Julia Jones, Yachting Monthly's literary reviewer has a look through the North Brittany and Channel Islands: Cruising Companion

The  North Brittany and Channel Islands Cruising Companion is a sailing book that epitomises the best qualities of a cruising companion.

It’s thorough, well-informed, full of good suggestions and possesses the invaluable quality of intensifying enjoyment without bossily directing it.

It covers the area from Cherbourg and the Contenin peninsula to Ushant and the harbours of the Chenal du Four.

An example of unexpectedness is the reminder that Ushant / Ile d’Ouessant is more than an iconic seamark, it’s also a community which, if you have time and the weather is settled you might visit.

Poignant completion

This third edition, based on years of thoughtful and detailed exploration, has been completed by Jane Cumberlidge following her husband’s untimely death in 2019.

In practical terms it contains information about new marinas at St Cast and Roscoff, and developments at Carteret, St Peter Port, L’Aber-Wrac’h among others.

A few fishing harbours have become closed to visiting yachts and, as British yachtsmen struggle to come to terms with the realities of Brexit as well as the Covid-19 restrictions, there may be moments when this companion seems to be speaking from a vanished world – only temporarily gone, we hope.

The Cumberlidges evidently relished the level of ‘intricate navigational challenge’ involved in negotiating this coastline of rocks, fierce tides and shallow anchorages.

They acknowledge the invaluable assistance of chart plotters and GPS as well as the difference made by the faster cruising speed of modern yachts yet the default language remains that of cables, transits and clearing lines.

Enticing guide

Many of the photos feature traditional wooden craft as well as their own lovely 1936 Stormalong.

There’s also an atmospheric collection of images of beacons, lighthouses and leading marks as well as rock-strewn seascapes.

A good companion advises you not only how to travel safely but reminds you why you want to do so.

Creperies, boulangeries and restaurants are well documented and enticing throughout this guide.

What makes this volume so especially good is the quality of the writing which evokes the different atmospheres of these varied and fascinating areas.

It’s an absolutely desirable purchase and memorial to a cruising lifetime well spent.

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