By now you’ve arrived at page 80 and surely realised that the theme of this splendid edition of Swiss Style is Design. If you haven’t realised it, do please wake up and pay attention at the back. It’s too bad that some of us go to the trouble of writing for you and you’re not taking it in. Actually, I’m not taking much in either as I gaze out at the magnificent yachts moored in front of me in Cannes harbour. Almost without exception, they have individual design attributes that make me gasp. With envy and pleasure.
There’s the Lady Moura, a $210 million super-yacht with a 25-metre dining table made by Viscount Linley (for goodness sake, you know, the British Queen’s nephew; do get a grip) and an entire beach resort that hydraulically slides out of the side of the yacht, complete with palm trees and loungers. No, really, I’m not making this up. Promise. Nassir Al-Rashid is the owner.
Roman Abramovich has his $1.6 billion boy-toy, a 167- metre monster that needs 70 crew for the eleven guests. This comes with an on-board submarine, two helicopters and three boats, natch. But for sheer vulgarity, one has to look at the $3 billion gold plated tub being built for a Malaysian entrepreneur. It’s called History Supreme, designed by the UK jeweller, Stuart Hughes.
Looking from Cannes harbour over to the Iles Lérins, you might fancy a little boat trip. Certainly not on The History Supreme one hopes. The ferry takes about 15 minutes but if you decide to borrow a boat and do it yourself, it will take about 28 days because of all the up, down and sideways moves you’ll make. For obscure reasons, this is called tacking. Which makes no sense to me either.
I’d always thought tacking was what the odd job man did if I wanted another Rembrandt stuck up on the wall. English is full of deadly traps for the unwary. Confusingly, tacking is also a legal term relating to prioritising between two or more security interests arising over the same asset. Do we really want to go there? No, I thought not either. Of course, you’ll need a boat. Do wake up, please, I’m putting a great deal of effort into this. Major categories here include tankers, galleons, whalers, pirate ships and liners. The pirate ships are in Somalia, the galleons on the Spanish main or Disneyland: which basically leaves you with liners and tankers, both of which are in plentiful supply in Cannes harbour or nearby. You’ll have to supply your own “god-daughters” or “nieces” though – all blonde and with deliciously long legs naturellement.
Unquestionably, the best kind of boat is one that someone else has paid for and has extensively insured against your bumping into other boats, lighthouses or rocks. It’s useful if the owner is also a Yacht Club member or Commodore of the Club, with unlimited credit facilities at the bar and restaurant. The boat must come with a large and competent crew who understand nautical charts, nautical knot tying and nautical vernacular such as “Aye, aye me hearties”. Any Captain Birds- Eye lookalikes should be closely questioned as to their true nautical abilities beyond frying up a dish of fish fingers.
Inevitably, some of your passengers will become decidedly queasy. You should then stop to snack on oysters and garlic butter snails to settle their stomachs. This will make some of them suicidal. If you’ve been fortunate enough to have borrowed Mr. Al-Rashid’s Lady Moura, have a deck hand push the button that sends the beach resort sliding out of the boat and have the more queasy of your guests lie on the beach chairs as they digest their slippery and greasy snacks amidst the vigorous, bracing swell of the ocean.
Heigh ho, a Designers life on the ocean wave,
and Jolly boating weather, And a hay harvest breeze,
Blade on the feather, Shade off the trees, Swing, swing together, With the blade between your knees.
(Or, in this case, your head between your knees.)