Iron Chef Party
For anyone who hasn’t seen this campy cooking competition show, judges are asked to taste and rate the food to find a winner. You can do something similar on a boat by having guests bring their best pre-prepared dishes in a paper bag to conceal the chef’s identity. Guests can then sample and rate each one in a secret ballot to be tallied by the host. Awarding nice prizes should have your guests doing some culinary overachieving.
Give each guest enough time to secure and learn a magic trick to be demonstrated on board. If your area doesn’t have a magic shop, you can visit the library and find a book on magic, or order a trick online from places like www.madhattermagicshop.com. You can only imagine the fun as guests dazzle, confound, and more likely, botch the trick. If your budget allows, hire a professional.
Texas Holdem Party
Texas Holdem is the poker game that is on roughly every other TV channel these days. It’s a game that takes only minutes to learn (and a lifetime to master) and can be played with almost any number of players. Unless you go three miles offshore, anything more than really small stakes is illegal almost everywhere, so an alternative is to give everyone an amount of chips that will last the night and give prizes to the ones with the most chips at the end. Obviously, you’ll do better if you anchor in the lee somewhere without much wind, unless you don’t mind playing with 41 cards.
Fifty million Japanese folks can’t be wrong; karaoke is lots of fun. Thanks to the inexpensive electronics available now, you can get this one off the ground pretty cheap. You can go one of two ways: either get a battery-powered kid’s karaoke machine, or use your boat’s stereo in conjunction with an inexpensive battery-powered guitar amp (like a Danelectro Honeytone) and a cheap pawnshop microphone. Total cost: $50. The fun of hearing your best friend sing a horribly off-key version of "I’m Too Sexy" … priceless.
What goes better with boating than a little harmless pillaging, looting and general mayhem? Face it, pirates do have more fun, so dress the part with a plastic parrot on your shoulder, an eye patch (not the driver of the boat though), and sword. Throw in some authentic pirate gibberish, like the ever-popular, "Avast ye maties" or "blow me down," and tell pirate jokes: "Have ye heard about the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie? It’s rated AARRRRRRRRRGH." If anyone pulls a "Seinfeld" and whines, "I don’t want to be a pirate!" keelhaul them.
Face it, men need an opportunity to wear that ugly Hawaiian party shirt of theirs to a place where it’s actually appropriate, and the ladies get to act on their burning desire to wear a skirt that a cow would graze on.
Gilligan’s Island Party
Everyone dresses up as their favorite lost character and goes on a three-hour tour. If possible, actually spending time on an island would make the experience more authentic. Have guests use coconut halves for glasses. Hold a "Gilligan’s Island" trivia contest with questions gleaned from the hundred or so websites that exist on the subject.
Murder On The High Seas
This murder mystery game is set on a cruise ship. Over cocktails, everyone tells their story and then tries to solve the murder of the captain, who is found floating in the pool. There are 10 active players, although more people can participate by trying to solve the crime.
By Alan Jones, Boating World Magazine