CHRISTIAN beams as he uncorks a chilled bottle of rosé and fills our glasses while his wife Christine brings homemade anchoiade spread and slices of baguette to the table and urges us to dig in.

From our comfy position at the stern of the boat, we watch our sons messing about in the water – tipping each other off the paddleboard and donning masks to snorkle in the clear waters.

It's the perfect summer day in the south of France with friends. Except for one thing.

We'd met our lovely hosts for the first time just a few hours earlier when they had picked us up in their stunning motorboat Black Swan from the port of Hyères.

We're trying out SamBoat – the Airbnb of the marine world – and we've struck gold.

Few of us have the cash to splash on a sleek powerboat sleeping six and with enough space for ten to relax.

Read more on boating holidays

Save £300 on your next Marella Cruise with destinations including the Med

Cruise with onboard gin distillery and infinity pools costs £70 each a night

And Black Swan comes complete with toilet, shower, kitchen and lounge as well as three outdoor spaces to relax.

But joining expert sailor Christian and his family mean we can enjoy the best of messing about on the water without taking responsibility for sailing ourselves.

For one day we could live the A-lister's lifestyle as they proudly showed off the unique island of Porquerolles, just off the coast of this stunning part of southern France.

As we motor across early morning from the port, Christine offers fresh filtered coffee and a tray of croissants and pain au chocolat.

Most read in Cruise


Save £300 on your next Marella Cruise with destinations including the Med


Visit five Greek destinations for just £79 a night – including your beer & wine


8 facts about the world's new largest cruise ship – which sails from Europe


Cruise with onboard gin distillery and infinity pools costs £70 each a night

The boys get to know each other while they relax on the cushions at the bow of the boat as we zip across calm seas in the sunshine.

Our first stop sees us anchor up in a stunning bay.

The kids dive in but us adults are happy to accept a lift in the family's little rib to the beach where we spread towels on a blissfully quiet shore and snooze to the sound of the buzzing cicadas.

A stroll into the island's interior along shaded paths reveals other stunning coastal views.

Then it's back on board to motor along the southern side's wild coastline, past ruined Napoleonic forts and crenellated medieval castles, admiring steep cliffs and secluded creeks.

We drop anchor in another bay – known for its calm waters – and share our picnic lunch with the family, adding thick slabs of fresh Provencal fougasse bread covered with cheese and local meats to their offerings of sweet melon and Parma ham.

A glass or two of rosé and we're all ready for a siesta – settling comfortably in shaded areas on deck for a snooze.

The boys are too excited to sleep – instead they set off to explore the craggy coastline.

When we awake, there's time for a refreshing dip before we clamber back on board and continue to get to know our hosts.

Christian reveals his reasons for welcoming families across the summer – the fee we pay helps towards the costs of running and maintaining the boat, and fuel.

And while we chat over coffee and cake as the afternoon winds on, he reveals another secret claim to fame – he's the presenter of a TV show on French TV called Maritime SOS – similar to Channel 4's Car SOS format but restoring old and forgotten boats for those in need.

He proudly shows us the trailers for the show and demonstrates how he'd restored his own beautiful boat.

Read More on The Sun

I’m a primary school teacher…the things I can’t stand kids bringing to school

I doubled my annual income thanks to my side hustle and made £99k in a year

We all reluctantly pack up and head back to the mainland, our last zip across the waves giving us a final chance to soak up the sun and admire the views.

As we moor up and bid the family goodbye, it's been a day where we've not only got to enjoy the best of life on the ocean wave, we genuinely feel like we've spent it with friends.


SAILING THERE: A day on Black Swan, organised via SamBoat, is from £590, based on up to ten sharing and with your own skipper. See

MORE INFO: has a host of boats and yachts, for day trips and longer charter, with or without skippers in more than 76 countries.

    Source: Read Full Article