Through Europe at Four Knots : A Tale of Boating Mayhem and Family Adventure
by Les Horn

By Bob Archibald 

This is a family story, husband and wife and their two children (boy and Girl) on a 24', outboard powered sailboat. The author,  Les, is a New Zeeland school teacher and his wife is of Greek heritage. He has secured a teaching position in Greece which he has not yet assumed. She is hungry to see her family and he has talked her into  having a grand adventure in getting there.

Their adventure starts with their exploration of the river Thames and progresses with a rather hairy crossing of the English channel complete with fog, airboats and the normal assortment of heavy traffic. It is never explained how they got the boat to England, whether they bought it there or brought it there, not that it matters.

This tale is set at the end of the cold war and has much to do with the trials and tribulations of dealing with the countries who are just emerging from under Soviet domination. These countries don't know who they are or what they are and so much of their thinking is still in line with what they have just discarded. As you read this you get the feeling that the wife is a bit of a "pouter" and doesn't really enter into the spirit of the adventure, a sort of "hit the ball and drag Despina" (her name). However, she does redeem herself considerably as a procurer of supplies in these emerging 3rd world countries. (that is what they are, with an attitude)

All and all it was a good fun read..... not  really a sailing story with the beating off the lee shore in a gale sort of thing, but rather a  adventure story of a family in strange circumstances learning to communicate in strange languages.....all  in a small boat with very dangerous fast running rivers, huge barges and slow officials.