Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Cannes to St Tropez. And Stop.

I’m very excited for many reasons. The first reason is that I am writing this at all. I have a whole day, internet and plenty to write about and if I’m perfectly honest I’ve missed you. So ‘Hi’, it’s good to be back.

My second reason is that yesterday myself and the other weary crew members of Mariquita moved into our winter accommodation, ‘The Crew House’ in La Garde Freinet, Cogolin, France. And we’re here for a while folks.

3rd reason is I cleaned my computer screen so I can actually see what I’m writing. I didn’t realise it had got so bad. But moving on;

Last night I slept in an actual double bed. In fact right now I am propped up, sitting cross legged with my lap top actually here on my lap, on said double bed. I am no longer sleeping in a fold-down boat cot. If I chose to I could star-fish in it (minus boyfriend). I have a wardrobe, space to swing a cat, an actual dresser to put my mini ‘Boots’ store on display. I have a great view the other side of two large windows in the room and real outside light flinging itself in here willy-nilly like it just don’t care.

I have space and privacy. To be frank I am in heaven.

Mariquita’s race season has ended and before I go any further I’ll just let you know that as well as winning the Monaco classic yacht regatta, we also won the Voile De St Tropez too!  Mariquita does alright for a hundred year old lady. But I would like to mention that the reason that I haven’t sent a blog in ages is because I have been incredibly busy with the Cannes and St Tropez regattas, sandwich making, guests and owners staying onboard, cooking for crew and guests, sailing and maybe a small amount of important socialising. And then I went and caught a cold on top of everything which made all of the above twice as hard. Oh woeth me...

We did do well and it has been a lot of fun with some great sailing. The first two days of Cannes were real nail bighting, howling wind days. We were all harnessed on with the rail fully under the water which threatened regularly to take our legs from under us whilst hauling on the staysail jigger. After the second day of it I was absolutely exhausted. But we needn’t have worried because from then on and all the way through St Tropez, we had nothing. Nadda. No wind what-so-ever. 

As we were the cup holders of the ‘Le Club 55 Challenge’ which falls on the ‘rest’ day of the regatta in St Tropez, we challenged the beautiful schooner Altair to race us to lunch at the famous 55 restaurant. I know, what a bummer eh?

Inevitably and fashionably there was no wind so after bobbing in the right direction a bit faster then Altair we decided to abandon the race and with the help of our engines head straight for lunch and plenty of chilled rosé. What a feast the restaurant had put on for us in such an idyllic setting. Of course, lots of sailors mixed with lots of free rosé is a brave commitment and a guarantee of noise and unruly behaviour. However both boats had owners present so we were forced to behave with a modicum of control and all food fights were subdued and carried out under the table instead.

On our way to Le Club 55 in one of the boats provided

Winning St Tropez regatta was a fitting end to Mariquita’s 100th year and we are proud of ourselves and of the boat. We couldn’t have sailed her any better then we did. It is sad to be at the end of the racing season but have plenty to look back on over the 8 regattas we’ve undertaken since May.

Thats me there checking on the trim.

What now? Well we will begin the task of stripping Mariquita down for the winter. This is her period of maintenance and repair and why she still looks so beautiful at such a grand old age. We will sand and varnish, paint and mend, inside and out. Sails will be washed, rigging dismantled and the crew will go to physiotherapy.

I honestly couldn’t do any more regattas. I am tired and my shoulder is buggered. I have lived on the boat for 6 months with a poky cabin, tiny bunk sharing one small bathroom with 7 others and I’m more than ready to be here in our crew house in my room with a view.

So that’s not the end of 33 Degrees. It’s just another phase of my year on board Mariquita. And believe me, there is plenty to look forward to. If I said; Wild boar, chestnut festivals and mushroom foraging I’m sure you’ll understand why I’m so excited about being here. And of course I will still be cooking lunch everyday on the boat for the crew.

Thanks for staying with me and coping with such a long-winded blog. I promise many recipes and adventures on and off the boat and it’ll all begin tomorrow.

Hungry for the next phase and keen as mustard.


Chris Tibbs, our weather guru explaining about thermals and sea breezes...or just wondering where the wind has gone.

Big boats, little boats, St Tropez.

It might look like we're going quite fast here. But we're not.

Le Club 55

It takes most of the crew to lift the jackyard to be stowed at the shrouds.