Literature Recommendation for Beginner Cruiser in Puerto Ric - SailNet Community

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Old 04-05-2004
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Literature Recommendation for Beginner Cruiser in Puerto Ric

Hello All,

I will be buying my first keelboat in the next few months. I have a boat to sail in the meantime here in Puerto Rico. I have done a fair amount of sailing on the great lakes with my parents during my youth 1979-1992 on their Northern 25. I then started racing small boats like Lasers, Laser II and 49er''s at a high level.

I am now married and would like to start weekend sailing to the islands around Puerto Rico and then eventually beyond. However, I''m really a novice again to big boat sailing. Charts, Navigation, Anchoring, Putting in a reef and such things I shamefully admit to not knowing well off hand. But I''m confident these things will come quickly once back on the water. What I am looking for is a list of books that you all would recommend as essentials for someone like me. From Cruising Guide to Puerto Rico to Something that describes the different "gears" from 5 knots and full sail, to dragging anchors in the water, etc.

All the best,
Colin
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Old 04-05-2004
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Literature Recommendation for Beginner Cruiser in Puerto Ric

Colin:

Congratulations on reaching the point where you can consider sailing your own boat in wonderful Puerto Rico. You don''t mention where you are located; I''m guessing on PR''s east coast, adjacent to the Spanish Virgins, but you might want to tell us. To some extent, where you will base the boat will determine a lot about what kind of sailing you can consider. Hopefully, it can be on the South Coast as that offers the largest and also most interesting number of cruising destinations.

I''d like to recommend two types of books to you: cruising guides that will help you with PR cruising, and also informational books that might provide a good grounding in setting up a coastal cruising boat. Don''t overlook amazon.com as a book buying source, as we didn''t find it all that easy to locate sailing-related books on the island and the one West Marine store (near Fajardo) will charge the typically high prices asked for these low-volume products.

Puerto Rico Cruising Guide (or a title similar to this) by Steve Pavlidis - excellent chartlets of all the anchorages with highly accurate depth readings, a good overview of the harbors, hurricane holes, piloting info on wx and sea conditions. The only PR-specific guide I know of, and one we ''test sailed'' when circumnavigating PR in 2001 before it was published.

Passages South by Bruce VanSant - this covers the entire run from Florida down to Trinidad and contains a variety of info that falls outside your immediate plans BUT its weather explanations are quite helpful and very accurate for PR''s coasts, the section on making one''s way along the W, S & E Coasts plus the Spanish Virgins is excellent, and you might find it enjoyable reading in general as it discusses making one''s way down the ''Thorny Path''.

Cruising Handbook by Nigel Calder - this isn''t an entirely suitable book for you as it tends to emphasize larger boats, the many systems we tend to put on boats these days, and its orientation tends to be towards blue water cruising vs. coastal cruising. OTOH it offers an excellent overview of how to pick a cruising boat (designs, rigs, hull construction, tanks and such), gives a good explanation of performance-related variables, and will offer good coverage for those areas that will be highly relevant to you (anchoring systems, e.g.).

The Nature of Boats, Dave Gerr - this is not a ''must have'' book but rather a readable, thorough introduction to how a boat ''works'' in a nautical environment. Rather than buy this book now, when your info needs seem to be more ''technical'' and ''practical'', consider holding onto the title and offering it to someone who wants to buy you a nice present. It probably will ''explain'' a boat better than any other book you''ll find.

The Boat Owners Mechanical & Electrical Guide: 2nd Edition, Nigel Calder - this is a reference book that''s meant to be read, propped open, when some mysterious hunk of metal or malperforming motor is staring you in the face and you don''t know where to start. Nigel is today''s guru on boat systems and how to make them right, and many of us carry this book along with whatever manufacturer''s instruction sheets we are lucky enough to have aboard in order to help us maintain, service and perhaps repair the systems aboard our boats. He has recently published a new edition of a separate book on diesel engines, BTW.

Hope this help...and don''t miss spending a few days at some point in lovely La Parguera, perhaps our favorite anchorage in all of the Caribbean. (See VanSant for the details).

Jack
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