Cruising the Gulags - Noteable New BookDec 20, 2007
Frankel, a cruising veteran, is the author of several other sailing accounts: Endless Summer, Dreaming of Columbus, and Gently with the Tides; and is also a former editor of Living Aboard magazine. As the only American participant in the rally, he witnessed the clash of the emerging “New Russia” and those who celebrated the Western visitors, and the “Old Russia,” a bureaucratically discouraging lot. A frustrating example is the account of the final passage along the River Neva through St. Petersburg. According to waterway rules, yachts on the river were forbidden to sail at night but paradoxically, to ease daytime roadway congestion, bridges were only opened at night.
Frankel explores both the sport of sailing as well as the spirit of a rally, “from sailing in bitter arctic waters to dealing with mechanical failures; from relishing the beauty of rugged coastlines and fjords to meeting and living with like-minded sailing friends; from experiencing tourism from the vantage of an ancient city dock to observing contrasts between old and new cultures and getting in touch with rich maritime history.” His account holds the rare picture of a culture in transition alongside a sailor’s vision of the cruising lifestyle with the encouragement, “Go slow and taste the culture. That was what this voyage was all about.” n