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Map of the Upper Reaches of the River Medway

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17700
Imray
Paperback
978-184623-452-1
Imray Laurie Norie & Wilson Ltd
2012
1st
Q GBE
In Stock
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Review Date: 
21/05/2013

It was a surprise to be asked to review a map, but this is a first edition revising one that has been around since the 1950s and for the last 20 years as part of a “guide” with commentary by Derek Bowskill.

 

The content of this completely revised map has been annotated with notes and colour photographs by Dave Wise, who knows the river intimately from his experience as a canoeist.  The notes make interesting reading about the River and its surroundings giving fascinating insights which will help one enjoy a cruise along it, even though some of the photographs are already dated!

 

The Medway has been divided into three strips: Rochester to Maidstone; Maidstone to Yalding and Yalding to Tonbridge.  The first section is tidal as far as Allington Lock so one needs to make one’s tidal calculations for both bridge heights and depths of water to cater for both air and water drafts.

 

However, it is disturbing to find that along the non tidal reaches there are bridges with no height information shown, for example the footbridge by the Maidstone Canoe Club or the Anchor Footbridge shown on the Hampstead Lane Canal inset.  The solution is to download from the Environment Agency’s web site: Environment Agency - Guides and publications the comprehensive “Medway Navigation Bridge Profiles” but one should not have to!  Another useful guide from the Environment Agency is: the booklet “River Medway, A User’s Guide” published in 2006 and also downloadable as a pdf document.

 

Ian Galletti

Imray; £7.95; 2012

Yachtmaster Exercises for Sail and Power

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17809
Noice, Alison
Paperback
978-1-4081-7810-2
Adlard Coles Nautical
2012
106
3rd
D1
In Stock
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Review Date: 
16/05/2013

Companion to ‘Yachtmaster for Sail and Power’, also recently reviewed, this volume is by Alison Noice as well, sometime doyenne of the RYA training department.  Within its 106 full colour pages sets of exercises are provided, covering all aspects of the syllabus not just the navigation sections.  As is usual with these publications, a chart accompanies the book, in this case of the Channel Islands and adjacent waters not the fictitious 'RYA land' of the current training charts, and it is, depending on your view,  perhaps the better for that .  Those who are familiar with this area will know that with its fast tidal streams and rocks sticking up all over the place it can furnish a rich and demanding location for navigation, pilotage and passage planning exercises. 

Full explanation of the working is given in the answers section and all constructions are shown as they should appear on the chart.  If you can work your way successfully through this book then you should not have any problem with the exams.              

Mike Ferro

Adlard Coles Nautical, 3rd ed; £19.99; 2012

 

Accidental Sailor, The

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17806
Heikell, Rod
Paperback
978-0-9575849-0-7
Taniwha Press UK
2013
200
J46
In Stock
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Review Date: 
16/05/2013

I looked forward to reading this, the latest offering by the renowned sailing author and it did not disappoint. Rod Heikell, known as “Rod the God”, will be familiar to anyone who has sailed in Mediterranean waters for his very comprehensive and well researched Pilot books.

I thoroughly enjoyed this easy to read book recounting two passages that he took in the 70s and 80s with a companion. The first one was in an old 20 foot boat Roulette, which was sailed from the UK to Greece. One wonders how they managed with no electrics or battery and with a Tilley lamp for light and heat. A lead line was used to measure depth and there were no navigation lights or modern navaids. The second passage was on an equally old but smaller 18 foot Mirror Offshore boat Rozinante, which they managed to navigate along the length of the Danube to Turkey; this boat was also minimally equipped.

Both trips are described in a way that takes the reader there and the many amusing anecdotes are a delight. It is interesting to read about the mistakes he made and the problems he encountered. The one that I remember best is when he first left the UK and went the wrong way in the Channel despite taking regular compass readings. This showed the perils of installing a steel tiller bracket too close to the compass and not realising it voided the deviation card which had been completed prior to the bracket being installed. Rod also describes the seasickness he suffered when he started sailing, which gives me hope!

The help he got from locals in most places he visited on these passages was truly amazing even down to making a new stern tube for free in Czechoslovakia. His experiences in Romania were an eye opener to him as to how the people existed under Ceausescu when they had so little. There are a few black and white photographs but these are in keeping with the era.

His description of being an ‘accidental sailor’ sprung from a visit to the River Danube which fuelled a lifelong passion for that river and after these two passages, for sailing in general.

This is a recommended light read for anyone with an interest in sailing.

 

Sue Long

Taniwha Press UK; £9.50; 2013