Sailing the South of France

This week a client asked us to recommend yachts available for a cruise along the South of France, and when we were to send him the information, we were to suggest a possible itinerary. These are the ports of call we recommended to him:

Nice to San Tropez (to visit Club 55), to Cannes (to visit the islands and their crystal clear waters), to Eden Rock (a hotel and dinner), to San Juan Cap, or Ville Franche, to Monaco (for beaches and night life) – to Cap Antibes, to Nice…..

This itinerary covers a total of 90 miles, or 7 to 8 hours of cruising, round trip, that we recommend for a one week cruise.

Although it’s just a sketch, it is given courtesy of Captain Frank Ruggeri (as accurately as I can) aboard the 98’ Benetti motor yacht, NEW STAR, whom I met in Genoa in May. I inspected a fleet of 60 charter yachts in Genoa in May, most of them power yachts, but some were sailing yachts. A few were mono hull vessels; others were catamarans, and all were available with captain and professional crew.

My cruise aboard the 66' sloop actually started in Bermuda.... We sailed across the Atlantic and stationed in Sardinia for the Summer.

My cruise aboard the 66′ sloop actually started in Bermuda…. We sailed across the Atlantic and stationed in Sardinia for the Summer.

There are many superb places to sail in the Western Mediterranean in addition to the itinerary above. Another trip I like very much, which I did myself aboard a 66’ sailing yacht, starts in Puerto Cervo, Sardinia and sails up the coasts of Corsica and Sardinia, with its lush green foliage and turquoise waters, where we overnighted in Bonifacio. The full moon that night, lighting up the water under our keel, gave the optical illusion of being anchored in two feet of water, which was impossible, because we were on a 66’ sailing boat that drew at least 6 feet. I couldn’t get over how clear the water was, and I’m from the Caribbean.

Although Sardinia and Corsica are situated close to each other, there’s a big difference between the two islands in terms of climate. Sardinia is dry and barren; Corsica is lush and green. Both have beautiful turquoise water and many bays and inlets, ideal for cruising.

We sailed overnight in flat calm waters to the Italian island of Elba off the Italian coast. There we sipped lemonade from an outside café in a large town square. We then headed to Monaco, where we explored the casinos and beautiful hotels. We watched elegantly dressed children play among the boxwood. Next we visited Cannes, which pulsates with energy and night life! Hundreds of people come out at night and stay up all night! The town never shuts down. We marveled at the beautiful gateaux in the windows of the local patisseries. We ordered café a la carte at one of the side walk cafes and all but saw Vincent Van Gogh walk by. We ended the day by dancing the night away at a local discotheque. On Bastille Day we enjoyed the turquoise waters of Ville Franche, a creek, all to ourselves. We swam in the turquoise water, marveled at the sandy bottom of the creek, located so close to the city, and enjoyed the beautiful colors and scenery.

Next I remember running an errand for the captain and finding myself in a Medieval square. It was right out of the 14th century! I pinched myself to make sure it was really I standing there. It might have been Antibes.

My shipmates consisted of two Englishmen, who were the captain and first mate, both called "Martin." There was also an Australian, a Dutchman, and two Americans, myself and a friend.

My shipmates consisted of two Englishmen, who were the captain and first mate, both called “Martin.” There was also an Australian, a Dutchman, and two Americans, myself and a friend.

Those were the highlights. That cruise took place long ago. The nice thing about this latter itinerary is while it did take ten days to complete aboard a 66’ sailing yacht, 90% of the time we were outside the 20 nautical mile mark. So the Sardinia to the South of France itinerary qualifies for the 10% VAT tax rate, while the Cote D’Azur itinerary requires the normal 22% VAT tax rate.

Sailing season in the Mediterranean is May through October, and incidentally, September is a wonderful time to cruise the Mediterranean. It’s warm; uncrowded, and off-season; rates are lower. Yachts’ calendars open up; many yachts offer specials to fill gaps in their calendars, and yachts are tugging at their anchors to be off and away on a cruise.

Submitted by: Shelby Nicholson

September, 2016

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