Back to Monaco this month for the yacht show. I was last there in July helping to cut the ribbon on the brand new Yacht Club de Monaco, the highlight of which was playing with my band in the main bar. There was endless Champagne, justifying the historic occasion! Everything the club does for yachting in the area is really quite special and I’m proud to be a member, but I’m also a member of the oldest yacht club in the world, the Royal Cork Yacht Club in Ireland, which was established in 1720 when a local lord and some friends got together and thought it was a good idea to start a sailing club.
The three passions in my life are motor racing, music and sailing. I’ve had the chance to do all three of them in this life, so I’m very lucky. But I raced boats long before I raced cars and that’s a very unusual thing to say. Most kids start with karting.
I went the other way around: I started racing dinghies just south of Dún Laoghaire in a place called Bray (south of Dublin), which is where I started life. I remember in 1966-67 doing the Irish 420 championships and then racing 505s, up to Lasers. I became involved in motor racing and did nothing with the sea for 20 or 30 years until about 1986, when I bought my first Sunseeker, a 27 Mohawk.
Since then, I’ve never had a year without a Sunseeker. This year I completed a circumnavigation in my Oyster 885, Lush. So I’ve got three boats: the new Sunseeker 155, a Sunseeker Manhattan 53 and Lush, which is massively extravagant for a pikey Paddy like me.
Most of my boats have been called Snapper, but I sold Chris Evans, the DJ, my old 37-metre Sunseeker and he refused to give up the name. He thought it was bad luck to rename the boat, so I said: “OK, you have Snapper – but when you sell it, the name comes back to me.”
I’ll say one thing beyond any doubt: having gone round the world to places like the Galápagos, the Marquesas and Bora Bora – the Mediterranean is still the best.
What it offers in terms of safety, food, nightlife, understanding of boating and yacht club fraternities is second to none. There’s nowhere quite like the Porquerolles Islands off Toulon and I adore Corsica, especially the north and west coasts and round from Porto-Vecchio to Bonifacio. I’m not a huge fan of Porto Cervo, it’s all a bit busy, but if you want to dress up, of course Portofino is gorgeous too.
If I’m back from a Formula One race and want to get away for a few days, I’ll head to a place called Anjuna (in Èze, France), where I have a rock ’n’ roll band and we play on Sundays.
We’re called The Robbers, which was a name given to me by Bernie Ecclestone. I asked him for something some time, and he said: “Jordan, you’re such a fucking robber.” And I said, “Thanks, Bernie, you’ve given me a great name for a rock ’n’ roll band.” It’s very close to the homes of two people from a very famous Irish band and they come and play.
Lots of people pitch up and it’s a complete hoot on a Sunday afternoon. Everyone gets a little bit loopy dancing on tables and things at four o’clock in the afternoon. It’s not anything I’d like my mother to see me doing!
When I was doing the circumnavigation we had Mike Rutherford from Genesis and Roger Taylor from Queen on board and had a party day. I like action and if it has to be non-sporting, it has to be music. If it’s sporting, then sailing and racing comes before motor racing at this stage, but that’s only because I’ve spent 35 years of my life deeply engrossed and embedded in motor racing.
Everyone does silly things. I was a complete clown in a place called Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands. It was just after New Year’s Eve and God knows what I had to drink or eat the night before, but I couldn’t get the anchor up.
So I’m being somewhat boisterous, explaining to my wife what I need to do, and I’m going backwards and forwards and she asks: “What is that noise?” It was the tender getting pulled under the boat and sinking after its rope went round the prop.
I had the most horrific hangover and spent the rest of the morning with a knife trying to cut the rope off the prop to get the tender back up.