Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Saint Tropez Sept. 28-29

The land breeze in the morning lasted only an hour and we motored the rest of the way from Antibes to Saint Tropez, 35 miles away. As we approached the large bay of Saint Tropez, we were greeted by an amazing sight: literally hundreds of sailboats completely filled the bay, boats of all sizes, sailing/racing in the light breeze. There was no way to avoid this huge regatta, so we motored slowly right through them. Sailboats ranging from small sloops, to large schooners, and sleek mega-yachts. A helicopter was flying low among them. We were just completely in awe. It turned out that this week is a regatta week, and races were taking place twice daily. The downside of this event is that everywhere was jam-packed. It was a challenge to find a spot in the bay to anchor with proper holding ground. We ended up anchoring a mile away from the town harbor, and then took a long dinghy ride to visit the town.

The large regatta we encountered as we approached St. Tropez 

Beautiful schooners

After the race, they are all back in the marina

Saint Tropez is just outside of the French Riviera area, but it’s no less posh. In the early 20th century it started as an artists’ colony, attracting a group of well-known painters and sculptors. Today the town is a bit dated, but the streets are still lined with exclusive brand-name stores, and tourists pack the tidy alleys and courtyards. Even the town clock is a designer label from Rolex. This fancy setting comes with a price – everything is expensive; a single scoop of ice cream costs 3 Euros. We settled for some reasonably priced pastry instead, and returned to our boat for a supper on board, with a magnificent evening view of the mega yachts around us anchored in the bay, all nicely lit up.  This was a fitting place to conclude our cruising season this year, as this is the last port before we embark on the passage to Barcelona, Spain, where we will stay for the winter.

Big crowds admiring the sailboats

St. Tropez's thriving art shops

The fancy town clock

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