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The Channel Islands Book Review: Noonsite Book Of The Month

By doina — last modified Mar 13, 2007 12:57 PM

Published: 2007-03-13 12:57:53
Topics: Books,Charts and DVDs
Countries: Channel Islands , France

The Channel Islands

Peter Carnegie

RCC Pilotage Foundation & Imray Publishers

2nd edition 2006

UK recommended price £29.50

ISBN 978 085288 7905

This small group of islands, islets and rocks close to France’s Normandy coast are one of the most attractive cruising grounds in Europe. Thousands of yachts, mostly British and French, call at the islands every year, quite undeterred by the often difficult sailing conditions. Weather conditions can often be tricky and the tides are among the strongest in the world with rates of almost twice a boat speed not at all uncommon. This is why accurate navigation is so vitally important and a good guide absolutely essential. Peter Carnegie is a local sailor based in Jersey and he took on the challenging task of not only thoroughly updating Nick Heath’s original version, first published in 1997, but to actually sail on his own 42 foot yacht Caprice on every single route described in this comprehensive guide. The author’s thorough personal knowledge comes through on every page and, as he points out himself, now that everyone depends almost entirely on GPS as a means of navigation, with its inherent drawbacks in these treacherous waters, he decided to steer a middle course between waypoint navigation and traditional methods. In this way, every route or approach is accompanied by a string of waypoints set at every critical point, the true course to be steered, suggested transits to be taken and the most useful visual marks to look out for. As in all other Imray guides, the plans and diagrams are clear, precise and of excellent quality. There are also the author’s very useful colour photographs depicting shore features, rocks, lighthouses, buoys, beacons, and any other mark that may help the navigator identify the recommended course.

Sailing in these waters can be a nail-biting challenge even to experienced navigators and even the author admits that going to some of the out of the way places may not be easy on everyone’s nerves. This is why in his preface he half-jokes when he says that an alternative title for this book should be “How to get lost in the Channel Islands”. Fortunately his book does its best to show the reader how to avoid this. The guide covers in great detail all anchorages, ports and marinas both in the main islands of Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney, Herm and Sark, and also the remote Minkies (Les Minquiers) and Les Ecrehous. For the first time the French Iles Chausey are also covered. Existing shore facilities are included at every place, even if, as on the Minkies, they only consists of a lonely toilet, apparently the southernmost in Britain.

With the publication of this greatly improved new edition of this cruising guide the Royal Cruising Club Pilotage Foundation, and the author Peter Carnegie, will earn the gratitude of countless sailors who will now be able to enjoy the many attractions of the Channel Islands in much greater safety.

Note: The publishers have also prepared a matching Imray chart pack, which has involved the author Peter Carnegie. It is available for £35

For further information about the Royal Cruising Club Pilotage Foundation visit

For a complete list of cruising guides, charts, nautical books as well as regular supplements to existing publications go to