In all my years sailing around the North and South Atlantic, the Mediterranean and the English Channel, I have found no better cruising waters than the Brittany Coast and the Channel Islands. The breathtaking beauty of the rugged coastlines, the numerous nooks, crannies, inlets and rivers to explore, and the hundreds of small islands that rise out of the sea collectively create a wonderful wilderness. And yet civilisation is never far away.
Saint-Malo with its old city walls, St Helier with its fine wines and fruit and vegetable market, St Peter Port with its seafood restaurants and craft beer are favourite ports of call.
When you add into the mix the charm of historic village lifestyles and the sandy beaches of the nearby islands of Herm, Sark and Alderney, you have a holiday paradise. The stress of modern life melts away as you sail from island to island with dolphins and seabirds for company.
Across the Channel, only a day’s sail away, lies the south of England. Of course, Dartmouth, Plymouth and Falmouth on the South Devon and Cornwall coasts are all worth a visit. But I particularly like the small fishing ports that dot the coastline: Salcombe, Looe, Polperro, Fowey and Mevagissey, to name but a few.