Through Manta Rays And Men-Of-War: TV's Stephen Colbert Goes To Sea In Charleston-Bermuda Race

Stephen Colbert, winner of Best Comedy Album, salutes the crowd at the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards at Staples Center in LA on January 31, 2010 Stephen Colbert, winner of Best Comedy Album, salutes the crowd at the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards at Staples Center in LA on January 31, 2010

TV’s Stephen Colbert is prepared to battle manta rays and men-of-war at sea in the OnDeck Charleston to Bermuda yachting race.

The comedian captains the Spirit of Juno, one of 11 boats leaving from Charleston on Saturday for the 777 mile race.

Colbert crewed on a boat during the race six years ago before “The Colbert Report” went on the air. That boat had mechanical problems and arrived two days after the awards ceremony.

“The most pleasant disaster I have ever been a part of,” Colbert remembered Friday. “Last time, I was chaplain and the cook and the morale officer and those all came together at grace. This time I hope I still get to cook. I’m the pharmacist. I’ve brought the anti-nausea medication.”

Colbert did some sailing growing up in Charleston.

“But I don’t have an ear drum in one ear so I’m not waterproof. As a kidI couldn’t do much vigorous sailing for fear we would capsize and I would just basically go down like the Titanic,” he said.

This time his boat has a crew of 12 allowing a chance for more sleep.

“Last time we didn’t get more than three hours at a pop for seven days, which, as you may know, is how totalitarian regimes break their enemies,” he added.

At race’s end, he promises to gloat on his show. “If I win, you bet I will. I’ll be bringing that trophy back and be drinking out of it,” he said.

The comedian sees the ocean as Earth’s last untamed place.

“You never know what you’re going to see. You wake up one morning and you’re in a field of Portuguese man of war or you’re being circled by manta ray or you’re in a storm,” he said.

Will the experience make Colbert more humble?

“Me, yes. My character no. He’ll use it to pump himself up. He’ll just brag,” he promised.

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