Rollers and high rollers


Beneteau put us up just outside the Monaco border in Cap d’Ail to test 3 new yachts. Anyone with Med knowledge will know it’s not the greatest place to test (they were also launching two new Monte Carlo motor boats, hence the location) and so it proved.

Tuesday was all sexy blue Corniche-coloured skies and 5 knots of wind, Wednesday a short, aggressive 1 metre swell with glowering skies and scudding low cloud shoved on by a 20 knot south-easterly – great day for sailing, dodgy for pictures. Thursday was back to blue with a giddy 8 knots but the swell remained, punching the life out of any serious boat testing.

But, when in Rome… Three of IPC’s most wildly optimistic took their chance and headed up to the casino. With ?50 to burn (‘Who needs shoes anyway?’), tieless and distinctly low-rolling, we gamely hid our surprise at being let in at all and headed for the tables with long gins in hand. Roulette: ‘These guys are putting down, like, 20 chips in a go. I don’t get this at all.’ Which left blackjack. ?25 table, the cheapest there. That’s two hands. First hand: two 8s. Split. Bust. Twice. 30 seconds after my bank breaking effort begins, I’m out.

The other yachtie doubled his money but the third – all throttles, fly bridges and sharp suits – walked away with ?275. The rag-stick schism would have deepened Marianas-style were it not for his magnanimity at the bar. Les jeux sont faits. Oui, vraiment.