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Old 08-02-2010, 11:28   #1
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Sail the Riviera During Monaco Grand Prix !

Hey, I'm chartering a Bavaria 46 to sail the Cote d'Azur during the GP and the Cannes Film Festival (May 14-22). First time sailing here, and only Med-moored once before (in Greece), so looking for any tips or advice on marinas or sites to visit.

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Old 08-02-2010, 12:01   #2
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Portofino, Italy is as beautiful a harbor as I have ever seen.

You will see some fabulous boats. I attended the 1978 Monaco GP and saw a helicopter lift a brown Rolls off the deck of a vessel belonging to Stavros Niarchos (Onassis in-law). There will be a lot of conspicuous consumption for sure. St. Tropez would be a good stop for you too perhaps. Have fun.
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Old 08-02-2010, 12:15   #3
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Ditto Portofino...but I have no idea how you would find a spot.
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Old 08-02-2010, 15:08   #4
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I sail there every year.

Firstly ,. its a beautiful place. Cannes, Antibbes, Nice, Monaco and all in between.

Secondly, be prepared to spend nights on the anchor, and forget about getting overnights in Monaco ( Port Hercule or FontVieille) especially during events. You could try reseving them now, they have a good website. I've never managed a berth there. Best bet is to berth elsewhere and take a train into Monaco, dont use a car to get there during events, its way too crowded.monaco always feels way too crowded for me anyway.

The rail line, The cote D'azure line runs all along the coast through Cannes, through Antibbes, Nice, Monaco, and on into Italy, very cheap and the stations are within walking distance of most of the marinas. If you get a berth and want to do the cultural stuff, then use it to get around, rather then trying to find berths.

The best way to get a berth is to phone them in the morning for a berth that evening, or perhaps the day before. Paradoxially, it can be difficult to get berths out of high season as most marinas rely on their owners leaving to have a berth to rent. Then use the VHF when getting close to the marina to call them up. Usually they will send a man on a bike or in a small boat to show you the way in. you need a mobile phone on this coast.

I did find some success especially as may is not peak season , in Beaulieu and Port St.Jean Cap ferrat ( great pizza place up in the village) and Nice old port, but it hit and miss. Cannes is possible too , as is Vauban in Nice, ( port can be smelly).

Monaco is much more expensive to eat and drink then the Cannes-Nice coast, and further up into Italy is even cheaper. But the food here, , ie everywhere, if you like ( your food.......words fail me. , words like godlike, heavanly,etc) Try and avoid the touristy cafes ( i e the ones with the menu in english). In Cannes seek out the restaurants in behind in the old town, Antibbes is good for great meal as is Nice. Dont forget to try the Icecream. Great fish restaurant in Beaulieu, ( but I cant remember its name, ask the capitainerie. Remember your in france, the french do things their way, dont expect to eat 24x7, they have breakfast in the morning, lunch at midday and dinner in the evening, outside that, coffee and gauloises!. Marina toilets facilities can be hit and miss, some great, some poor.

Dont miss the Rade de Villefranche, east of Nice, fantastic anchorage, also good anchorage south of St.Jean Cap Ferrrat, with a rib thats brings you to the beach bar ( cant remember the name, and the charts are on the boat).Nice day time anchorage on the east side of Ils Sainte Marguerite offshore of Cannes. ( and make sure to meet the icecream girl...).

The Rade is good for an allnighter as it the other side anchored off St Jean. If anything nasty blows from the south the whole coast can be untenable.

If the charter boat doesnt have it ( and it should) there is a free guide to the ports along this coast called The guide Mediterrane, Plans Pratiques des ports. Pick it up at any marina, its mostly in french but easy to understand.

Dont worry about the med mooring, its harder to describe then do. All use "lazy lines" so you dont need to use the anchor. Just motor back between the boats into your space with fenders on the rubbing strake ( towrail) , nice and slow. stop a foot or two from the dock, put on you stern lines , and pick up the slime line and bring it forward ( a glove is useful) , pull up the mooring line and tie on to the bow. ( with as much tension as you can pull) A tip is to hang the slime line along the boat out of the water and let the sun bleach it white . Wash your hands in disinfectant afterwards. PS the standard of boat handling is terrible, you will look like a pro. However this is balanced by the standard of "eye candy" semi naked or otherwise.!!!( though the italians do seem to prefer completely nude rather then the french)

all the marinas in this part of the world are top top class, very clean, electricity , water, often cable TV connections. English is widely spoken, Diesel is around euro 1.20 per litre. water is always potable, but I tended to use bottled.

Swiming is great, sailing can be very frustrating, usually no wind or little wind, or wind from the wrong direction, often theres a right gale. So you will do a lot of motoring.
Enjoy,

PS why mention Portofino, its way to far away, maybe san remo perhaps is about as far east as you will get.( without massive sails)
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Old 08-02-2010, 22:48   #5
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I should have specified "French" Riviera in the subject as well; we're starting in Monaco and sailing SW to St Tropez.

Wow, Thank you GBN-- that's exactly what I needed; I appreciate the effort you put into it. I'll print it and take with me. Sure you don't want to go with us?-- we'll subsidize you for your expertise!

We actually do have a cabin available. We're a group of friends splitting costs, which I expect to come to about $1,100 per person for everything aboard.

I also should have asked-- any idea on marina docking fees?
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Old 09-02-2010, 14:32   #6
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the bar restaurant at Cap Ferrat is Paloma;south of the marina- their telephone number is on the front of the building -the rib will respond pronto

make sure your anchor is set properly in an onshore breeze

you might like to try Carpaccio in Villefranche, it is on the waterfront near to the beach and the railway station

thee are so many restaurants in or near marinas so take a chance and visit, normally no charge for a lunch stop

the restaurant in Port Pierre Canto , Cannes has a sandy beach in front;just be sure to order a bottle of Domaine Ott Rose in any of these marinas, it will hurt the wallet but is very good

If you are able to do a night in Nice then go to the Old Town and specifically Cours Saleya which whilst touristy has an excellent atmosphere

navigation wise there are no offshore dangers once off the shore but you can search the web for the super yacht that was aground off Ferrat last year and the one that was aground off the Islea des Lerins
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Old 10-02-2010, 00:33   #7
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I lived in Valbonne, up the hill from Antibes, for a year and can only echo the recommendation of taking public transport to the Grand Prix. If you feel like going to an Expat bar, the Gaffe in Antibes and Morrison's Pub in Cannes (both are also hangouts for crews). It might be difficult to find dockage anywhere close to Monaco and one option might be to try the Italian side (Ventimiglia).
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Old 10-02-2010, 05:39   #8
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Have spent two seasons cruising that coast and it's great. Are you actually planning to see the grand prix and the Film Festival or is that coincidental? Would echo the comments about booking now, if you want to try and be in either place.

For Monaco - try Menton, either the old harbour or the new one for good facilities and easy bus ride to Monaco. Lots of very nice restaurants. Superyachts anchor off Monaco itself, but we haven't tried it. Wouldn't want to if any unsettlement in the weather. For Cannes, also try Mandlieu La Napoule or the anchorage outside Theoule. The anchorage is actually between the two marinas, which are about 500m apart by sea but a lot more by road! The Theoule harbour is small and crowded for a keel yacht but Mandlieu can be dear. The anchorage is very good, though deep, because it's really wel sheltered from mistral - we sat out a viscous one there, absolutely snug. Nice cocktail bars in Theoule, and a fascinating American sculpture museum in the 'castle-folly' at Mandlieu which also has a nice restaurant. Easy train to Cannes.

If you go the Iles Lerin, be aware that the anchorage between them gets very full during teh day but the one under the fortress north of Ile St Mageurite is good so long as you are not in the ferry track. Further west, St Tropez is good for a laugh. You can either anchor outside the harbour which makes it easy to get into the town, or in the little bay (Canabieres, from memory) just east which is very sheltered, nice swimming but a bus to St Tropez. The town itself is very glitzy but good for a laugh. The bar on the first floor of the htoel right on teh harbour front is gab for people watching.

Going east, off Antibes is a fab anchorage, with the silkiest water for swimming, and very curious gulls. You can dinghy into the little harbour at les Salins (sp?) at the southern end of the bay, haul dinghy up slipping ramp and get the free bus into Antibes itself - or go into the super posh marina and wangle a place for your dinghy. We did it once and they obviously thought we were riff-raff!

Rade de Villefranche gets a strong vote but watch out for a southerly. Also Nice harbour which we love, if you can get a place and explore Nice itself. We had a fab week there in 2008 for the Jazz Festival.

Marina fees quite variable - Antibes extremely expensive, Nice quite reasonable! Food equally variable in price and sadly the touristy traps can be v poor food. But stock up in a market and have good bread, cheese, wine, sausages on the boat. Nice has a lovely market, and Villefranche has a reasonable one on Saturdays.

Enjoy it all.
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Old 06-04-2010, 22:23   #9
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Question: As the marinas around Monaco are full during the Grand Prix, has anyone got any general information regarding anchorages in the area? I haven't sailed in that area as yet, but it would seem if it's blowing from the South that anchorages would be very limited? Any local knowledge is appreciated.

Thanks
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Old 07-04-2010, 01:31   #10
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St Jean les Pins, possibly Antibes, Theoule all close to the trains. Or Ile Lerin but not easy to get to Monaco.
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Old 07-04-2010, 03:01   #11
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Originally Posted by Burls View Post
Question: As the marinas around Monaco are full during the Grand Prix, has anyone got any general information regarding anchorages in the area? I haven't sailed in that area as yet, but it would seem if it's blowing from the South that anchorages would be very limited? Any local knowledge is appreciated.

Thanks
I have the same question. What are the prevailing winds down there? We're thinking about keeping our boat down there next summer (2011) and don't count on marina berths too much from what I've heard about crowding.
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Old 07-04-2010, 09:48   #12
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The winds vary a bit, with classic Med wind-holes at various times of day. As you get east you can also be affected by the Alps, and of course further west you are more affected by the mistral.

You need to keep an eye on the weather both for the mistral, and to see if you are getting a (usually short) windshift which will make your particular anchorage untenable. Almost all the time, if such a wind is coming, then you can move.

Marinas do get v full, particularly in a mistral forecast. We begged and pleaded our way into Nice 2 years ago just head of 50kt southerlies. If we'd had to we would have gone to St Jean, but certainly could not have stayed in the Rade de Villefranche. So it is not wise to count on a berth in the high season.

We have spent two excellent cruises (1x3 months, 1 x 1month) on the Riviera and thoroughly enjoyed it, and indeed spent little money once we got the various anchoring spots sussed out.

My earlier comment was specifically about southerlies, and finding anchorages which will get you to Monaco. If you do not have those two constraints to worry about there are many many places to go.

Best mistral hideholes east of Toulon - Theoule, bay east of St Tropez, Port Man - but there are others as well.
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Old 07-04-2010, 09:53   #13
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St Jean les Pins, possibly Antibes, Theoule all close to the trains. Or Ile Lerin but not easy to get to Monaco.
I believe that should be Juan-les-Pins, Roaring Girl, but good information, still.

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Old 07-04-2010, 10:01   #14
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Well actually I meant St Jean Cap Ferrat, where the anchorage v well protected from the South, and is not far from Monaco. But Juan les Pins, while less protected, has a marina and you could get to Antibes easily. It has a good music festival too.
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Old 07-04-2010, 10:18   #15
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Thanks for the great information .

Roaring girl, from your post it sounds like there are a number of anchorages available around the French Riviera, even when the Mistral is blowing? We generally like to stay in anchorages for both the peace and quiet and due to the cost factor, and all I have on the area at the moment is a ‘Pilot’ book which doesn’t show many anchorages at all, which had me concerned. Should I sleep-easy now or is it still a long way between anchorages in that general area? How is the anchorage situation more to the West, say between Canet and Marseilles?
Thanks and regards,
Burls
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