Saturday, July 27, 2013

Buff's America's Cup Adventure 1/13

The Luna Rossa Assignment

G’day all! Buff Staysail here! Buff by name and Buff by nature!

I’ve been off on another of Buff’s adventures, and it began a few weeks ago when I was invited by the Luna Rossa team to one of their media events in Sicily. Now Buff never says no to helping one of the 34rd America’s Cup teams raise their profile, especially if there’s a jolly to somewhere warm, so in a jiffy the bags were packed and yours truly was at thirty thousand feet in an aircraft heading south.

Buff must just for a moment say what stars the Luna Rossa PR team were for putting on a hit event. They picked us up direct from our hotel then whisked us out on fast RIBs for a photo-shoot to watch their boat training off Palermo. And what a sight it was - levitated by their foils, flying across waves reflected in their mirrored hulls. I’d gone snap happy, filling up the camera’s memory card with shot after shot, relishing in the strong sunshine after what has been one heck of a depressing cold and grey winter.

Who needs or wants a hat, I said at the drinks reception (top notch Italian bubbly guys) afterwards, when people commented I was looking a bit red:I was making up for six months of lost time.

We had to listen to some sort of presentation about how they’d shipped Luna Rossa back to this, the home yacht club of Circolo della Vela Scilia, to raise the team’s profile with the Italians and Sicilians (who apparently consider themselves very different). For the evening ol’ Buff considered himself one of them and rattled off a couple of ciao bellas to the PR team’s girls.

Alas the next day was not so good. I had a wall-banger of a headache and skin blistering in a dozen places, some of which, weirdly, hadn’t seen any sun. It was a day to stay indoors in the dark kept company by a bottle of water trying out the full range of after-sun lotions stocked by the pharmacy next door to the hotel.

So while the other hacks took the minibus back to the airport I asked Jenny the Luna Rossa girl if she’d be an angel and re-arrange my flight for another day. After all, I pointed out, if their boat had had a spot of shade I’d not be suffering from sunstroke.

And she agreed! Didn’t expect to get away with that one, to be honest. As I said, respect to the Luna Rossa team.

After a day self-nursing myself back to true Buff-ness it was time to get out there again and I headed down to the quay side for a cold one.

Ports, whether for fancy yacht racers or working container ships, mean sailors, and that means bars, so many that even if Buff should get chucked out of one there'd be plenty of others to explore. After a short walk I found this place called Estrella, just on the boundary between the swanky, meaning expensive, and less costly, but more homely, further down the quay side. There were hams hanging from the ceiling, curing slowly, their fat dripping into yogurt pots, bottles of red wine as decoration and a TV always on, playing or replaying football games.

All in all a good place, and imagine how my mood was helped when next to me sat down this dark haired young woman. The evening was looking up!

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