On Terra Firma in the Med

29 September 2011 By Claire Griffiths

The shadows slide long over the dock these days as we slowly slip out of the Mediterranean summer and the pace in yachting life shifts down before revving up for the Caribbean kick-off.

As superyachts slink into the shipyards for a spot of private TLC, during the down days, crew have time for their own recharge — collecting up the bits of body, soul and brain power that were unraveled along the Riviera as they powered through a punishing schedule to keep all those who sailed with them whipped up in a puff ball of perfect pleasure.

If you’re feeling strong (and virtuous), now is the time to study the new Passenger Yacht Code and the pre-consultation paper LY3 or take the next step on your hike higher up the ladder — be it a baking master class, revisiting basic fire fighting, a creative canapés course or a Yachtmaster Offshore Practical, there is no time like the present to take those courses and CV add-ons.

Meanwhile, make the most of your days on terra firma. Smart folk spend their days foraging the forests and having rustic, olden day romps. Gather chestnuts and wander through the vineyards during the wine harvest in October, pick a porcini mushrooms and join the olive harvest in November and snuffle for truffles — another fall pastime in the Med. Organized weekends away or one-day wonders can be found that incorporate all these rustic rituals before you get back on your boat. Information on winetasting tours can be found at; Plan your truffle hunt with; Check out the harvest festivals at;

Since you have got your feet on dry land, why don’t you start walking? Rambler’s Week (Semaine de la Randonnee) in the Var takes place October 8 to 16, and offers over 160 free, guided walks through the countryside (; If running is more your speed, sign up for a marathon in Lyon, Montpellier, Nice-Cannes, Florence, Venice, Pisa and Palma de Majorca, which scatter the calendar between now and the end of November ( Once you’ve licked all that, go cling to a mountain cliff along the old WWI and WWII vie ferrate routes of the Dolomites and French and Italian Alps (

If you want to dig deeper into the earth’s core, visit the splendid tunnels and cathedral-size vaults of the marble quarries of the Apuan Alps ( you must chisel a chip off an old block, book into a sculpture course at Carrara at