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The Baltic Sea


Front CoverThe Baltic Sea has been in print since 1992, and was consequently getting very long in the tooth. The Royal Cruising Club foundation has finally got around to updating the book and all the better it is for it.

The book now recognises the reality of marinas and the facilities of the countries surounding the Baltic, and is much more useful to todays yachtsman. Unlike the earlier versions, it dedicates considerable space to the more popular areas, and reduces its coverage of the less well known parts.

The books covers the following countries: Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Poland, Lithunia, Latvia and Estonia. In truth, this is not the book if you are only interested in Denmark as only 17 pages are dedicated to that country - there are better options.

The book has 280 pages of full colour, with many high-quality colour chartlets as well as photos and 'boxes' on associated topics, such as 'The right to Roam' and 'Restricted Areas'. Each section has many appropriate phone numbers as well as links to useful web resources.

The book starts with an introduction that is a good overview on the culture of the region, with sections on such things as diverse as saunas and children, as well as the more obvious practical issues such as formalities, repairs and navigation. (Like others, the book seems obsessed with how to get hold of bottled gas). There are also detailed maps on Radio Communication and Weather resources.

Click for larger view The bulk of the country information is based around the concept of highlighted routes, with harbour information on most of the usual stopping places, not everywhere. In most cases this coincides with the best places for yachtsmen so this is no hardship.  The text includes elements of local colour alongside the dry approach information.

Northern Germany is very well covered from Kiel to Ueckermünde, with a short section on the Kiel Canal. As mentioned above, the Danish coverage is mainly of the East Coast (bordering the Baltic Sea proper) as well as Copenhagen and Bornholm.

There is an excellent section on Sweden. It concentrates on a number of routes, one being from Göteborg to the East Coast via the Gota Canal. Another is from the Falsterbo Canal round the coast of Skåne to Karlskrona and up the East Coast. It continues past Gotland and the Blue Coast to the Stockholm Skärgård. There is a sketchy section on the Gulf of Bothnia all the way up to the Finnish border.

Although it concentrates on the popular areas of the Åland Islands and Helsinki, the Finnish coverage is nevertheless good, with enough on the rest of the country to whet your appetite.

There are then 16 pages on Russia (St Petersborg), a good 23 on Poland, 4 on Kalingrad, 4 on Lithuania, 14 on Latvia and 18 on Estonia. This compares to 76 on Sweden.

All in all, the book is now much more attractive to anyone visiting the area, and I would recommend it as essential background reading. You still need the local material to get the best of the place. My only quible is the price - a hefty £37.50

Images are copyright Imray Norie & Wilson Ltd

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