This new edition covers the Western coast of France bordering the Bay of Biscay and matches the high standard already achieved by the Cruising Companion series. For those who have yet to use a Wiley Nautical Cruisng Companion, this volume is an indispensable aid in planning a voyage to or through the stretch of coast.
NAME: West France Cruising Companion, 2nd Edition
CLASSIFICATION: Book reviews
AUTHOR: Neville Featherstone
PUBLISHER: Wiley Nautical
BINDING: Hard back
PRICE: GB £27.99
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: Cruising guide, West coast of France, L’Aberwrac’h to the Spanish border
DESCRIPTION: Any reader who has used a Wiley Nautical Cruising Companion needs only to know which stretch of coast is covered by a volume. The series of guides achieves a high common standard and a reliability that is highly regarded by sailors. This new edition covers the Western coast of France bordering the Bay of Biscay and matches the high standard already achieved by the Cruising Companion series. For those who have yet to use a Wiley Nautical Cruising Companion, this volume is an indispensable aid in planning a voyage to or through the stretch of coast. It will be equally useful to those who are intending to travel to the area by land and tour the coast, perhaps hiring a vessel at one or more points for a day trips or longer voyages. The Rivers Loire and Gironde head inland to some of the most attractive areas of France. Whether entering these rivers from the sea, or following them down to the coast, this guide provides more detail than most touring guidebooks. For sailors, this stretch of French coast features extensive tidal ranges and the Bay of Biscay is notorious for its violent storms. The author is an experienced sailor and a former naval aviator. This second edition is now in the standard Wiley Nautical A4 format which facilitates larger chartlets, diagrams and photographs. Naturally, accurate information is essential, but what really makes these Cruising Companions is the very high quality lavish illustration with full colour used throughout. This makes for a very impressive view of the West coast of France and the hinterland and the book represents exceptional value for money competing with some general photo essays covering the area. For the sailor, a Cruising Companion is not the only material required for a voyage but could be the only information required for initial planning once the decision has been made to sail to the area, it will be necessary to purchase charts and pilots, which may now be in electronic form rather than as paper-based information. Some find the use of electronic charting with GPS and all the other modern related aids is a great advantage for sailing, particularly for the occasional sailor who can buy the latest updated set of disks and enjoy the benefits of integrated communications and navigation systems. However, that can make a Cruising Guide even more important in the initial planning stages and when considering plan changes during a cruise. It is so much easier to flip through the pages of the companion than scroll through screens of data. Each port is described for the sailor with all the key information on tides and tidal streams, access and approaches. There is pilotage information and some may feel that this removes the need for separate pilots. Each set of port details includes useful information and facilities ashore, places to see and restaurants. This is followed by up-river information. As some of the rivers are extensive and provide access to the French canal network, large areas of interest inland are covered to some extent. That makes the companion equally useful to anyone touring the area by car, with advice on swimming conditions and ferries. Where a tourer might go from one coastal location to another and then hire a boat for short trips, sailors may cruise from port to port and then hire a car or a taxi to tour around inland. In the case of this companion, one well-marked feature is the Celm Range which stretches from just South of Pointe de Grave, down to Capbreton, with an access channel to Arcachon. As a French live firing range, this is not an area the sailor will want to enter.