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Sun sets on sailing career

August 31, 2013

Given my lifestyle living amongst the idle rich in Valbonne and Arundel, one would be entitled to think that I would be completely at ease with a corkscrew. However, when one applies that term to the motion of a boat on choppy seas, things can be very different as I rediscovered yesterday on the way to St Tropez on Currencies Direct client the Master Mariner’s sailing boat L’Exocet.

As a special treat for my house guests, I had arranged for this trip over to this famous flesh pot, to go to lunch at the famous Cinquante Cinq restaurant on the equally famous Pamplonne beach. It was on the way out of the harbour at Port de Le Rague near Theoule that I had my first misgivings. What the Master described as a “slightly lumpy sea” was in fact a maelstrom of waves all going in different directions and send the boat for much of the time into a crabbing corkscrew like action.

When the second beer of the day in beautiful weather failed to hit its customary spot, and the first glass if rosé did not go down at all quickly, I began to feel uneasy. Being a non swimmer and a committed non sailor until about 3 years ago, when the Master cured me of my fear of seasickness, I would never have ventured aboard a boat smaller than an aircraft carrier. He had taken me on a race, the Bistro Rally, and I had enjoyed it so much that I had become a fan of sailing. Albeit of the fair weather kind, with the vague unspoken feeling that it could all go horribly wrong. I had taken to standing legs apart, sea dog fashion, and enjoying saying things like “splice the mainbrace” , “lets keelhaul him my hearties” and “Jim lad, lets Roger the cabin boy” and other nautical expressions, the meaning of which completely escaped me. There was one about a spinnaker that I thought I partially understood although rumours that I thought it in some way referred to Shane Warne are wide of the mark.

We got to St Tropez without incident, unless, dear reader, you are prepared to accept that two beers and one unfinished glass of wine constitute a fair warning that things were not right. I love the ambience of Cinquante Cinq, with its pine trees and sails on the beach, its lime washed wooden beach furniture and white linen sofas, but it is a fact that was brought home to me yesterday that it is overpriced, has poor service, is cramped and frankly vastly overrated. The Master was right, the food is considerably better at nearby Tahiti Beach. Club 55 achieved fame in the 1950’s when Bridget Bardot was making a film there, and it became a centre of media interest over the years, expertly exploited by the management and the press machines, and is still a magnet for stars to be seen dining. It had sucked in a celebrity yesterday in the very considerable form of one Lebron James, a huge (in all senses if the word) US basketball player and husband to Kim Kardashian, basically a sort of bohemian south of France Hollywood style eaterie. Well, frankly, they have got away with it for too long. I do not like the concept of queuing for a table that had been booked.

Meditteranean at sundet

Sunset on the way back from St Tropez

Anyway, given my slightly fragile state, and the gnawing knowledge that there was inevitably a return boat trip, I scrutinised the menu to make sure that whatever I ate, it contained no diced carrots, because we all know that is what makes you sick. At least they are always in evidence when you chunder.

Still failing to enter into the spirit of the occasion in the lovely beach bar after lunch, I should perhaps not have been surprised that some 20 minutes after we set out for the return leg, that seasickness was return to my life in an explosive, projectile fashion. Someone must have introduced some diced carrots into my Moules Marinier when my eyes were averted because, damn, I gave those seagulls a special treat.

Chris France

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Chris permalink
    August 31, 2013 1:28 pm

    Lebrons’ wife is called Savannah Brinson-James.


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