Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Restricted visibility

This is the view from the upper slopes of Flaine down towards the resort.

It is there, honest, somewhere under the clouds which caused a bit of a navigational hazard in the afternoon:
The solution that worked for most of the time was to stick to the higher ground but of course at some point its necessary to head down through this right pea-souper.

I was thinking about the sound's that ships must make when sailing in fog and for a brief moment wondered what the skiing equivalent was, until it became clear - and I'm sure skiers out there can guess what it was!

Skiing in Flaine

The weekend's ski trip was to the resort of Flaine, about an hour and a half's bus journey from Geneva.

It is not an attractive resort, a relic from the 1970's school of concrete brutalism. But the setting is great - a "natural amphitheatre" like bowl surrounded by ice capped mountains, and spectacular views from the top.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Skiing is a water sport - right?

So yesterday I went skiing and today I'm pondering what to post. But surely skiing counts as a suitable topic for a boating blog as technically there is a fine layer of water under the skies on which the skier moves.

Hence skiing is a water sport too.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

No frost-biting on Lake Geneva

This was Lake Geneva yesterday and there was not a sail to be seen.

Though of course this being Geneva there are other things that can be done in winter, sports that also relate to H2O, sports that really need the cold.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Lake Geneva's Neptune

This is the La Neptune, built in 1904 and still sailing on Lake Geneva.

She was originally used to transport sand and stones but is now available for charter. Apparently La Neptune has 3 sails with a total area of 275 square metres.

I think she uses a form of lateen rig as can be seen on this site.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Geneva's Jet d'Eau

There's fast flowing water and then there's the Jet d'Eau.

Water leaves the nozzle at 200 km/h, driven by twin 500 kW turbines to reach 140 metres into the sky.

If the sun is out you can see a lovely rainbow:

Monday, January 23, 2012

Volvo re-start at Male

So the Volvo Ocean Race's secret is out - the mystery rendezvous destination was Male in the Maldives. And that's not too far from the position calculated using their (lat, longs) and DTLs as in the figure above from back on the 18th of December.

Might have a re-start of my own and starting following the fleet's progress.

A dragon boat for year of the dragon

It's the sisterhood boat, whose crew has included one Kate Middleton, er, I mean, the Duchess of Cambridge.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Boat Project

As O'Docker correctly identified, yesterday's picture was of "The Boat Project".

This is an art installation / boat being constructed as part of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad from 1,200 pieces of wood donated by the public, each piece meaning something to the giver.

It might be the drums sticks of a band, the hairbrush from the father who worked at Pinewood Studios, parts of HMS Invincible, a cribbage board, teak packing board from China, fragments of Brighton's West Pier, part of Jimmy Hendrix's guitar ..... the list is nearly endless.

Together they tell a story, a patchwork quilt of wood of the people of Britain. The boat is at present unnamed but you can vote from a short list on the boat project's web site.

She'll be launched on the 7th May and then make her way along the south coast of England stopping at places like Brighton and Portsmouth before reaching London.

Friday, January 20, 2012

This isn't Buff either

It's a bear on a stand up kayak of course!

What'd you mean, you've never seen one?

One rather wet bear to be honest, having just fallen in - probably thought it saw a salmon or something.

Its not Buff!

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

Well due to circumstances beyond my control I was unable to get to the Buff stand at the 2012 London Boat Show but JP managed to get this picture and boy was I hacked off! I mean he doesn't even look a bit like me!

And as for that hat!!!

This is Buff Staysail, for real, signing off!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Pippa good; PIPA bad

Piracy doesn't justify SOPA

The acronym of the day is SOPA.

It's legislation being proposed in the US Congress to stop piracy, but while piracy - both real and online - is wrong the provisions in SOPA are unjustified, too broad and way too draconian.

It might come from the US but it could have a serious impact over here too - after all Blogger is owned by Google which is a US company.

More here on why its such a bad idea.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


I'm sure there were many people saying "great you could be here" at the 2012 London Boat Show, but there were two people for whom that meant a lot more than just politeness.

Above are Paul and Rachel Chandler signing copies of their book Hostage, finally free from their terrible ordeal and safe back in blighty.

I had a brief chat with Rachel about their capture by Somali pirates and the motivation behind the re-arrangements of the VOR leg to Abu Dhabi. It must have been really awful - one of my greatest fears when travelling to Pakistan was kidnapping.

They are already planning their next voyage - to South America. I asked about Venezuela, having had a great time there, but it too has a bit of a piracy problem.

Its truly great that they are free and able to come to the Boat Show and I'm looking forward to reading my copy of their book.


Nope, this isn't JP after a night on the tiles, this is the crash dummy on board Yachting Monthly's Crash Test Boat that was on display at the 2012 London Boat Show.

Looked a right old mess, but not surprising given what its been through.

Monday, January 16, 2012

There were dancing girls

So there were some for the opening, but if they were around later I didn't see them.

Though I suspect I was hanging around the wrong bits of the show i.e. not the Princess and Sunseeker stands.

Friggin' in the riggin'

One of things to do at the 2012 London Boat Show was an opportunity to get a feel for the high life - or to be more accurate, to climb the rigging.

And they didn't have any old square rigger but the actual foretopmast of HMS Victory herself.

I had one of those "must get round to doing that" moments and then moved on, never to return. Nelson would not approve, being a great believer in seizing the day.

Though to be honest it wasn't that dramatic given the mast wasn't moving, there wasn't a breath of wind, nor rain or spray. 

I think doing it for real would be much more interesting.

Sherlock and the Boat Show

I was going to follow up my brief post on the boat show with another (short frequent postings being the thing nowadays) but the final episode of Sherlock started, and that demanded don't blink levels of attention.

And a cracker it was too. I won't spoil it if you haven't yet seen it (enjoy) but my suspicions were that if Moriarty could [deleted] then he surely could also [deleted]. And as for the ending, well the internet rumour mill is on overdrive but I agreed that Sherlock could have [deleted], [deleted] and then [deleted]: [deleted] is clearly key.

Anyhow less cryptically, the great Holmes is famous for noticing the dog that didn't bark and one of the interesting things about the boat show was who wasn't there this time who were in the past. Quite a lot of no-shows and the halls felt a lot emptier of stands and people.

For example there was no On Deck Sailing for the annual wouldn't it be great to do Antigua Week conversation. They probably got fed up with time wasters who each year would come up and say "wouldn't it be great to do Antigua Week", drink a glass of bubbly and then disappear.

So no free bubbly and no dancing girls.

But what was there? Well to answer that question would make this post long, and as we all know, frequent short posts are the thing now a days.

Later, guys!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The London Boat Show connection

Yesterday's mystery picture was a display of the wares from the Mayfair Gallery. What, I asked, is the connection between the Mayfair Gallery and sailing?

It was in a way a trick question, because my honest answer was that I didn't know. Hence my surprise when I saw it at the London Boat Show, which I went to yesterday.

But obviously someone thinks there is a connection. If a gazzilionaire turns up to buy a $$ million Princess or Sunseeker they might want to decorate it with some vases or something. Or indeed a Rolls as in the pic above (taken with an iPhone so alas not a great photo).

To be honest I can't see your typical member of the 0.01% joining the masses at Excel in Docklands, but apparently the super yacht segment of the market is booming.

Unlike much of the rest of the show that felt rather anaemic, as will post on shortly.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Friday, January 13, 2012

You don't have to read

You can just look at the pictures.
These photos are cropped square shaped as per Instagram.
There's a whole planet in the last one.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Reprieve for the Putney River Bus

Some good news for the new year - the Putney River bus has had a reprieve. Due to contract re-negotiation brouhaha (see here) the commuter river bus between Putney and central London was due to end along with 2011.

However fortunately an alternative bid was submitted and just before Christmas it was announced that Complete Pleasure Boats Ltd had been awarded an operating licence.

They will be running the Henley (above in autumnal morning mists) and Viscount boats providing commuters with free tea, coffee and toast!

Huzzah, hurrah!

p.s. The news story referenced is on the BYM web site, and Tillerman might like this image on their home page, which is from the Laser Masters 2011

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A January sail, not the January sales

About a year ago my sailing chum Tristan, aka the Natural Navigator, invited me for a weekend sailing, but in the end the boat was covered about a foot deep with snow so we went for a walk (trans. hike) instead.

Last weekend there was another invite but this time the weather was much more favourable so we had no trouble getting on the water for a great sail to St. Catharine's Point.

Sailors like to know the facts, so here goes:
Temperatures: 10ish - we didn't need gloves
Wind: NW - W, force 4 - 7
Sea state: some swell from the SW, especially when wind against tide (see pic above)

There was no rain, let alone snow or sleet, and yet we were pretty much the only boat out there.

On the way back we saw Jupiter and Venus, plus a near full moon, useful for navigating up a wiggly channel with only a few lit buoys.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Send Buff to Miami!

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

Well no doubt that Puma deal was a bit of a surprise but it got yours truly thinking about the Volvo Ocean Race schedule and one question in particular: is Abu Dhabi really the most Buff-worthy of the destination ports? 

After a bit of honest soul-searching the answer was no. For an Ozzie from the Gold Coast one city above all called out to me - Miami!! (*)

I can just see ol' Buff returning to his old haunts from the days of the Celebrity Yacht Race, enjoying life like that Will Smith song!!

So how about it, any super-sponsors out there? 

This is Buff Staysail, bag packed and ready!!

(*) or Sanya, Aukland, Itajai & Lisbon

Monday, January 09, 2012

Buff supports Puma!

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

Thanks to Tillerman for pointing out that the previous post could be misinterpreted. Yours truly is a huge fan of all things Puma-ic and has spotted one amazing opportunity for Puma - or indeed any other forward looking media aware sailing organisation.

Look at my track record - word craftsman extraordinaire. But of course today's multi-media facebooked flickred twitpic needs more - yes a picture tells a thousand words, or of course in my case maybe a bit less, say a hundred or so.

So how about this: blogger, journo legend Buff Staysail together with a photographer - but who? This is where a light went off in ol' Buff's head - how about O'Docker? He's the guru on lunar photography, photoshopping, you name it

What a team - Buff Staysail and O'Docker, let loose in the bars and taverns of Abu Dhabi!!!

Bring it on!!

This is Buff Staysail, back on the bounce, waiting for that call!!

Buff Staysail boycotts Puma!

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

Of all the bleeding cheek! I mean, jeez, what does a blogger have to do to get ahead? There was I, feet up enjoying a nice cold one when I read over on Proper Course that Puma have paid for ten bloggers to be flown out to Abu Dhabi - and NOT included yours truly!!

Instead they've chosen a bunch of fashionistas that worry about things like looking cool - jeez, I'm lost for words.

I'm into fashion too - Buff is known for his style!! Didn't they see my America's Cup World Series TV show???? Didn't they know that I'm already a "Volvo Circumnavigator"????

I blame JP. If he hadn't gone around calling top-notch TV shows like Three men do X as a "yawn-fest" or saying the DTLs in the most recent Volvo leg as "meaningless" this would never have happened.

I wouldn't put it past him (or O'Docker) to have mentioned that phone hacking incident.

Jeez, to think I could be now modelling swimming shorts!! Or mixing it with Hepburn!!!

That's it, I've had enough. I'm not going to buy Puma gear let alone go to the gym three times a week. A man has his respect you know.

This is Buff Staysail - over AND out!!

Friday, January 06, 2012

Buff's kayaking joke

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

Well JP has stepped away from the keyboard leaving me in charge so how about this for a joke:

There were two paddlers out in a kayak and they were feeling a bit cold. So one of them suggested they light a fire in the kayak. Not surprisingly the kayak caught fire and sank. Which only goes to show that...

........ you can't have your kayak and heat it.


Thursday, January 05, 2012

Buff's review of 2011

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

Well that was a cracker of year for ol' Buff. Forget about JP's 2011 and have a listen to this!

Buff's tactical head has been shining for real with biz ideas a plenty. In just one year I came up with an America's Cup syndicate, property speculation, 3 tier competition services and Buff's Brilliant Buoys (TM)!!!

What's more I've seen the way the world works, no ninny me, and how wheeling dealer types must engage with those politicos, like. Remember the Mandatory Laser Bill? Well that gave me the biggestish idea ever - Buff for President!!!

Well alas that didn't pan out, but then Buff the Man has grown this year, you know, like spiritually. My quest for enlightenment brought not just the horoscopes for 2011 but also shown the need for a Taru of my own (still searching if there are any lovely ladies out there).

Of course Buff the sailing expert was in great demand. I gave my top tips on navigation and discovered I'd already done a "Volvo circumnavigation" of Australia (beaut). Maybe because of that I presented the world famous and totally epic Buff Staysail America's Cup World Series TV Show!!!!

Don't think there's any need to go on about the boat show incident, the Syrian lesbian allegation or the phone hacking scandal.

What can 2012 bring? I think its going to be XXXX Gold mate!!

Geddit!! Olympic year and all that. Oh, and any major news corporation looking for a legendary sporting journo to cover the games, just email JP. He'll know which bar I can be found in.

This if Buff Staysail, ready and waiting!!!

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Blog review of 2011

It wasn't an easy year, what with a death in the family and the riots in London. There was also not just one but two periods where work loads were excessive for weeks and weeks in a row.

But there were good moments too. Despite the riots London proved it was great with a wide range of culture from Gauguin to the Book of the Dead to Steve Reich's Drumming to Miro to theremin SF to Iain M. Banks to string quartet plus didgeridoo to Barber's Knoxville to the Proms to John Martin's Apocalypse (and sewage system) to Film to Wild Beasts to Swallows and Amazons.

Just check out what was packed into one day off in London.

There was of course one rather well publicised wedding.

Hmmm...... looks like there was more culture than boating. But I did get paddling on the river, go ice skating and race in the Fowey Classics (allegedly). We were "not bad" three times in a row - yeh!

This year is already promising much, with both the London 2012 Olympics and the Queens Diamond Jubilee, and I've been plotting options for sailing routes and destinations.

Above is the classic yacht Mikado which we beat at the Fowey Classics - one definitely good memory to take from last year.

Of course Buff's year was even better.......

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Happy New Year 2012

A lovely abstract for which the reality is as interesting: this is an image from the probe Cassini currently orbiting Saturn, as explained here.