OYSTER RIVER One Summer on an Inland Sea by George Millar


George Millar’s classic account of a summer spent sailing in the Gulf of Morbihan was originally published forty years ago, and a new edition has long been overdue. The author’s affection for France stems from his own wartime experiences, both as an escaped prisoner-of-war and whilst working with the Resistance (see also Maquis). That he can look any Frenchman in the eye adds to Oyster River’s enjoyment. In the summer of 1963, he and his wife Isabel chose Brittany’s delightful inland sea as a cruising ground for their 50 ft yawl Amokura.From the moment Amokura is shot through the narrow entrance into the Gulf at 8½ knots, fine seamanship and subtle comedy combine with a portrait of a rural way-of-life that has now all but vanished from Morbihan’s villages and island communities.
People as well as passage-making give Oyster River its character. Gustave Jordic, whose delight at sailing on Amokura is tempered by his anxiety to be put ashore in time for the evening milking. The formidable Mme Desforges, who rarely sat less than forty for Sunday lunch. The sinister master of Ric-rac, who followed Amokura all summer in an effort to steal the yacht  to carry smuggled guns into war-torn Algeria. Then there are his fellow English yachtsmen and women, with whom they share anchorages and Calvados. Men like the great Admiral Fisher, in his day the colourful king of cruising yachtsmen, and E.F. Haylock, the gadget loving editor of Yachting World, and owner of the cutter Zoom, who described George Millar’s preference for a hand-lead over an echo-sounder as ‘sentimental piffle’.  But the real stars of the book are her crew, George and Isabel, the latter whose deft handling of cutlery in self-defence bring one of the most exquisite moments in an utterly absorbing and rightly famous book

Casebound and jacketed, 268 pages, 8 pages black and white plates, endpaper maps

ISBN 1 904349 26 9

Special offer price £12

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