The 46 year old man took the yacht, called Lady-Ice, on Tuesday morning because he believed the CIA was following him.
He attempted to board other yachts in the town’s marina before finding the Lady-Ice. Witnesses saw his strange behaviour and alerted police.
Despite not having a boating licence, the man managed to set the yacht moving – but forgot to cast off, causing the engine to stall only 300 meters out of the quay.
On exiting the marina he hit and damaged five other boats.
Police and Nice’s maritime brigade quickly intercepted the self-made captain.
He later told the authorities he stole the boat to attempt to get to Africa. He had to flee France because the CIA was following him, with the intention of imposing sexual favours.
The man was already known to police. He is currently being kept in a psychiatric unit in Nice.