Yachting Monthly literary critic Julia Jones examines the latest edition of the Mediterranean Spain pilot book, which covers from the Strait of Gibraltar to the French border
Royal Cruising Club / Imray Pilotage Foundation £ 45
Mediterranean Spain covers the shipping area along the Spanish mainland from the Strait of Gibraltar to the border with France.
This latest edition, which was published in May 2021, must have been a particularly difficult task for research.
There is obvious uncertainty as to the impact of Brexit in its introduction, nevertheless, with so many uncertainties remaining a year after the UK’s official departure, it’s hard to imagine a potential cruiser not taking the blame. personal to get the final directions before you go.
One aspect that has perhaps become clearer over the past year is that no single source of information is likely to be sufficient – if it ever was.
So what should a potential buyer look for in a pilot guidebook and can this Mediterranean Spain edition provide that?
The 2020 closures and travel bans will have made the most recent on-site information extremely difficult to obtain, even when an author is based in the region.
On the other hand, lockdowns will also have had an impact on the rate of change when many development projects have been put on hold and many yachts have remained static in their berths.
The use of a large number of new aerial photos, covering the coastline and the approaches to the port, is an obviously constructive response and of course it is fortunate that Pickard is a long-time expert on the subject.
His experience provides the “global wisdom” one expects from a pilot guide.
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Much meticulous research has been carried out to verify the anchoring qualities of a multitude of individual shims.
This gives the reader of the pilot guide the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the characteristics of a coastline and provides the essential basis for pre-planning.
There are many cautions regarding the depths and potential siltation to encourage caution when you are finally on the water.
In fact, there were times when I wondered if the author’s personal passion for this coast had not been unduly suppressed.
Every now and then I started to wonder why I would want to visit this area anyway.
The guide is divided into six chapters covering the Costa del Sol, Costa Blanca, Costa del Azahar, Costa Dorada and Costa Brava.
It is a vast territory with complex and very varied arrangements for the management of ports and marinas.
Again, there is a great deal of factual information to provide the basis for pre-cruise planning and to facilitate a change of plan if the weather conditions require it or the facilities are not as expected.
A pilot guide is not the same as a fellow cruise ship, but when I listened to Steve Pickard being interviewed on an associated podcast, I was warmed by his obvious love for the area – its history, climate and his kitchen.
He mentioned the “coffee table” aspect of these beautifully presented books.
I think he could have afforded just a little more text foam and sprinkle to liven up the reading experience.
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