Thursday, March 29, 2007

Celebrity Yacht Race - Von Teese goes South

The Chilli Peppers on "Red Hot" are threading their way between the islands of the Bahamas, victory in their sight. Behind the rest the yachts in the Celebrity Monaco to Miami fleet are in hot pursuit, hoping against hope that the leaders will slip up.

All the fleet, that is, but one. For Marilyn Manson's "Dita Von Teese" is heading at right angles to the way home, heading almost due South.

Our own guest writer, Buff Staysail, got the scoop again - take it away BS:

Howdy folks! Its Buff Staysail here, Buff by name and Buff by nature!

The race organisers have been scatching their heads and consulting the head shrinkers as to what on Marilyn Manson can be up to this time. After - allegedly - having a helping hand in the mystery of James Blunt's loss overboard, he has recently changed course and is now heading not for land but towards the deep oceans.

To try and get some answers I picked up the trusty sat phone and dialed the number that many have fan have asked a pretty penny to get. It was a pretty far out experience again, so rather than putting any of ol' BS's spin on it, lets hear the man raw.

MM: mrrr yerrrs?

BS: Hi, Marilyn, its Buff Staysail here again. How are you?

MM: mrr.....rrmmm.....f***ing fine...... t***er on phone

BS: Er, yes, well wanted to ask whats wrong and why you're heading south?

(long pause)

BS: Hello, you there? Mr Manson?

MM: mrrrr... aaarrr.....fine....mraramgrr... peaceful out here..... mmmrr keeping going......


BS: Does-

MM: arrhmm.....r..... Ipanema girls......rrmmm

BS: So are you heading for Brasil then?

(sounds of heavy breathing)

BS: Is there anything you need?

(line goes dead)

So there you have it folks! Shades of Bernard Motessier, as Marilyn Manson gets the sea bug and rather than coming in is heading back out.

Though of course Motessier kept going for his love of the sea, while Manson is off to see the girls of Brazil!

This is Buff Staysail, saying "Boa noite"

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Celebrity Yacht Race - Approaching the Bahamas

The remaining boats of the Monaco to Miami Celebrity Yacht race are closing in on the Bahamas with the Chilli Pepper's "Red Hot" firmly in the lead. Their positions can be seen in the exclusive race viewer, above.

The news that Britney and Paris's entry "No Knickers" had outside help (a fully professional paid crew) has come in front of the international jury that was unanimous in deciding they should be disqualified.

The reaction on the boat has been mixed. Britney, started drinking, went on the wagon, came off the wagon, went into therapy, came out of therapy, started drinking again, lost her underwear, stopped drinking, went into rehab, came out of rehab, started drinking, lost the rest of her clothes, and was last seen locked in the heads.

Meanwhile Paris simply shrugged her shoulders and turned over on the aft sun bed. She was no doubt compensated by the news that by giving her name to a new range of Sunseakers, the Paris Party Power range, she has made another cool $5m without lifting a finger. And this is after spending the entire crossing doing little more than getting the perfect all over tan.

The same jury also delivered its verdict on the crew swapping exercise of Madonna / Kylie / Robbie / Jay Kay / Liam / Noel and it was a firm thumbs down. We can but wait and see how those boats react.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Celebrity Yacht Race - Podium Positions

As the fleet of the Celebrity Monaco to Miami fleet close in on their goal its possible to start speculating about podium positions. As can be seen seen from the chart above the leaders are fast approaching the Bahamas.

To increase interest in the race, the route specifies that the boats must sail between the islands of the Bahamas, which should lead to some interesting navigating.

In the lead is currently "Red Hot" from two of the Chilli Peppers. Close behind is "Old Farts" sailed by Mick Jagger and Rod Stewart, while the surprising third place goes to "No Knickers" sailed by Britney and Paris. Many didn't think the latter would get to the start line let alone cross the Atlantic.

But what is this! A news flash from our special correspondent Buff Staysail! Let's hear what ol' BS has to say.....

Howdy folks! Its Buff Staysail here, Buff by name and Buff by nature!!

Yes, there is yet another scandal from those wacky celebrities racing their Open 60s across the wide oceans.

In the daily update from Britney she dropped the bomb shell that she had just got married yet again! But how could this be if she was alone apart from Ms Hilton for company (a circumstance I for one wouldn't say no too)?

The race committee quickly sent out a spotter plane that noticed their boat was being accompanied by a support 60 foot gin palace of a Sunseeker.

Seems like Paris and Britney were staying day to day on the Sunseeker, only going over to the Open for the odd 5 minute shooting. During the stay Britney and one of the crew got close and were married by the skipper only a few days ago!

Now she wants a divorce and the lawyers are looking into the possibilities under maritime law.

Of course this means automatic disqualification - not the first but will it be the last?

I hope you show this photo I got of the loving pair, JP [Ed: no chance, not family viewing by any means]

This is Buff Staysail, signing off.

Weather forecast from Stormsurf

Friday, March 23, 2007

Celebrity Yacht Race - The Home Straight

Its the final days of the first Celebrity Monaco to Miami Yacht race and the thirsty crew must be imaging the beers lined up on the beach front bars. As they drink those first cold ones the victors will be boasting of their triumphs and while the losers will be drowning their sorrows.

For today some chickens have come to roost and some risky plays have come up trumps. The boats to the north have well and truly broken free from those to the south.

The two charts below show the positions of the boats overlaid on top of the wind strength and direction from stormsurf.

March 22nd:
March 23rd:
It is time to get the champagne on ice, for soon we will crown the winners.

Surely there can be no more surprises to come.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Celebrity Yacht Race - the day after the day before

The shock waves from yesterday's interview by our own sailing correspondent Buff Staysail are still rippling around the Atlantic.

The suggestion from ol' BS that James Blunt falling overboard might not have been an accident has raised questions and generated responses.

Mostly, it must be admitted, the response has been positive. The Gallagher brothers set the tone with their simple message to surviving, if suspect, crewman Marilyn Manson, was "Good one, mate!"

Across Britain church bells were rung to celebrate the removal of the 4th most irritating thing in the UK.

The race organisers have expressed concern about legal implications but apparently the yacht, named after Ms Von Teese (who's photo gratuitously graced yesterday's post) was registered in Sealand, who's owners response was that they were opening a bottle of champagne.

Meanwhile the racing continues, as can be seen from the chart of latest positions, below.
It's been an interesting tactical battle to watch. For about 10 days the advantage swung from the north to south side of the course, with neither able to gain a decisive edge.

Then in the last few days there's been signs of a break-out by those to the far north. A ridge of high pressure is blocking the fleets way and its causing nothing but problems for those trying to battle their way through.

Two boats are to its north and have picked up the next weather system that should accelerate them towards Miami and the finish. Another boat to the far south is still in the trades, and plodding steadily along, though slowing.

But in the middle boat speeds are stuck under 5 knots and frustration is growing.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Celebrity Yacht Race - Buff Scoops Blunt Mystery!

Yes, Buff has done it again. While the official Celebrity Yacht Race web site is keeping to the official line of no comment, he simply picked up the phone and rang the man at the centre of the controversy Marilyn Manson, sailing on the yacht named after his ex-wife Ms Von Teese (gratuitous photo of whom can be found above).

So let's hear some more classic BS:

Howdy folks, its Buff Staysail here! Buff by name and, yes, you guessed it, Buff by nature!

Its been a tough 24 hours for yours truly even if Miami has been warm and welcoming after a long transatlantic flight. And its out there in the Atlantic that all eyes have been focused.

Ever since Manson dropped his bomb-shell that he was now sailing solo questions have been raised about the where abouts of his crew mate James Blunt.

I'm a big fan of Blunts work as you well know JP and many the time I have sung that classic song "You're Beautiful" in the bath and down the phone to my old ma in her Brisbane nursing home. So I was quick off the mark to ring Manson and find out where my hero was.

It wasn't an easy interview. The gaps in the transcript below aren't because of fading on the shore-ship link, which was a crystal clear satellite phone, that just how Marilyn spoke.

BS: Hi, Is that Marilyn Manson?

MM: mmm wwar summ at?

BS: Hello, this is Buff Staysail, I'm a reporter

MM: yump mmt - what ...rrmmmr... want?

BS: I was wondering if you could tell me about what happened to James Blunt?

MM: F***ing c*** rrmmwa.... sang that f***ing ..rrmma.... song!

BS: er?

MM: mmr mfff mmyu ... sitting ... rrhh ... back boat... rrmmm. F*** sun...rrmmm.... setting. Rmmmr f****er started singing f**** beautiful. Mrrrr no way.... rmmrr big push... rmmww... splash.... f****ing c*** gone... mmmrrr

BS: Are you saying you pushed James Blunt overboard?

MM: rrmmm.... f.....

(big pause)

BS: So how do you feel, Marilyn?

MM: rrmma.... great.... rmmm remember... wife...rmmmww great times....mmara.... illegal sex ..... rmmw peaceful....

(another big pause)

BS: So any m-

(at this point the line went dead)

Well, that doesn't look good for all Blunt fans out there.

This is BS, signing off.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Celebrity Yacht Race - MOB Mystery: where is James Blunt?

News Flash!!

An update on the breaking story regarding a possible man over-board incident in the first Celebrity Monaco to Miami Yacht race. Apparently race organisers are very concerned about the current where abouts of James Blunt.

There were of course many an eyebrow raised when James Blunt signed up to sail along side rock star legend Marilyn Manson on the boat named after his ex-wife, Dita Von Teese (above).

The inside scoop from our Buff Staysail was that Blunt misheard the invite as would you like to sail "with" Dita Von Teese, rather than "on" and only found out when it was too late to back out.

According to race organisers a side comment from Manson suggested that Blunt wasn't currently on the boat.

More as we get it.

Celebrity Yacht Race - MOB Mystery

There's a mystery tonight on the first Celebrity Monaco to Miami Yacht race.

As the boats pass the half way mark across the Atlantic, there's rumour going round that there's been a man over-board incident. But as can be seen by the chart below, none of the boats have changed course or stopped or raised an alert.

More when we get it......

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Celebrity Yacht Race - Update

No BS update today. The Buff-meister is on-route to the US to cover the finish of the first Celebrity Monaco to Miami Yacht race.

But it's worth catching up on how the yachts are doing and their current positions can be seen with the chart above.

It's been a frustrating couple of days out in mid-Atlantic as a weather system has rolled over the top of the fleet with winds dying out and coming from literally all points on the compass. They all will be hoping they are through the worst and can start the sprint to the line.

Celebrity Yacht Race - Competition Results

There were no winners for the Celebrity Yacht Race competition, so Buff's t-shirt is safe!

The right answer is as follows:

- the winner of the last America's Cup and current defender is Alinghi

- Alinghi's founder (and frequent helm) is the Swiss billionaire Ernestor Bertarelli

- Bertarelli's wife is ex Miss UK Kirsty Roper

- As well as modelling, Ms Roper also considered a career in music

- The song "Black Coffee" was originally written for her

- It was later re-written and released by the All Saints

- It is said Ms Roper had a hand in developing the song and it relates to Bertarelli.

So now you know!

Picture from Alinghi site

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Celebrity Yacht Race - Competition Update!

There's been a rush of entries for the chance to win the "I'm in the Buff" t-shirt!

Almost all of them have come from the Buff-meister himself. He seems to have spotted that the description of the garment in question is identical to the one he apparently got made up for himself in Tenerife.

Now would I really try to give away ol' BS's t-shirt?

There's been a couple of impressive entries from Tillerman. Impressive but alas not right. There was, for example, no mention of Miss UK!

There's still time to submit your entries, so with this fresh clue give it your best!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Celebrity Yacht Race - Competition Time!!

Now the fleet are over half way there it's time for a competition!

The prize (*) - one t-shirt with "I'm in the Buff!" on one side and "Total BS" on the other.

These are rare (**) and possibly valuable (***) so enter now for a chance to win!!!

Just answer this question: "What is the connection between the All Saints and the American's Cup?"

(*) There are some rules but we're not telling you what they are
(**) To be honest I've never seen one
(***) Or possibly not .Who can say?

Celebrity Yacht Race - Boat Swap Scandal

Sensation Mid-Atlantic! Lets hand over for a BS update on the latest on the Celebrity Monaco to Miami yacht race:

Howdy folks, Buff Staysail here, Buff by name and not in the buff, honest [Ed: thats better]

The crew of "Re-invention", Madonna and Kylie have successfully rendezvoused with the troubled "Definitely Will Be", packed to the gills by an overload of crew and testosterone.

With both of the Gallagher brothers, Jay Kay and Robbie packed in the confined space of an Open 60 something was bound to give, though no one would have placed bets on it being Noel's nose (or at least not your truly - looks like thats another hundred bucks Buff's never going to see again).

At the request of the organising committee it was arranged they would transfer to the girls boat. But it was not to be.

In an unexpected development it wasn't a one way transfer, and when the two boats went their separate ways each had three occupants.

Seemed like Madonna accepted an invite from Noel and Liam to join them, leaving Kylie with her two men sailing off into the sunset.

Now there are many of those that say good on ya pint-sized! After the cancer scare and the men trouble thats just what the love doctor ordered.

But the race committee is checking the rules and it looks bad news for both boats. You've got to end the race with the same crew with no outside assistance.

It also look like there's more trouble looming for the brothers on "Definitely Will Be". The news that they are being joined by Madonna is not going down well with their other halves, currently sailing nearby on the All Saints sponsored "Sinners and Sailors".

Looks like there could be yet another rendezvous and crew swap coming.

Watch this space!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Celebrity Yacht Race - Four is Two Too Many

There's drama on "Definitely Will Be". The entry by the Gallagher brothers in the Celebrity Yacht Race, from Monaco to Miami, is paying for its noble rescue of Jay Kay and Robbie as their boat sank after a storm in the Med.

Full story from our resident expert, Buff Staysail. Time to get a BS update:

Howdy Folks! Buff Staysail here, in Tenerife and in the buff! [Ed: too much info BS!]

Yes, it's no secret the crews of Definitely Will Be and Wild Boys had bad blood before they were forced into each others company in the confined space of an Open 60.

Who can forget the incident at the crew party? Now its not unknown for the on water rivalry of competitive world of yacht racing to spill over into personal vendetta's - look at the classic antagony between Mike Golding and Alex Thomson in the Velux 5 Oceans. But for them the experience of a sinking and dismasting has brought them together. It was not so for our hot-house of celebrities.

After Jay Kay and Robbie were rescued by Liam and Noel the pressure has been rising steadily. The Manchester boys were keen to keep on racing, and the rules are clear - the visitors from "Wild Boys" can't be involved in running the boat.

So they have had a chance to catch up on their sleep, do some sunbathing, and even a little fishing.

None of these have gone down well with the working crew, having to get up on watch in the middle of the night, struggling with sails, and not least of all, getting hungry as the food supplies had to be rationed.

Hence the fishing. And its meant to be good fishing waters: JP told me all sort of tall stories from the Arc and how they caught any number of doradas [Ed - all true!], and jolly good fresh from the sea.

Robbie really got into the fishing thing - said he found it relaxing to sit at the stern of the yacht, watching the line disappear into the rolling waves that relentlessly follow a boat crossing the Atlantic from the Canary Islands.

But he had real trouble landing them. The Gallaghers sneered that was 'cos he was a wimp, but in his defense its really hard to reel in when a boat is fully powered up. So Jay Kay argued that they should slow the boat down, which meant taking down the spinnaker.

Now of course that didn't go down well with the racing brothers. Words were exchanged and voices became raised.

Its hard to get a true account of what happened next, but the following is undeniable. Noel picked up a winch handle - weapon of choice on offshore races - and waved it at Robbie. He says it was only a warning, but Robbie says it only missed him by millimetres, so he jumped back and climbed over the cockpit to get to the foredeck and safety.

However Noel followed, waving the winch handle at him, only to trip over the downhawl, which crashed him down nose first, which was broken with blood all over the deck.

Meanwhile Liam and Jay Kay exchanged a couple of blows with no clear winner though Liam almost fell overboard and Jay Kay was almost banged his head on the boom!

Clearly this is a situation that is too explosive to survive the thousands of miles remaining to Miami.

The race organisers have stepped in and asked for volunteers to take the crew of "Wild Boys" and I'm glad to report that the ladies of "Re-invention", Madonna and Kylie, have spoken up, saying something about how they'd like a couple of wild boys around the boat.

They have changed course to rendezvous with "Definitely Will Be" (see chart above) and should exchange crew in the next 24 hours.

This is Buff Staysail, signing off.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Celebrity Yacht Race - Trade Wind Sailing

Its great trade wind sailing out there on the first Monaco to Miami Celebrity Yacht Race. The wind is blowing steady, slightly to the North of East, and the boats are making good progress across the Atlantic.

Already they will be experiencing for themselves the relentlessness of an ocean crossing where the heading is west day after day after day. I remember the start of the Arc as the number of boats in sight dropped off day by day till we had the ocean all to ourselves.

It can be a scary feeling. As part of the Arc there was a safety briefing that included a demo of how to be picked up helicopter. Afterwards I asked the instructor what its range was. "500 miles", I was told, "return journey".

So after 250 NM there's no chance of a quick escape, and what remains of the fleet are now over 500 miles out there. They really are on their own.

And they are learning to sail these Open 60 beasts - or at least some of them are. In the last day we have seen signs that the Gallagher brothers on Definitely Will Be and Madonna / Kylie on Queen of Pop / Pop Princess have been checking their instruments. While the rest of the fleet are sailing nearly direct downwind these two are sailing 40 degrees off, which seems to be a smart move.

Ok they'll have to gybe a bit more but the the VMG is half a knot higher. Thats 12 NM a day, 96 a week.

The news from the official site is that the Madonna / Kylie have agreed on a single name for their boat. So its goodbye Queen of Pop / Pop Princess and hello to Re-invention, something both singers are well known for.

The other news is rather sketchy - talk of an "incident" on Definitely Will Be. If you remember the Oasis boys picked up Robbie and Jay Kay after their dismasting in a storm, and no doubt that's been one crowded boat. But there's rumour of a Ericsson style incident with a winch handle.

This can't be good. When there's bad news like this around, you know its time for our resident expert, BS.

More later.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Celebrity Yacht Race - Dolphins and Canaries

As the remaining boats on the Celebrity Yacht Race pass the Canaries on their way from Monaco to Miami one is behaving very erratically.

As can be seen from the Google Earth fleet tracker above two boats are far to the south. While they are going faster they haven't gained much in longitude and have the extra climb in latitude at the far end. However at least one of the others is worried and changed course sharply.

But one of the Open 60s is dodging between the islands - and for times like this we're pleased to bring back on-board our resident on-the-spot self proclaimed expert, Buff Staysail, known to one as all as BS. Take it away Buff!

Howdy folks! Buff Staysail here, Buff by name and Buff by nature!

Boy is it good to be talking about sailing again after the last disastrous trip that's best forgotten [Ed: full story here] and hey JP bone to pick - what have you been telling my old mum back in Brisbane? Well, it might not have been you. They do have the internet at her nursing home.

She might have paid the cc bills you got lumbered with but she's going to charge me for it and boy if there's one thing thats still sharp with her its her memory. Thats two thousand bucks I'm never going to see again. I really need to get a real reporting job soon or there'll be hell to pay.

I guess I deserve it. One or two or three too many tinnies. On the wagon at the moment - how can you brits drink this tea stuff. Tastes of damp dish cloths.

Anyhow, yes, I've got the scoop on the wayward boat. Seems that "Eco Warrier 2" with Sting and Chris Martin have gone off dolphin and whale watching. There was this word that a pod was around the islands and they couldn't say no.

Now Chris Martin is so infatuated with them that he says his next kid is to be called "Bottlenose" but if you ask me that is just asking for trouble.

Then they heard how semi-submerged containers are the latest sea eco menace and they want to find one. Thats right folks, while most sane sailors avoid them like the plague they are out there trying to hunt one down.

Hope it doesn't sting them! This is BS, signing off!

[Ed: with puns like that, just as well]

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Celebrity Yacht Race - Passing the Canaries

We're back! After a week traveling on business (JP) or recuperating (BS) it's time to catch up on what is already being called the offshore yacht race of 2007!

The Velux 5 Oceans has turned into a coronation cruise for Bernard Stamm, after the withdrawal of both Mike Golding and Alex Thompson leaving just the experiences of Sir Robin Knox Johnson for interest value - and frankly racing is a secondary objective for this old sailor. Though of course there must be a voice whispering in his ear that he won the Golden Globe just by hanging on and not sinking and maybe that will work for him again.

So all eyes are turned to the fleet of celebrities racing their Open 60s from Monaco to Miami. There's been no shortage of drama to keep the following media circus busy, with boats dismasted, disqualified, and of course subject to a drug busting raid.

So it's good to be able to report the boats have in our absence been sailing well in the trade winds from Gibraltar to the Canary Islands. As can be seen in the exclusive Google Earth based race viewer (above) the fleet have split into two apart from one boat behaving very oddly. No doubt the full story on this ocean wanderer will be told by BS when he finishes his mini-break in Tenerife.

The two main packs are betting on wind or distance, with most heading west-south-west, but two dodging between the islands. As can be seen in the forecast from Stormsurf below the wind is generally stronger to the South where the trades really kick in. But the shortest distance is actually slightly north of West.

So what is the best tactic? Is it to head south for the wind and take the hit of longer distance? Time will tell.

The one thing that seems undeniable is that us Brits are about to be hit by another Atlantic storm, the sort that makes my floor to ceiling windows howl like an orphaned wolf.

Time to batten down the hatches. And have a nice cuppa.