If you are planning to cruise through France to the Med this season, then Through France via the Inland Waterways is essential reading, says Julia Jones
Through France via the Inland Waterways
Gordon Knight & David Edwards-May
Cruising Association, £17.50
It treats the French canal system as a means to an end, rather than an end in itself.
Those who wish to linger and explore in depth already have a range of book choices, including The Inland Waterways of France by David Edwards-May which comes in three volumes and has recently been issued in its 9th edition.
Alternatively, there is the ‘bible’ – Gordon Knight’s Cruising the Inland Waterways of France and Belgium which is in its 26th edition.
This new publication taps into the knowledge of both authors: the authorship is credited to Gordon Knight, as editor, the maps to David Edwards-May.
Through France via the Inland Waterways advises on the practical aspects of travelling from the Channel to the Med.
Will your boat fit through the tunnels? How can you arrange mast transport? What paperwork and equipment do you need?
As with all CA publications there are delightful little gifts from individual experience, for example, as French lock keepers don’t like having warps chucked up at them, remember to take a long boathook so you can pass them politely.
For home-waters sailors who are considering a holiday cruise to France, Ken Endean looks at the options for making a…
Yachting Monthly's literary reviewer Julia Jones examines the latest edition of the pilot book Mediterranean Spain, which covers from the…
The best sailing books of 2021? Julia Jones reviews the latest maritime reading
From buying a suitable yacht to negotiating 371 locks, three tunnels and travelling 1,400 miles from Fareham, Lizzy Bolan shares…
Useful vocabulary snippets are incorporated into the text such as ‘chomage’ for closure, ‘horaire’ for timetable and instructions for use of the ‘telecommande’ devices.
These are explained as being similar to a TV remote control – which may not necessarily fill one with confidence.
The bulk of the 136 page volume maps the pathways from the points of entry at Dunkerque, Calais, St Valery, Le Havre, Honfleur and Pauillac via the Loire or Bourbonnais Route, the Marne Route, Burgundy Route, River Rhone or the Midi Route.
It makes them all sound do-able.
The direction of instructions is from North to South with a useful section on entering the Med. It may be that once there no one will ever willingly want to return.
Nevertheless scattered hints (such as the strength of tidal streams in the Rhone) suggest that merely reversing the direction of instructions may not always be sufficient.
Perhaps a page or two of clarification might usefully be added in a future edition.
Meanwhile I can’t imagine anyone wanting to consider the transit without consulting this volume.
The book is free to download for Cruising Association members.
Note: We may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site, at no extra cost to you. This doesn’t affect our editorial independence.
Visit the Yachting Monthly Book Club for more of the best sailing books released this year.
Enjoyed reading Through France via the Inland Waterways: book review?
A subscription to Yachting Monthly magazine costs around 40% less than the cover price.
Print and digital editions are available through Magazines Direct – where you can also find the latest deals.
YM is packed with information to help you get the most from your time on the water.
- Take your seamanship to the next level with tips, advice and skills from our experts
- Impartial in-depth reviews of the latest yachts and equipment
- Cruising guides to help you reach those dream destinations