Join Date: Jul 2002
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World cruising guides
Dave, here''s my cut at ''the important books'' to carry when cruising beyond U.S. shores...
Guides that are recommended to you by current cruisers and which you preview before purchase (e.g. by spending most of a day at Blue Water Books). VanSant''s ''Gentleman''s Guide'' is an excellent example and one of the best; many contain some information of use, much of it dated given the cost or producing new editions.
Routing Guides (Cornell''s, the original Ocean Passages, etc.) suffer from a huge deficit: they can only address ''average'' seasons and conditions, while you''re making a specific passage (month, from/to) in a specific year. To illustrate, Spring stayed 6 weeks longer than normal in the N Atlantic this year (2003), with far more lows penetrating further S and stronger in nature than June and even early July normally sees. The guides all say ''go N to 40N and sail with the prevailing Westerlies'' but, unless you have a big/strong boat, that was lousy advice in the Spring/Summer of 2003. This is why having onboard wx receiving info offshore (wxfax, area f''casts by RFI, etc.) is so helpful. It''s also why so many folks use Herb (Southbound II). ''Average'' advice is an OK place to start but not necessarily a good way to make specific routing decisions.
''Fixing up your boat'' books aren''t terribly helpful once you shove off. If you take a break to winter somewhere and have a set of specific projects in mind, that''s probably the time to gather up the necessary ref mat''ls.
OTOH books that give a hands-on/illustrated review of maintaining & repairing gear are invaluable; that''s why Calder''s books are found on so many cruising boats.
FWIW I think Beth Leonard''s ''Ocean Voyaging'' is one of the key references to use BEFORE jumping off, specifically her section on financing a cruise. It takes a macro/micro view of the financial side of cruising, boat selection, equipping, ''re-entry'', etc. unlike anything else I''ve seen. One of the few common threads among cruisers of all stripes & nationalities is that we all have to have the financial side of things sorted thoroughly...or the dream goes down the tubes.
I''m sure there are other huge categories of books/guides/references I''m not addressing. Hopefully, someone else will continue the thread...