Les Voiles de Saint Tropez

We drifted silently out the marina of Mandelieu-de-Napoule at midday, leaving Cannes and the Riviera behind us. Making our way down the Côte-de-Azur coast to Saint Tropez we noticed all the boats heading for the same destination and it turned out we had serendiptously arrived at the start of “Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez”. We anchored west of the town along with dusins and later hundreds of boats.

Normally a destination for the rich and famous, this little fishing village contains stark contrasts of modernised houses with plenty of picturesque scenes and deteriorating sheds with the odour to go with it. In the harbour we gleaned at the Wallys, Swans and refurbished wooden yachts as they moored along the key, while enjoying an ice cream from Barbarec.

While strolling the streets window shopping we also looked for a doctor with specialisation in back pains (osteopathic doctor). Rossana had been several days with intense back pains, partially paralysing her leg. We found a very kind doctor who accepted us after closing hours on Friday evening. He confirmed she had a severely inflamed spine joint and required medicinal treatment to relieve the situation. After a day she was already quite a bit better.

One evening we enjoyed live music in a back alley with a bottle of champagne, purchased in a street shop, La Cave du Golf, late one night, and served with two plastic glasses.

One night heading back to the boat in the dinghy among, by now hundreds of yachts lit up by their various lights, this enormous anchoring post, looked like a floating city on the sea, plus a sky full of stars – it all made St. Tropez a destination full of beautiful details.

The glamours Riviera

We started early in the morning from the Anse de Chiuni headed for Nice. The forecast was good with 20-25 kts from NE making for a close reach on a starboard tack. The forecast was spot on and we made 8-9 kts during the peak at midday.

The day was relatively dull and uneventful, apart from an encounter with a French coast guard helicopter that circled us at no more then 20-30 meters distance. The pilot finally waived goodbye and within minutes they were no longer visible.

We had called the day before to Nice marina to book a berth and expected to have a confirmation before loosing the mobile connection upon leaving Corsica. Not so. As we reached the coast of France we got word that Nice was fully booked – and so began a calling spree to every marina between Monaco and Théoule-sur-Mer. We found space in Mandelieu-de-Napoule and stayed three nights. We learned September is not quite so uneventful as we had expected.

Monaco super yacht show, Cannes royal regatta for wooden sailboats and much more. Luckily it is a short train ride to Cannes from Mandelieu and that is were we spent the following day, exploring the streets, alleys, harbour, beach and the glamours Rue du Suquet connecting the harbour with the old town.

On day 2 we had an invitation to the Monaco super yacht show to view the first Swan 95. After the early morning train ride to Monaco we found ourselves among humming super cars and a stream of people headed for the harbour and the super yacht show. We made a stroll around the super sailboats circuit, before heading over to Nautor Swans stand and the new 95 foot (which actually seemed to be among the smaller boats on display). We had a pretty detailed tour of the boat with the Swan representative and the details of all the customisations. A real beauty!