Cruising the Inland Waterways of France & Belgium

The 2019 edition of this unique and authoritative guide to the inland waterways of Belgium and France is the 23rd edition. Reflecting the two-way interaction between the Cruising Association and its Members, the guide has been built and updated each year by the contributions of Members from their experiences of sailing these waters. – Outstanding, Most Highly Recommended

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NAME: Cruising the Inland Waterways of France & Belgium
FILE: R2779
AUTHOR: Dr Roger Edgar, Gordon Knight
PUBLISHER: Lulu, Cruising Association
BINDING: soft back 
PAGES: 204
PRICE: £25.00
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: Inland waterways, canals, lakes, France, Belgium, yachting, boating, 
estuaries, sea going craft, canal boats, motor boats

ISBN: 978-0-244-45003-8

IMAGE: B2779.jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/y7a2yvb3
LINKS:  
DESCRIPTION:  The 2019 edition of this unique and authoritative guide to 
the inland waterways of Belgium and France is the 23rd edition.  Reflecting 
the two-way interaction between the Cruising Association and its Members, the 
guide has been built and updated each year by the contributions of Members
 from their experiences of sailing these waters. - Outstanding, Most Highly
 Recommended

The British inland waters include canals but the majority of the canal miles are suitable only for the 
specialized narrow boats that were built for them. The result is that although it is possible to enter 
the canal system at several points from the sea, and exit back to the sea at several points, the narrow 
boat is unsuitable for use beyond sheltered waters. There are exceptions, such as the Broads National 
Park where flooded peat workings (the Broads/lakes) are connected by a river network but, even here,
 a lack of consideration has resulted in fixed bridges at several key points which are unsuitable for 
sailing craft that cannot lower their masts to shoot the bridges. That really only leaves the Caledonian 
canal as a suitable route of any distance, from the Scottish West Coast to the Scottish North East Coast, 
capable of transit by seagoing vessels.

Belgium and France have a rather different inland waterway network. Although there are some canal 
stretches that may be unsuitable for seagoing vessels, there are some 8,500 kilometres of waterways 
navigable by seagoing craft, including stretches suitable for relatively large commercial barges and 
other craft. This network is increasingly popular for those sailing in leisure craft and this has produced 
many guides to the waterways. Mostly these guides are more concerned with providing guides to the 
tourist attractions that can be reached from the network.

What marks the Cruising Association guide out from all the other guides is that it is a very practical 
and authoritative guide for skippers wishing to navigate the waters. Each year, Members who have 
recently navigated the network produce contributions for inclusion as updates to the next edition. The 
2019 edition has included 35 voluntary contributions from Members, adding to the generations of 
CA Members who have contributed in past years. This provides a quite unique source of expert 
knowledge that will serve very well anyone navigating the waters.

The guide is the 'bible' for CA Members but is available at an aggressively low price to anyone who 
wishes to purchase a copy, either direct from the on-line publications eShop of the Cruising Association,
 or from retailers, including Amazon, Lulu and Barnes & Noble. There is also the Captain's Mate, 
which is the Cruising Association's proprietary information App, but this is available only to CA 
Members. This guide includes details of CA Membership and its benefits, including a 25% discount 
off the first year's membership.

The layout of the guide is very clear and logical, it does provide a great deal of information about the 
attractions along the waterway network, but its great strength is the updated detail of locks, moorings, 
where to buy fuel, supplies and services, from the experiences of the CA Members. There is everything 
that the skipper needs to know.

For many CA Members and other sailors, the great attraction of the waterway network is that it can be 
entered from the sea, enabling sailors to come across the North Sea and Channel to enter the network 
at one of a number of access points and then either cruise within the network, or use it as a comfortable 
short cut to the Mediterranean. Today, many using the network will come to visit a specific part of the 
network for a defined period, probably for a week or two weeks, either using their own vessel, or 
traveling by air, rail, or ferry to pick up a hire boat. There are an increasing number of hire boat 
companies offering a range of vessels from basic craft to large luxury motor cruisers.

Before continuing into a detailed section by section guide to the waterways, the book begins with some 
very practical advice that every sailor of these waters needs to know, beginning with an Introduction 
and a very important 'Before You Go' guide to preparing for the voyage. There are then chapters 
covering Cruising Routes, Your Boat, Equipment, Practical cruising information. Supplies, and 
Communications. These chapters may appear obvious, but there is critical information to ensure that 
anyone sailing on their own vessel is able to comply with regulations and have aboard all of the 
documentation that may be required by the authorities to avoid rejection. They also provide the 
information to make the voyage comfortable and enjoyable, highlighting any pitfalls that can spoil 
the trip. At the same time the guide is very useful for those renting a boat because not every hire 
company provides full information packs in English, or much of a direct personal introduction to 
the vessel at pick up.

The detailed guide to sections of the waterways is arranged in the five groups of waterways. The first 
group is the Belgian and Northern French network that extends from the Channel access points down 
through Central France to the Mediterranean. The second, the isolated waterway accessed from the sea 
at St Malo, Redo and Nantes, terminating inland at Mayenne, Le Mans and Tours. The third that runs 
inland only to Niort. The fourth waterway, inland from the sea at Rochefort inland to Angouleme. The 
fifth waterway from the sea at Bordeaux, running down to the Mediterranean, with a link just inland 
from the coast to the main waterway network coming down from the Belgian and Northern French 
Channel Coast.

Although this guide is very much an assured and detailed navigation guide for cruising, it is also a 
very good source of information for those with more general interest in Belgium and France and 
those who are considering adopting cruising as a new interest. For the latter, the information about 
the Cruising Association, its benefits and membership will be very useful because it is a friendly
 organization that is there for its Members.