The pair are assisted on their journey by Baines, a technical wizard whose abilities, as Jones says, "certainly drew attention to our own deficiencies". Rick, an anally retentive chartsman, is also around until the point at which, like a commissar in a Politburo photograph, he vanishes following a testy disagreement with the author about "Baltic surge".
The wayward sea, estuary and canal route through Holland, Denmark, Latvia, Finland, Russia and the Turko Archipelago--"so topographically complex that it was expedient not to draw it"--results, predictably, in a slew of map-prodding nautical mishaps and encounters with intransigent boat repairers, officials, restaurateurs and Estonian lap dancers. As is to be expected, from one half of television's Alas Smith and Jones (or Snow in My Cottage, as Finnish viewers knew it), Rhys Jones writes very amusingly. The petty on-board squabbles and reminiscences about his boat-blighted youth are funny and, intermittently, affecting. The contrasts he draws between the "practical, modest" peoples of Scandinavia and the swaggering pomposity of ex-imperialist nations such as Britain and Russia are well made. But, at over 400 pages, the book is flabby, bloated by extraneous incidentals and verbatim renderings of conversations of the "oh, do you remember the 1970s" variety. When, on page 370, Griff asks Bob: "Can you even remember Helsinki?" some readers may find, they too, have to think twice before answering. --Travis Elborough --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
I have read this book 3 times now and will read it again. Love it so much. Funny and informative. Easy reading. Cant put it down. And thats even when i know how it ends. Read morePublished 2 months ago by m a oakley
Not as informative as I had hoped and not as funny as I expected. Very irritating to have a travel book without maps.Published 14 months ago by Jeannie
If you are after a good sailing book, with lots of info and a full log, this is not for you.
A very subjective piece of writing which is really disappointing.
This is Griff at his best giving an hilarious romp through this 3,000 mile trip to a regatta in Flensburg and on to St Petersburg. Read morePublished on 23 Mar. 2013 by David Twittey
Bought a preloved copy which arrived in as new condition, for my husband. As he has sailed in this area he has really enjoyed reading it.Published on 2 Dec. 2012 by Kizzy
Enjoyed Griffrhts other book on his childhood and this lived up to my expectations.Great for a light hearted read.Hope he writes another amusing book.Published on 14 Sept. 2011 by denbyfan1
If I were a sailor, which I'm not, or if I understood nautical terms, which I don't, I would have enjoyed this book substantially more than I did. Read morePublished on 23 Nov. 2010 by Ms. Fiona Allen
I found this book a real struggle. I loved the idea and I'm a huge fan of Griff's TV travel-style shows, but this for me didn't have the same flow (no pun intended). Read morePublished on 17 Nov. 2010 by Steve Turnbull - Bude
This book was really rather dull and pointless.
It wasn't downright offensive, hence didn't score 1*. Read more