Taki Taki

High Life | 13 June 2009

Under pressure

On board S/Y Bushido, off Ibiza

As everyone who has followed the America’s Cup fiasco knows, it is now up to international courts to decide who shall defend what and where. The egregious Swiss billionaire Ernesto Bertarelli is the holder, and has been sued by Larry Ellison, an American sick-making, money-grubbing billionaire, whose stink pot, Rising Sun, has to be among the world’s ugliest gin palaces.

Hence when word got out that the Pug’s Club regatta was to take place off the island of Ibiza last weekend, thousands of Spaniards swelled the beaches in the hope of seeing real sailing boats fight it out at sea, rather than in some dreary courtroom in San Francisco or Geneva. An added attraction was the presence of Count Leopold Bismarck, on board Bushido, who reputedly had announced his intentions to avenge the cowardly sinking of the great battleship and namesake by helping me defeat Tim Hoare’s magnificent gaff-rigged Alexa (a boat Adolf Hitler admired but was unable to purchase) and Roger Taylor’s Tiger Lily, reputed to be the only schooner in the world whose owner (drummer of Queen) managed to water-ski behind.

Other contestants, like Lord Rayleigh of Milk, recently elected to Pug’s, had to withdraw owing to swine fever, his boat having raised the yellow quarantine flag somewhere near Galicia. Two other prominent yachtsmen, both members, George Livanos and Edward Hutley, also failed the criteria, as did Mark Getty’s Talitha G, and the great trans-Atlantic record-holder Bob Miller, who was so distressed to miss the race he was hospitalised in New York with nervous exhaustion. Mind you, around 700 people turned out for the trials, which took place off the northern shore of Ibiza, but when news got out that Sir Bob Geldof was crewing for Hoare, and that Roger Taylor was skippering Tiger Lily, thousands of rock and sailing fans descended on the outlying towns of San Miguel and San Antonio, sparking alarm on the already stretched resources of the Guardia Civil.

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