PESKY pirates from Penzance have plundered Hastings crown as the swashbuckling capital of the world.
The Cornwall town managed to pack in 8,734 people dressed as pirates on its prom to smash the previous world record of 6,166 set here in 1066 Country last year.
However, far from being down in the dumps about the outcome of last Sunday’s attempt, the man behind the now second highest ever number of pirates in one place, Roger Crouch, was full of praise for his Cornwallian cousins.
Speaking to the Observer he said: “I could not be happier for them. I know the hard work that goes into organising an attempt and the great community spirit it generates.
“The record is fully deserved they deserve our congratulations.”
The man nicknamed ‘Jolly Roger’ thinks that far from being a dent in Hastings’s reputation it can actually spur the town on to greater things.
“The good thing about Penzance taking the title,” he said, “is that we can now work towards winning it back. It gives us something to aim for.”
And he believes a slight change in approach will see Hastings easily wrestle back the title in 2012.
He said: “Penzance held its attempt on a Sunday - our’s was on a Friday when lots of people were at work and could not make it.
“We will learn from our attempt and Penzance’s and come out next year, make a whole weekend of it, and get our title back.”
A galleon’s worth of pirates headed down to the south west to take part in the record bid and, according to Captain Crouch, they were treated like Black Beard himself.
“That is another positive to come out of all this - the two towns have become linked through the pirate attempts and that is great.
“We had people go down to join in their’s and they have already said they will send pirates up when we try and break it next year.
“Pirate Day and our record have helped put Hastings on the map for something positive - which is great.” This year’s event, which takes place on Friday, August 5, is being billed as a celebration of the near 12-months the town held the title - with the next tilt at the record pencilled in for next year.
Organisers are hoping to create a giant skull and cross bones out of locals which can be seen from the skies and there will also be the usual pirate-themed fun and games across the town.
However, Jolly Roger warned that while the new-found rivalry between Hastings and Penzance will remain friendly, the town was not ready to hang up its pirate crown without a fight.
He said: “We will once again have a huge procession through the town with drums and pyrotechnics but at the front we will have a big banner saying ‘Congratulations Penzance - but the record is ours next year’.
“It will be a warning shot across their bows - Hastings wants its title back.”