If you're into yachts, like we are (or really into yachts, like Sperry) Les Voiles de St. Tropez is the destination regatta event of a lifetime. Firstly, it's in St. Tropez. Secondly, it's a week-long regatta with everything from pristine modern yachts to a Centenary class of classic yachts of all sizes and styles, all over one hundred years old. Les Voile de St. Tropez is the de facto annual goodbye party for the Med's sailing season. This year it runs from the 28th of September to the 3rd of October. (Step one, book your flight. Step two, pack your bag. Step three, gloat on Facebook.)
Whether you get out on the water to see the action up close, or you check out the action from the Port de St. Tropez—here's a taste of Les Voiles de St. Tropez.
OUT ON THE WATER ON RACE DAYS
You can get pretty close to the race boats if you're in a small, maneuvrable boat. But if there a two yachts in the same space, give them a wide berth.
IN ST. TROPEZ
There's a great view of the race from the port wall, but you'll need to bring binoculars and your big lens.
Walk along the main quay in the evening and check out the classic yachts up close. But don't step on the passerelle (not even for a quick photo), the crews spend a lot of time looking after the boats and are quite protective of them.
OTHER THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR
Keep an eye out for these little ducklings. They'll be the great sailors of the future.
You'll also see the famous, the wealthy, and the exceedingly wealthy in St. Tropez. We were there "with" Bono and Giorgio Armani. And the three-masted Maltese Falcon (below) is 290 feet long, the largest private sailboat in the world (you can charter is for about 550,000 a day - plus expenses).
A FEW TIPS FOR ST. TROPEZ
- St. Tropez is a pain to get to by land. There's one road in and one road out. Be patient.
- The fruit and veg market and fromagerie (cheese shop) are tucked away in a little courtyard, a row back from the main quay. You can duck through the fish market (that's easy to find, just follow your nose).
- You can buy English newspapers, and most of the people in the shops will speak English. But you'll have to ask. (Parlez-vous Anglais?)