Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Yachts Yachts Yachts

     Having lived in the South of France for the last 3 years or so, we always knew it was an affluent area. The weather is beautiful almost year round, the water is a picturesque bright blue and the joie de vivre can't be beat. But what we didn't know was the massive draw it was, specifically Antibes, to some of the world's largest yachts. The last few weeks, we have seen yacht after yacht cruise on in, either anchor off shore or moor at Port Vauban in Antibes, stay for a few days, then head back out to sea only to be replaced by an equally large yacht in it's place. Then, factor that in with the fact that most of our new friends here outside of basketball have either worked on said yachts or currently work for companies that host these yachts and it almost became to much for me not to have a little knowledge of the 'yachting life' here in Antibes. So off to the Internet I went to find out a little more about our 'new home'. Turns out,  Port Vauban in Antibes is the largest yachting harbor in Europe. It has over 2,000 moorings and can host yachts over 100 meters (330 ft) and that it does, frequently. Little side story...I was talking to a friend who used to work on a yacht but now just acts as a liaison for the crews when they are here in Antibes and long story short, she told me she lived on a yacht her first 2 years here. She said the yacht was large and the owner required drug testing on a frequent basis. I asked if I would know who the owner was and she asked me if I knew who Paul Allen was...yeah, that Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft and owner of the Seahawks and Trailblazers. At that time, Paul Allen's Octopus was the world's largest yacht at 126 meters (414 feet). Seriously, 414 feet though. But not to be outdone, Roman Abramovich (owner of Chelsea FC and I am sure many other things) since built a yacht, Eclipse, that know holds the record for being the biggest personal yacht in the world at 170 meters (557 feet long). The Eclipse has 2 helicopter pads, 24 guest rooms, 2 swimming pools, multiple hot tubs, a submarine, 3 launch boats, bullet proof windows, a German missile defense system and paparazzi scrambling lasers. Oh, and it needs a crew of 70 to run. Abramovich has a house on Cap d'Antibes but is unable to moor the Eclipse at his house so he has to leave it at Port Vauban but since there is only 1 slip large enough to hold a yacht that size, it takes a little planning. Apparently last year he ran into a bit of a snag since he showed up to Antibes and a Saudi prince had his puny little boat (265 feet) in the only slip big enough to accommodate Abramovich's Eclipse ...can you imagine the gall of that Saudi prince? I wonder if he does what I do when I pull into our garage and some one is in our parking spot? Just lay on the horn until someone comes out and moves. If not, let me tell you Roman, it works. Not willing to move, he had to drop anchor just off shore and use of of the 3 boats to get to his villa on shore. Rumor has it, he is less than thrilled by the constant hounding of the paparazzi when he is here. Maybe Roman, if you didn't arrive on something resembling a small city, you could go under the radar a bit, but until then, suck it up. You be the judge, would you notice a boat like the one in the first picture...?

{Abramovich's Eclipse towering over the beach in Antibes}
{Fort Carre overlooking Antibes Harbor}

{Yacht off the coast of Nice, you know it's big when it makes the helicopter look like a toy}

{Off coast of Antibes}
{Port Vauban, the Quai des Milliardaires, where the big players roll}

No comments:

Post a Comment