Keep­ing the clan happy on the wa­ter can be trick­ier than you think, so set the course for one of these des­ti­na­tions and the whole fam­ily will be in for a treat

Motorboat & Yachting - - Contents - Great boat­ing des­ti­na­tions

It’s all about fun on the wa­ter for the fam­ily with Peter Cum­ber­lidge this month. From Dart­mouth to Bén­odet, there is some­thing for every­one

Any­one with a cruis­ing boat and a grow­ing fam­ily has a tricky balancing act when plan­ning sum­mer hol­i­days, es­pe­cially when teens start de­vel­op­ing their own ideas about how they like spend­ing time. Skip­pers with a yen to range fur­ther afield each sea­son usu­ally learn that this isn’t al­ways the best way to keep every­one on board fully en­gaged. In­deed, the most suc­cess­ful fam­ily boat­ing hol­i­days seem to in­volve min­i­mal dis­tance cov­ered but plenty of va­ri­ety in the ac­tiv­i­ties on of­fer each day.

With this in mind I have cho­sen three of my favourite cruis­ing des­ti­na­tions where you can base a boat safely, en­joy great lo­cal cruis­ing when­ever you fancy and – cru­cially – have a wide choice of di­ver­sions on tap for all ages and tastes. They are Dart­mouth in the West Coun­try, Jer­sey in the Channel Is­lands and Bén­odet in south Brit­tany. Ideally, de­liver your boat to the cho­sen base well be­fore your planned holiday. Then, when you es­cape to the boat again your en­joy­ment starts from day one, with­out any de­lays or frus­tra­tions caused by in­clement pas­sage­mak­ing weather. For the lo­gis­tics, Dart­mouth is easy to reach by road, Jer­sey by air, and Bén­odet is 4½ hours drive from Cher­bourg ferry ter­mi­nal, three hours from St Malo and only 1¾ hours from Roscoff. Far from be­ing an in­con­ve­nience or chore, I find that de­liv­ery trips to and from cruis­ing ar­eas pro­vide plenty of in­ter­est and sat­is­fac­tion for those who like longer pas­sages, with­out hav­ing to in­volve fam­ily mem­bers who don’t. Every­one wins, which is re­ally the whole ob­ject of the ex­er­cise.

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