1. The regatta is actually a sailboat race and ends up on a rather barren little island called Elliott Key — it’s about 60 miles south of Miami. When the regatta first began, after the race, all the crews and the owners and every[one] would get together and have a party. Well these parties began to get wilder and wilder, and people on the mainland began hearing about these Columbus Day Regatta parties. And so when I got there, there were easily more than 1,000 boats … congregated around Elliott Key. I mean, 1,000 boats is a massive lot of structures in humanity, and they’re waiting for the evening. And the police, until recently, didn’t try to control things, so people would lash together boats, 12 in a row, which created one gigantic deck — you had to go up and down on the deck. And it became wilder and wilder and wilder, until finally they would be showing pornographic films on the sails of schooners, and they would in essence have orgies right there on the decks. I couldn’t believe this …

    I saw it personally. I stayed at this thing for a very long time. It has cooled down a little bit ‘cause there is a police presence now. But nevertheless — oh, for example, I don’t want to go into too graphic detail, the bare breasts began [at] about 5:30, and then we go on from there.

    — Tom Wolfe on the graphic real-life scene on which he bases his portrayal of Miami’s Columbus Day Regatta

  2. Tom Wolfe


    Columbus Day Regatta

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