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Mediterranean France & Corsica Pilot: Book Review

By doina — last modified May 23, 2008 02:19 PM

Published: 2008-05-23 14:19:22
Topics: Books,Charts and DVDs
Countries: France

Mediterranean France & Corsica Pilot
4th edition
Rod Heikell
ISBN 978-085288969-5
Rec. UK price £37.50

This new edition is a great improvement on the previous one which has been thoroughly revised and updated by the Imray’s prolific author Rod Heikell. The French coast stretching from Spain to Italy, and especially its world famous Cote d’Azur, has been a favourite tourist destination for hundreds of years and many of those visitors have arrived by sea. Yet in spite of its many attractions, relatively few foreign yachts cruise this part of France and probably the main reason is the shortage of sheltered natural anchorages. The French have more than made up for this by building a string of marinas but finding a place in one of them is a continual frustration for visiting sailors. The author must have encountered the same problem himself as he wisely starts each separate section with a brief description of suitable harbours and anchorages. These are listed under the generic title of “Shoestring cruising” although there is no doubt that even sailors who do not normally cruise on a limited budget will be grateful for these useful tips. Another useful addition to the current edition is a detailed overview of the southern inland waterways that includes the well known shortcut between the Atlantic and the Med, the Canal du Midi.

The last section of the guide is taken up by a comprehensive description of Corsica which many sailors consider to be a more attractive cruising destination than mainland France with the added advantage of being spared most of its shortfalls even if weather conditions may be more challenging.

The author’s thorough knowledge of the area comes through on every page not just in the descriptions of ports or marinas but also in the notes on local attractions and their background, from the origins of the Provençal language to that of the perfume industry in Grasse. Highly recommended.