Vieux-Port - Harbour, Cannes
When I was twenty I decided that if I did not marry I would buy a Dragon, in my opinion the most elegant of all sailing keel boats. As I did marry I forgot sailing but was very pleased to find 80 Dragons moored at the Yacht Club of Cannes for the "Régates Royales" at the end of September.
The Dragon produced since 1928 is still a successful international class with his 8,90 m length and 2 m width. Since the seventies the hulls have been build in glass reinforced polyester. Those in wood are now the "classics".
The Dragon has the reputation of being the most exciting and demanding keel boat to sail.
But what about the price of my former dream sailing boat?
A new Dragon costs about 150.000 € (the price of a Maserati car!), a second hand starts around 10.000 €.
Can you imagine what a fortune my photo represents?
Following the regattas in the bay of Cannes was impossible because of the distance but in the late afternoon when the yachts were back in the harbour, crews ranging sails and cleaning up, lot of amateurs assembled at the quay Saint-Pierre and quai Laubeuf on the west part of the Vieux-Port to admire the sailing boats called the 6 Meter Class, 8 Meter Class and 12 Meter class.
These yachts were designed uniquely to race. The rating rule was created in 1906 in London, that's probably why the class name in meters does not actually represent the length of the boat, which is based on a complicated mathematical equation. Actually the 6M JI class has a total length of 11 m, the 8M JI has a total length of 14 m and the 12 M JI class is 20 m long (this is the America’s Cup class).
Access to quays and pontoons was free so that everybody could see all details of these race sailing boats.
From the crowd I gained the impression that these regatta were not under doing in popularity for the film festival.
This year from 17/09 to 24/09/2011.
I was really lucky to be in Cannes at the end of Sept 2008 for the 30th Anniversary of Cannes' Régates Royales, Panerai Trophee, and to be able to see marvellous racing vessels built between the second half of the 19th Century and the end of the 20th.
This was a festival of passion and knowledge of building sailing boats, preserving and racing with them. Sure it is a passion for billionaires but what I like with these billionaires is the fact that they help carry through centuries a magnificent inheritance. There is also no common point with the billionaire's luxus motor yachts on the other side of the Cannes harbour; at the sailing yachts quays I could not distinguish the owners from the ordinary crew.
The classic yachts were moored at quay M. Laubeuf (west side of the Vieux-Port) and access to the quay and pontoons was free for the public.
These racing yachts are classified in three historical categories:
- Vintage Yachts built in wood or metal, before end 1949.
- Classic Yachts built in wood or metal before end 1975.
- Spirit of Tradition Yachts built since 1970 using modern techniques and materials, but respecting the look and the style of a traditional Yacht.
Furthermore there are the different types like Schooners, Yawls, Ketches, Gaff Cutters or Marconis.
Here I'm usually getting lost even if I know the difference between a Marconi and auric sail. Fortunately each vessel showed an explanatory board mentioning type and characteristics.
The "vintage yacht" on my first photo is the 32 m ketch "Thendara" from 1936.
The crew is taking the aperitif after the race.
After the classical visit to the (quite banal) stairs of the Palais des Festivals it is worthwhile to walk on the right side of that Palais towards the "Jetée Albert Edouard" where are moored a number of luxury or super motor yachts. Access to the quay is free.
I have to warn visitors: if you find this ostentatious type of luxury difficult to accept in a world of great misery, you might be perplexed.
If you are interested in naval forms, techniques and economics you might enjoy your visit. A lot of people live from this luxury yacht industry, from the builders to the guys who daily clean the yachts.
From the recent Monaco Yacht Show it appears that there is no recession in this industry. There are more than 900 super yachts (more than 10 million € per ship) in construction. The best shipyards (USA, Italy and Netherlands) have 2 -5 years waiting lists. The yachts are also getting bigger, there is now a category of mega yachts (50 - 100 m length); the Vieux-Port of Cannes is too small for them.
It is a fact that these luxury yachts spend most of their time in chic harbours and much less on the high sea. When I see them I wonder how seaworthy they are.
On a stormy North Sea I might prefer a trawler to a luxury yacht.
It was interesting to look at the ensigns of the racing yachts moored in the Vieux-Port as these flags flown at the stern of a boat indicate its nationality.
Most of them flow the "Red Ensign" (photo 2) from the British civilian vessels and the variations belonging to Commonwealth countries. The Red Ensign is a red flag with the Union Flag in the canton (the upper corner next the staff).
A remakable ensign often met on these racing yachts and also on the luxus motor yachts is that of the Isle of Man with the three conjoined legs called "triskelion", the symbol of Man (photo 1). The "triskelion" symbol goes back to the ancient Greek and is also found in the Norse mythology where it was a symbol of the movement of the sun through the heavens.
I suppose that nowadays the choice of this ensign of the Isle of Man, a Crown dependency, has some fiscal reasons what explains that there were more ensigns of "fiscal heavens" than of "fiscal hells" on the yachts.
Facing the Vieux Port and the large esplanade called "La Pantiéro" stands the Hôtel de Ville of Cannes.
This neoclassic building from 1876 is particularly representative of 19th-century architecture.
Each of its three levels has its own sculpted decoration. Bas-reliefs of coats-of-arms, attic level adorned with a series of caryatids. Originally, and until 1941, most of it housed the Museum of Natural History, when the City's administrative departments occupied the entire building.
I found the Mairie de Cannes better at night than in day-time because after a good meal of 'fruits de mer" with the appropriate Provencal white wine buildings are looking better than in day light.
Unfortunately I was not invited on board of one of these marvellous racing yachts participating to the Royal regattas although I might have refused an invitation.
I don't like to leave my shoes on a public quay!
Walking barefooted on a cold deck or on my socks, which I consider as too intimate to be shown in public, is not what I really like to do.
As you can see from my photo some well organized skippers put a basket for the visitors' sandals at the gangway.
Cannes is also a regular port of call for cruise ships. They can not enter the harbour and stay at anchor at a short distance from the beach.
The passengers are brought on land by shuttle boats. It takes time to get a thousand passengers in Cannes but from the ship the view on the bay of Cannes must be very nice so that I suppose that they are patient.
This ends my review of boats in the bay of Cannes. I started with the 9m "Dragon" sailing boat and ends with the large cruise ship of my photo.
A nice view on the Suquet hill with the Château de la Castre and the church Notre Dame de l'Espérance is the one you will see from the large esplanade called "La Pantiéro" at the Vieux Port.
La Pantiéro is in August the place for a music festival. In 2008 the music was electro, hip hop and rock. Young people are amazed when I tell them that I was a teenager when rock music started. Who did better than Bill Haley with "Rock around the clock" (1954)?
Walking on the Jetée Albert Edouard where are moored the biggest yachts is always interesting if you want to see what are the latest trends in yacht building or if you want to have a look at richness.
My interest goes to the naval architecture so that I found the contrast between slenderness of the two mast sailing boat squashed between clumsy motor yachts surrealistic.
I much liked two yachts moored at the Jetée Albert Edouard. The first because he had a red carpet on the quay. The same red carpet as on the stairs of the Palais des Festivals.
The other because of the original name "Naughty by Nature".
Playground for the rich and famous, as well as a dreamers holiday. The port area of Cannes is filled with pleasure watercraft from the dingy that takes one to and from the mooring of a yacht, the sailboat to the sloop, and the yachts to the super yachts. All of them at rest or on the move, spell money.
Cheap is not a word used at the port as many of the yachts are priced from $100,000 to $10,000,000. If you can afford it, then have a great sail. If not, dream away. Dreams really can come true. Hey, why not dig deep and come up with the amount to rent a boat for the day while in Cannes. They boats start at about 20 ft and a cost of E400 for the day and go up in size and price. But, what a thrill of a lifetime for one day at sea in Cannes.
Rank 31 in the worlds hundred largest yatchs is 235 foot Tueq (pronounced “Tewk”). The owner is reportedly the brother of Saudi Arabia’s King Fahd, Prince Salman. He and the rest of the royal family were spotted aboard the five-deck yacht by the French newspaper Le Monde last August. Moored here in Cannes.
Cannes has two large ports, le Vieux Port and Port Canto, each of which boasts an incredible collection of luxury yachts. Take a stroll through either port, particulary the smaller and more exclusive Port Canto, to admire these amazing yachts. The best time for the stroll is in the late afternoon or early evening before the sun sets.
Cannes port is a very popular tourist spot.Hundreds of boats and luxury yachts moor here every year.I walked along the Allees de la Liberte which was lined with beautiful palm trees and had a fantastic view of the harbour.Walking along the quay was great as i had a delighful view of the hills of Super-Cannes and the 1.5 mile long boulavard de la Croisette.Pretty little buildings line the front painted a mixture of bright colours.When i went here at night to have a drink in one of the many bars and restuarants i found it most romantic as the lights from them reflected in the water of the harbour and it looked very pretty indeed.
I enjoyed just walking along looking at the luxury yachts and dreaming about being rich ;-)