*Photo by Gary Foster Skelton
*Photo by Gary Foster Skelton

*Photos by Nicola Muirhead and Gary Foster Skelton

A not-so-angry mob gathered at the edge of Hamilton Harbour on Sunday to witness several ‘hostages’ being thrown to the fish as they were ‘ransomed’ in aid of the Bermuda Sloop Foundation.


The hostages, a collection of local figures, were taken aboard the Spirit of Bermuda tall ship and marched to the end of a plank by a crew of ‘pirates’, at which point it was revealed whether the majority of each hostage’s funds were raised by donors in favour of them remaining dry, or of them getting wet.

I’m sure you can imagine what happened to the majority of the ill-fated fundraisers.

The event has become an entertaining annual spectacle. However, the biggest crowd reaction by far came when Town Crier Ed Christopher dragged Anglican Bishop of Bermuda Nick Dill through the spectators. Mr Christopher was on form as he proclaimed the minister’s impending judgment while the Bishop himself pleaded  his innocence. The fact that they were both by far the most lavishly dressed individuals of the whole event (including the Bishop’s mitre adorned with the words ‘Have Mercy’) added to the comedy.

As the Bishop walked to the edge of the plank he called on the crowd to ‘repent’ of their decision to dunk him, before stripping down to a black two-piece swimsuit embellished with a white cross and diving into the deep with the words “Father, forgive them – they know not what they do”!

If there was anything one could say about this occasion it would be that it has not yet lived up to its potential. While some of the hostages did embrace the fun atmosphere by feigning terror and wearing rubber rings, Only Ed Christopher and Bishop Nick truly seized the over-the-top theatricality an event such as this is crying out for. The crowd lapped it up and it would be well worth the effort to bring more of the same to next year’s fundraiser.

Money raised at the event will go towards the programmes of the Bermuda Sloop Foundation, which makes use of the Spirit of Bermuda tallship to provide experience and character development for young people through their maritime curriculum. To find out more, go to www.bermudasloop.org