honor our veterans. Needless to say, I will be proud when we are flying that flag from the back of boat this year! We are the boat to chase, and we are going to look bad-ass doing it.
Now don’t take this as some braggadocios rant, Team Anonymous has been working for years on getting a first place Pig Regatta Flag. Last year we finally got one in fine style and I am merely expressing my pride. At Privateer Yacht Club, The Pig Regatta is the end of the racing year celebration of sorts, and people come out of the woodwork to get in on the action. A win is not easy and you only get one race that is two hours long to make it happen.
Lets backup a second though, because as my wife always tells me, “It’s not all about sailboat racing.” The festivities always begin on Thursday night with the ceremonious “butt rubbing” where as it sounds, a bunch of men get together, rub a whole lot of butts, and figure out every way they can to
make a nasty joke out of the job at hand. While this may sound like a rather crude activity, don’t let your imagination give you a foiled image. We are a well oiled machine of years of experience in our midst taking on pound for pound enough food to feed a sizable portion of our comrades. Oh, and it only takes us an hour or two to rub down that many butts with the finest seasoning that David Varnell specially develops every year.
Friday was once for me just another work day where I might cut out an hour early and get to the club just in time to help get the smoker going. Those days are over! I have started a tradition of taking the day off so that I have time to get the boat cleaned up, help get any last minute chores taken care of around the club, and generally get my mind right for night and weekend ahead. This year I will also be picking up the keg beer as well! This is one task I feel that I am most qualified for out of them all. Once the evening rolls around, we get the smoker going along with some of David’s finest bluegrass music. Much adult beverage is consumed during this time, and Jan’s famous chili is served for everyone to enjoy. The butts are rotated on a schedule maintained by an egg timer and Josh…..sometimes helpful words of wisdom are needed by the twenty or so guys standing around watching Josh. Extra opinions and snarky comments are always welcome. Somewhere along the way David breaks out the basting mop along with the five gallon bucket of “sauce”. This is when all hands are needed; one man on each door and good communication with Josh who is rotating but can not see how far to go. The basting is just a warm up for the “wrapping” of the butts. Same process except someone removes a rack of the butts, several people wrap them in foil and they are put back in. At that point, everything is choked back and the butts are good for the night.
The next morning it is bright and shiny! Usually at 8 or 9 the true Pig Regatta aficionados reconvene to pull the pork. Most folks equate bacon with your early morning swine cut of choice; However, it has become clear that on this morning every year pulled pork goes down nicely first thing in the morning. There is much “testing” during this time to make sure the previous nights efforts weren’t in vain. Occasionally one among us has made themselves sick from that much pulled pork in one sitting.
The regatta itself has a long rich history filled with ‘Grand Prix” starts and pig heads ending up in weird places. That’s what all the older folks say anyway. These days the race is a PHRF time on time pursuit race that lasts for two hours. Part of the reason this regatta is so well attended is due to the pursuit format where the start is not as stressful making it more appealing to the folks that may not race very often. In any event, the finishes are always rather fun because they can end up being very close. It’s the only race that is time on time which makes it extra special and something different to experience.
Following the race, there is always the traditional hot buttered rum and a warm fireplace to warm up. Dinner is served and much discussion is had not only regarding the racing of the day, but the season in general. Hell, there may be a good football game on the television to watch into the night.
This year Team Anonymous has much to be proud of and most of all we will be defending our win from last year. As I mentioned earlier, this is no small task and many elements are left out of our hands. With a little luck and our team on their game like they have been all year, I think we can go back to back. However we wind up, I can guarantee you a good time will be had by all.