The choice of Barcelona as Ree's summer base was dictated partly by economy since French Riviera marina prices are now far higher than reasonable. Although Barcelona is a very short distance from the Riviera where we regularly charter, getting to and from the Riviera does mean crossing the Gulf of Lyon more often than we would like since this area is the source of most of the strong winds that afflict the Western Med when the infamous Mistral blows out of the gulf often fanning out over a huge area of sea and blowing sometimes for many a maddening day at gale force.
Our first crossing of this season was indeed a boisterous one, but with the memory of our windy Atlantic crossing still fresh in our minds it was mercifully brief and thus piece of cake. I am always surprised though how quickly the seas in this area build from placid to steep and high. Arriving on the Riviera we made our number at Monaco and awaited the arrival of guests for the Grand Prix period. The coast as ever looked fabulous in the early summer sun and clear air.
The anchorage outside the town of Monaco is seldom tranquil at this time of year but if it is required to get close to the action and electric atmosphere then normal criteria of what makes a good anchorage must be put on hold. No matter the rolling and tumbling outside the port, the whole place is definitely alive with pzazz on and off the water and once the practising and racing starts the noise of F1 engines flying through the tunnels is indescribable.
The event over, Ree cruised placidly along the coast for a few days more before droppping off and sailing back to Barcelona. The gulf, again, gave her a run for her money and it was nice to be back in the the calm and down to earth surroundings of Spain. We were conscious of an upcoming one month charter where preparation would be key and happy to have time to put all the details together.