The day after our arrival we visited the Cannes yachting festival show and successfully resisted the temptation to buy a new boat. It is an enormous show on the waterfront in Cannes needing a small boat ride to see the whole show. It was an excellent start to our sailing trip.
We set sail to Baie de la Garonne across the Grande Rade de Touloon onTuesday after the usual preparations and had a rather stormy night there and returned the next day to meet Henry ,Claudia, Jamie, Robyn and Siri. They had rented a flat in La Seyne-sur-Mer close to the perfect Les Sablettes beach because day sailing with nights ashore seemed more suitable for Jamie and Robyn. We spent a very enjoyable few days on the beach where small children find endless fun exploring, building and rebuilding sand castles of which they never seem to tire. By Sunday 18th we decided to sail again to Baie de la Garonne for lunch and it proved an enjoyable first experience on the water for Jamie and Robyn. Unfortunately the weather became very windy for the next few days so we enjoyed the beach and some local restaurants. We made another attempt to sail a few days later but the wind proved too strong once outside the harbour wall with too much heeling for comfort while holding baby Robyn and trying to keep Jamie in board ! Too soon the holiday was over but maybe it was the start of a sailing career for someone ….who knows !
It was now time for us to sail to Nice to meet Sam and Gillie McBride sailing friends ex Hong Kong now in Edinburgh. Our first anchorage was in Baie D’Alicatre on the north side of Porquerolles where we stayed for two nights because of stormy conditions but on Sunday 25th September we sailed to Rade D’Agay and picked up a mooring. The swell was quite significant, a result of the previous two days of storms and there was little protection from it on the moorings available for our size of boat at the sea end of the bay.The next day we sailed on to the marina in Baie des Anges near Nice but not under the very busy airport. It is easy to see from because of the unusual shapes of large blocks of flats on the shore. It is a pleasant marina which we had visited the year before with a local street with shops and restaurants as you step off the boat. Sam and Gillie arrived and we had a busy evening catching up. We had planned to leave the next day but ended up marina bound by a strong mistral so we explored Nice until Friday when the wind settled enough to escape. The wind picked up over the course of the journey to Baie de Canabiers near St Tropez where we wanted to see the famous classic boat race les Voiles de St Tropez. Indeed we had a close up view when we sailed through the fleet to our anchorage. The wind continued strongly and we dragged our anchor just before dark when we realised we were closer to a large motor yacht, but this was not a serious problem and it was during daylight. Saturday 1st October was extremely windy so there was no possibility of going ashore and during the course of the day three boats required the rescue services as they were drifting and had no motors. We all hoped that we would not be the next boat to call may day. In addition to the race this all made interesting viewing. The night brought no reduction in the wind strength and after the usual cocktails and supper we were woken by call and whistles from a yacht which had become much closer than before … we were drifting again and had to re-anchor with some speed but this time in the dark and in 35 knots of wind. We felt very pleased that Sam and Gilly were on board and their help was invaluable. We found another spot but this was not the end as the same problem recurred again twice before dawn but by this time we were becoming accustomed to the manoeuvre. We all enjoyed watching the race the next day, wonderfully elegant yachts sailing by in large numbers a truly magnificent sight.
The next stop was Les Porquerolles where we stayed for a quiet two nights and had an excellent meal and on 5th October we returned to Saint Mandrier to say good bye to Sam and Gilly. We had a few days left to ourselves so decided to go westwards to Bandol . Then one of the usual technical problems which arise on boats occurred …a blocked holding tank. Once day had dawned we went far out to sea to try and unblock it which we did with the hose pipe through the deck access normally for sucking out the holding tanks in port. Then we proceeded to Sanary-sur-Mer which we had visited before the previous year. It is a delightful town and quite unspoilt. After our sojourn there we then ventured a little further westward and found a peaceful anchorage off the long beach of Saint Cyr-sur-Mer in the Baie de Lecques. We found an excellent promenade there to stretch our legs and it was just warm enough to swim. On 13th October it was time to return to Saint Mandrier so we set off early to avoid the forecast strong easterly afternoon breeze. Our plans were thwarted by a visit from the navy who were doing firing practice off the headland! We had no choice but to anchor off Les Sablettes beach and wait until we had permission to proceed by which time of course the headwind had arrived as forecast . Despite this we arrived safely and tied up leaving Baringo in the care of Dream Yachts for the winter.