Simon Fawcett on the joys of sailing his Predator 57 around the South of France
“I’ve been around boats all of my life, both recreationally and professionally,” says Simon Fawcett, speaking from Tarkuni, his Sunseeker Predator 57, as it sails around the French Riviera. “I was an officer cadet in the merchant navy and then an officer in the Royal Navy. So I’ve been around boats for both money and pleasure.”
Right now, it’s all about pleasure for Fawcett, who bought his current yacht at the beginning of last year. “It was the boat on the stand at the London Boat Show in 2017,” he explains. “The feature that sold it for me was what I call the ‘patio doors’ at the back end. They drop away hydraulically and connect the inside and outside seamlessly.”
Fawcett co-owns the yacht with a partner – and together they use a diary system to see when the other person has it booked.
“The nice thing is that we’re both friends and we’ve probably become better friends through sharing the boat,” he says. “We actually do a lot of sailing together, so it works very well.”
The pair, who both own second homes in the South of France, originally kept Tarkuni in La Rague near Cannes, but have recently moved it to Antibes, where it is more accessible. “We bought a berth in Antibes at the end of last year and we absolutely love it,” says Fawcett. “We’ve gotten to know the town very well – it’s a lovely place and we can park right next to the boat, plus it’s a very secure marina and we can easily walk into town.”
Fawcett isn’t new to the world of Sunseeker. He owned a Camargue 44 about 20 years ago, before selling it and returning to his other passion of sailing for a few years. “It’s important to have a boat that suits what you want to do with it,” explains Fawcett.
“When I had my last Sunseeker I had a very young family and we used it to sail in the Channel Islands. The convenience was what prompted the decision – with children, they get impatient so it gave us the security of being able to get around quite fast.”
Today, he tends to sail around the French Riviera at a much more leisurely pace with his wife and other family and friends, stopping off at favourite beachside restaurants as he goes. “Right now, we are heading for lunch at Anjuna Beach,” he explains. “It’s where Sunseeker took us last year for their Rendez-Vous. We are actually just sailing around Cap Ferrat as we speak.”
In addition to their prized lunch spot on Anjuna Beach at Eze Sur Mer, Fawcett also has a soft spot for La Guérite, a restaurant on Sainte-Marguerite, an island off Cannes. “They are both very lively and we’ve had some fantastic times there,” he says. There have also been trips to Saint-Tropez and Monaco – and there are loose plans to go to Corsica or Portofino at some point in the future.
For now though, the pace of the French Riviera suits Fawcett and his family perfectly. “We’ll go off in the morning, stop in a sheltered bay, play with the toys, have a swim, have a glass of champagne, then head on to a restaurant,” he says. The boat benefits from having a jet ski and a tender, along with a few inflatables, making it perfect for active days on the warm waters of the Med, but it’s the freedom that yacht ownership brings that appeals to Fawcett more than anything. “The best thing about having a yacht for me is flexibility. You can go where you want, when you want and at whatever speed you want.”
The decision to buy again with Sunseeker was an easy one for Fawcett, who was suitably impressed the first time around. “I think they build boats very well, and I like to buy British when I can, that’s important to me,” he explains. “If you look at the British competition, I would say Sunseeker are well ahead. They lead and the others follow.”
Beyond the product itself, the service offered by Sunseeker also appealed to Fawcett, prompting him to taking the plunge with the company once again. “They looked after me – and the back up support is great. It was a good experience and that, ultimately, is what it’s all about.”