The return of The Snake in St Tropez


From les Voiles de St Tropez your slytherin correspondent provides his tips for petanque and picking up femme fatales
The dignified, official motto of Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez is 'ad usque fidelis' (faithful to the end); a sentiment echoed in the introduction to the 2003 regatta by Dr. Jean-Michel Couve, Mayor of St. Tropez: "Come storm, flat calm, rain or heatwave you return…" The mayor, whose doctorate may well be in meteorology, wisely covered all possible weather conditions likely to effect the regatta and accurately predicted the following week’s varied conditions. On Monday the racing fleet experienced heavy rain, Tuesday saw a total lack of breeze and the 28-32 knots wind strength on Wednesday accompanied by 2.5 metre waves caused the cancellation of all racing…. Many inshore sailors will scoff and carp at the tendency of French regatta organisations to cancel racing when winds reach 20 knots or above. However, in France a racing authority’s hand is often forced by powers greater than the individual competitor’s enthusiasm and a devotion to yacht racing. Every region of the country has a local Préfecture; a hydra-headed body administrating and advising on every aspect of French life from keeping the public parks free from dog merde, to overseeing local elections. At every sailing event the Préfecture will post a warning next to, or on top of, the regatta’s Notice of Race. This serves as a reminder of the life-threatening and dire legal implications of allowing boats out in windy conditions. It is a sad legacy of the tragic accident during the 1995 Nioulargue Regatta in St. Tropez and not a faint-hearted or coude à la portière (literally: elbow out of the car window…i.e. very relaxed) attitude by a race organisation; just another example of the burgeoning French bureaucracy. Had the sailing conditions failed to improve there may have been some grumbling from a few of the competitors, but the spirit of this yachting fête

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