Sailing the White Boat
20 June 2011 | Saint Raphael
A forecast (correct as it turned out) of torrential rain and thunderstorms convinced the crew that a visit to a decent caff in Arles might be a better idea than going off sailing from Port Napoleon on the intended day.
Twenty four hours later few excuses remained so we left in sunshine and a light northerly, bound for La Ciotat. The thunderstorms were still around however and we spent a nervy few hours wandering about the ocean with a big metal stick held aloft - eventually all this cleared away and we enjoyed a gentle sail along the coast East of Marseille to find our intended anchorage where the more intrepid (foolhardy?) member of the crew decided to try swimming on the grounds that the water was nice and clear (and well below the recommended temperature of 22.2). He survived the experience and the crew dined well on board whilst applying themselves to the task of road-testing the local wine.
A bit of motoring in flat calm conditions gave way to a fairly brisk reach to our next anchorage under the lee of the castle at Cap de Bregancon. This castle is the summer residence of the President of the Republic and whilst we knew that M. Sarkozy was away trying to stitch up the Greeks with some dodgy refinancing deal, the crew were hopeful of an invitation to dinner from the first lady - it was not to be and her efforts as a chanteuse have been wiped from iPods in protest !
Thence to Cavalaire to await the owner and other representatives of senior management. We received a warm welcome and a convenient berth at reasonable rates and starting taking an interest in the weather forecast as the plan now called for a return to the West.
Needless to say, in the best traditions of cruising, the wind now swung into the west and promised to stay there at some strength for days and days. Being made of sterner stuff we, of course, elected to go downwind and ended up in Saint Raphael where the boat now rests.
Saint R is a jolly fancy spot with an air of the real Riviera about it. It also has good communications with a direct train and bus link to NIce and, indeed, to Marseille.
Cruising efforts will be resumed in early July.