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Press ReleaseResults 2010


ORGANISERS of the 13th World Walking the Plank championships have sent out an emergency appeal for more “plankers.”
Captain Cutlass, leader of the Sheppey Pirates, admitted: “Seafarers are a superstitious bunch. The fact that it is the 13th year of the championships must have put the willies up the plankers.”
So far only six have signed up for the contest on Sunday, August 15, at Queenborough Harbour on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent. Last year it attracted a record entry of 34.
Cutlass, who forces scurvy dogs off the plank of the pirates’ ship the Salty Sea Pig, added: “Sailors are notoriously cautious. They won’t kill an albatross or cut their hair or nails on a voyage. But 13 need not be unlucky. There were, after all, 13 men on a dead man’s chest!”
One “planker” who has already signed up is reigning champion Mad Mike Young, 58, a chemical analyst who clinched the title for the third time last year with 102 points out of a possible 120. He set his top hat on fire then plunged into the sea on his “pogo of death.”
Marvin Blackstock, 36, flew into second place as Biggles, throwing himself off in a model plane. Lorry driver “Long John” Lenton, 38, a former champion “planker” who skipped the previous year’s contest to marry fiancé Stephanie James, finished third dressed as St George. Before he jumped an “old dragon” breathed fire over him and set light to his sword.
Judges mark “plankers” out of 10 in four categories: use or piratical language; execution of jump including height of after-splash; originality of costume and what the pirates call the Argh-Factor.
Mad Mike won a shield, £100 cash and a crate of Shepherd Neame Spitfire ale. All contestants are given a bottle of beer and a certificate welcoming them to the Grand Order of Plankers as they emerge from the water. The championships are free to watch but £5 to jump.
Money goes to the RNLI. The contest is organised by the Sheppey Pirates and sponsored by Shepherd Name and Minster-on-Sea Rotary Club.
This year will feature a performance by the Booty Beatz dancers just before the presentation to the winner. Additional parking is being provided by Aesica, formerly Abbot Laboratories.
To enter, call Scurvy Dog the Sea Scribe on the plank phone 07831 486436. For more details visit www.captaincutlas.com.

Unlucky 13 - Sailors’ Superstitions and Marine Myths
1. It is unlucky to start a voyage on a Friday because that was the day Christ was crucified.
2. Avoid people with red hair when starting a voyage. Redheads bring bad luck to a ship. To avoid this, speak to the redhead before he and she speaks to you.
3. A stolen piece of wood mortised into the keel will make a ship sail faster and a silver coin placed beneath the masthead ensures a successful voyage.
4. Disaster will follow if you step onto a boat with your left foot first.
5. Throwing stones into the sea or whistling (eg “whistling up a storm”) will cause great waves.
6. Women on board make the sea angry. But a naked woman will calm the water, hence naked figureheads.
9. Never look back once your ship has left port.
10. Black cats are lucky and will bring a sailor home from the sea. But it is unlucky to kill an albatross or a gull (both are said to contain the souls of lost sailors).
11. Cutting your hair or nails at sea is bad luck. It was seen as an offering to Prosperine, the Roman Goddess of the infernal regions, which would make King Neptune angry.
12. Tattoos and piercings ward off evil spirits, as does spitting in the ocean before setting sail.
13. 17th century sailors would knock on the wood hull of their ships to listen for woodworm or rot. Hearing a solid sound would imply that the hull was in "ship shape," hence the expression “touch wood.”