|About the Book|
A sailing saga of a 4,800-mile European odyssey celebrating the 300th anniversary of the Russian Fleet founded in Archangel, Russia, by Czar Peter the Great. No one foresaw the enormous bureaucratic hassles of simply trying to negotiate fifteenMoreA sailing saga of a 4,800-mile European odyssey celebrating the 300th anniversary of the Russian Fleet founded in Archangel, Russia, by Czar Peter the Great. No one foresaw the enormous bureaucratic hassles of simply trying to negotiate fifteen pleasure boats through Russias inland rivers, canals, and lakes. But, in spite of amusing, sometimes frustrating, official reactions to our fleet, the Dutch Coastal Cruising Association and our Russian hosts, the Archangelsk Yacht Club, pulled it off. Our dogged determination to complete the journey in the face of an entrenched and almost unyielding bureaucracy mirrored the historic events that we were celebrating and the ongoing emergence of a New Russia. Our fleet of sailboats became the first Western-flagged vessels allowed in the Russian canals and rivers of the militarily strategic passage between the White Sea and the Baltic Sea. The author was the only American, and proud of the Stars and Stripes waving from the boats port spreader, heralding an American-on- board. After more than a half-century of Cold War politics and nuclear saber-rattling, this was the first time the American flag had flown on these Russian waters.Ironically, while New Russians viewed our fleet as a vanguard for future boat tourism, it seemed Old Russians were trying to make our voyage as discouraging as possible. They were difficult and noncommittal, especially regarding final passage through ten bridges in downtown St. Petersburg. Apparently bridges only open at night, yet yachts were forbidden to sail at nighta small dilemma. A Russian catch-22. And behind us was the steadily approaching arctic ice!