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Two Great Books
If you're like me, you enjoy Practical Sailor but do not feel that you get your money's worth. Of course, the minute you let your subscription lapse, they review the atomic keel cleaner you've been contemplating purchasing. I'm sure the impending review of Solarstix has sent PS subscription level into orbit, so maybe myn ews will not be of interest. Also, if you're like me, you've gotten to where you can pick up a copy of Sail magazine on the news-stand and read the 2 articles of interest to you, in less than 5 minutes. And I bet one of those lonely articles is, "Things that Work".
There's good news for the thrifty out there. Which pretty much covers all of us, because if you had money when you bought the boat, you don't have it now, and we know that, as long as you have the boat, you won't have any money either. So, I can't afford PS and I won't contribute to Sail existing any longer than necessary but I've discovered two books that allow me to finesse the issues.
The first is: Practical Sailor Guide to Sailing Gear, The Lyons Press, 2006, $19.95, paper.
This is the condensed version of over 250 tests and reviews done by PS. The articles have been pared down, leaving out the usual important details like which direction they pointed the test board in the varnish test, but keeping the important stuff. It's a bit like Consumer Report's Annual Report except it encompasses a few years. It is fairly up to date as it was published last year.
The second is: Best of Sail Magazine's Things That Work, McGraw-Hill, International Marine, 1998, $22.95, hard.
Things that work is a reader driven article in Sail and deals with about every area where someone has come up with a way of doing things better and easier. If you have not read the column, it is worth taking a look on the news-stand. It's usually right next to the subscription card in the magazine because they want you to subscribe while you're still feeling positive about the idea. Anyway, if you want to rig up your tiller so you can steer from the bow, it's here. If you want to know how to fish those steering cables through that Edson steering stand, it's here. Need to make a hitch extension for the trailer, it's here. Need your boss and your wife to get off yer' ass, hey the book's only 18 clams whata ya expectin', War & Peace?
I got them both off Amazon for the grand total of $34. And, if I remember correctly, that's about what a year of PS will set you back. And, 34 is usually about the number of ads Sail has, before you get to the table of contents. Spent about an hour going through them this pm. The PS book is good if you are trying to save money, or trying to get the best quality product offered. The Things That Work book is for the do it yourselfer who's looking for some imagination and inspiration. Both books deliver the goods. i recommend them both.
“Scientists are people who build the Brooklyn Bridge and then buy it.”
Wm. F. Buckley, Jr.