Whilst a First Edition by Imray this well illustrated soft cover pilot guide is an updated version of the original ‘Cruise the Black Sea’ guide by Doreen and Archie Annan. They generously granted the RCC Pilotage Foundation the sole right to use the material they collated during their participation in the KAYRA Black Sea Cruise in 2001 organised by Atakoy Marina Yacht Club, Istanbul. The authors, David Read Baker and Lisa Borre, embarked on an anticlockwise circuit of the Black Sea in 2010 and completed 2,118 nm in 111 days, visiting all but the Russian Federation which proved unwelcoming to foreign yachts, so this section still heavily relies on the original Annan’s guide. That said there is much new information particularly on entry procedures to the other countries; Georgia which is recovering from war in 2008 remains a fascinating destination and still welcomes foreign yachts, whilst the Ukraine continues to be enveloped in bureaucracy but unlike 2004, when I was refused a visa to sail there, it is now possible to visit. Visas are not required for Turkey, Bulgaria or Romania and whilst entry procedures can be tedious the welcome from the locals is very much worth the effort.

The harbour plans are largely those prepared by the Annans and are not quite up to the standard we have become used to from the RCC Pilots but none the less invaluable as there is really no other information at this sort of scale. Details of approach, mooring, facilities and general descriptions are given of most harbours and anchorages together with some useful passage planning sections and historical information.

The Black Sea is not to everybody’s taste as the facilities for yachts are almost non existent, it is also very different from the Mediterranean, but if you are looking for solitude [we saw 4 yachts in a month cruise] and enjoy visiting new horizons, do give it a try.

Hunter Peace