his is an age old question. So, you are making your first foray into the yachting world and you are trying to work out where to base yourself. Where to go? Palma or Antibes? Obviously you don’t have to live in either of these but you need to have easy access to both as this is where all the action is!
There are a few pros and cons to both:..
Antibes is in the south of France between Cannes and Nice. It was a picturesque old fishing village originally which has developed over time. Full of restaurants, bars and pretty average shopping, it is a yachting mecca and the place where it all began for yachting.
- Antibes has the International Quay which can hold a significant number of yachts over 100 metres. This is one of the few places in the world that can accommodate a large number of yachts around 100m. You also have Port Vauban and the Capitanerie Quay which are home to a selection of 20m plus yachts.
- Antibes has one of the largest concentrations of yachts in the south of France.
- There is a great public transport network in France. Well, great is probably a bit strong but if you ignore the unreliable trains and the regular strikes, you do have access to a train line which can take you all the way up to Marseille and all the way down to Italy. That includes some beautiful ports, some not so pretty ones and a huge amount of yachts, far more than anywhere else in Europe all within a few hours on a train. There are literally dozens and dozens of different places you can dock walk and distribute your C.V. whilst attempting to pick up day work.
- There are also a large amount of crew agencies in Antibes and the surrounding areas. Whilst you can waste days registering with them all, there are a lot of them and some of them will help you. Upon presenting yourself at all the different offices you will meet with differing approaches but this will be your first exposure to the rejection you will face in yachting. It is character building and all part of the charm of finding your first job.
- Beautiful scenery and easy access to Nice, Cannes and Monaco which are great places to spend time. You are living and working in what is unarguably one of the most glamorous places in the world.
- Antibes and the south of France in general are ridiculously expensive. Whether we are talking a pint in a bar, lunch in a café, a week in a crew house, a shop in the supermarket or an apartment – all of it is expensive. The only cheap things are bread, cheese and booze in the supermarket, which is handy as all 3 will most likely be fixtures in your pre yacht, yachting career.
- Arguably there is a certain lack of things to do in France compared to the UK and other yachtie centric countries.
Palma is a gorgeous city in Majorca, an amazing island full of beautiful beaches and coves, Ibiza isn’t too far away either!
- If you’re a sailor then Palma is definitely the destination for you, there are a lot more sail yachts there than there are in France.
- Palma and Majorca also have quite a few crew agencies too, but not as many as France.
- Palma will be busy with crew looking for their first opportunity but there is probably less there than in south of France.
- Palma is a great city with plenty of culture and things going on, it’s a great place to live.
- Everything is a lot cheaper than France. Your money will go a lot further, which when you have a limited budget is an important consideration. Often the difference between getting a job and not is how long you can survive before you run out of money. Drag it out and you stand significantly more chance of getting a job.
- Spanish is thought to be an easier language to learn than French and there is a more open and friendly feel to Palma than the south of France.
- Palma and Majorca have significantly less yachts in it than south of France. Less yachts means less jobs, less day work and less chance of the dream being fulfilled.
- The ports are a lot more challenging to get access to when looking for day work. They generally have security on them who won’t let you in, so day work is a lot harder to come by.
- Other parts of Majorca will have boats in them however they are a serious pain to get to. It will involve hiring cars and a serious chunk of time and money invested.
If I was looking to get a job in yachting again I would definitely base myself in the south of France. If I had plenty of cash saved or I was doing well with the day work, I would maybe try a week or two in Palma as well to break things up. If I was looking for somewhere to live with no work considerations I would choose Palma.
Good luck with whatever you decide!