He hammed it up as well, carrying on one run into thin air as if he had run out of piano keys, or slowing one down to a stop and collapsing on the keyboard as if passed out.
He was on tour with fellow Buena Vista Social Club stars Ibrahim Ferrer and Omara Portuondo and they had sold out ten huge stadiums in Japan.
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There were times when the boat was almost completely on its side with our feet skimming the waves, and others when we were so high up in the air I nearly got vertigo looking behind me, straight down into the water.
But the thrill and the adrenaline rush is second to none and I can see why the crew on the Carrera do this almost every Friday night, rain or shine, throughout the year.
Along with fellow pianists Peruchin and Lili Martinez, he helped turn the piano in Latin music from a rhythmic to a lead instrument.
He trained at a conservatoire in Cienfuegos and could have become a classical pianist, but the lure of Cuban music was too great.
You don’t have to own a boat either – just jump onboard with an experienced crew to get a feel for it.
And if you’ve always had a hankering to learn the ropes of sailing, the club’s Learn to Sail programme runs classes for teenagers, adults, beginners, experienced sailors, or ladies only; there are also courses in fishing techniques if that’s more your thing.
It’s an event that the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron has been running nearly every Friday night since 1964 and, according to Commodore Steve Mair, rum racing has been pitting boats against each other since sailing was invented as a sport.
While rum isn’t generally consumed until after the race, we did manage to squeeze in a quick glass of rosé as we set out for the starting line near the Harbour Bridge.
It was a hot ticket – as soon as I checked into my hotel, the phone began ringing with calls from strangers asking me if I had a spare ticket.
The Buena Vista DVD was top of the charts and we almost stopped the traffic when we went out shopping for kimonos.
She’s still at the wheel and completely in her element.