I've read the ASA and USAA intro books.. Seidman's book, The Complete Sailor, is far more readable and geared towards non-sailors, but it covers a very broad depth of sailing information, in a very easy to read form, with very clear illustrations that it is of use to even experienced sailors. I give a copy of the book to everyone who crews with me for any extended period of time.
Unlike a lot of the other introductory books, The Complete Sailor, goes over some of the history of sailing vessels, and a lot of the theory behind why and how sailboats work. This foundation makes it much easier for you to remember how a sailboat works, and makes you a better sailor IMHO.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.
—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)
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Still—DON'T READ THAT POST AGAIN.