The South of France is an adventurer’s paradise, with Cotignac being very well located. It’s pretty much an hour or two to any kind of activity you’d like to take part in; skiing in the Alps, water sports on the Med, hiking, climbing and canyoning in the Verdon Gorge to name a few.
Marcel co-owned a HalCat catamaran in South Africa and has a fair amount of sailing experience, but I’m most definitely a rookie. Luckily for people like me, there is a wonderful choice of École de voile (sailing schools) on the coast but also closer by.
We were introduced to a fab sailing club at le Lac de Sainte Croix, Centre Nautique Bauduen run by Franck Morel. Franck’s son Thomas and professional sailing partner, Andrea, helped rig up a Melges 20 boat, along with fellow Cotignacien and sailing enthusiast, Renaud.
Unlike our fair-weather sailing experience in South Africa, folk here go out on catamarans even in January, simply wearing a wetsuit, waterproof jacket and aqua booties. When it’s colder, full sailing gear is a requirement as can be seen in this video taken while the crew were learning the technical sportboat. Despite the sunny skies, it was around 2degC!
We later joined Franck in Cannes for the PACA regatta held at Cannes Jeunesse. It’s was a balmy 18 deg C, and seeing young kids running around outdoors, getting proper training and oodles of sailing experience was so exciting. One of Franck’s young crews even got top spot on the podium!
It’s a very exciting sport, and if you have the opportunity, follow a lesson or two in closed water, or on the Med at sailing schools like Yacht Club Londais in La Londe. Driving through coastal villages on the Côte d’Azur, you’re bound to find a sailing school perfect for you.