Desperate Voyage by John Caldwell is a great non-fiction read. Also read Sailing Alone Around the World by Joshua Slocum. This is non-fiction as well. I feel that reading fiction is a waste of time. As far as instructional, read a book on sail trim and check out the articles here at sailnet. Good luck!
These are some of my favorite sailing books and distance cruising favorite classics:
By the Wind- Richard Baum- *****
My all time favorite sailing book about a guy and his engineless Starling Burgess Cutter in post- WW II Atlantic.
Dove- Robin Graham (I think) **
- School boy borrows family boat for a long weekend, (a very long week end) sailing west single-handed until he finds the world, home, fame, National Geographic and a wife. Now grounded and lives in Rockies.
The Strange Last Voyage of Donald Crowhurst- Nicholas Tomalin and Ron Hall****
-Haunting story of man who can''t take no for an answer. A reminder that all who sail east do not necessarily come home and the real significance of keeping a log, or two, or three.
The Riddle of the Sands- Erskine Childers****
-A couple chums go looking for a relaxing cruise in the northern coast of France and find spies and shallow water. Great read by an author who was a decorated British Intelligence officer who was later shot by an Irish firing squad as a traitor but whose book, posthumously, proved to be helpful to British World War II efforts.
Sailing Alone around the World Alone-Josh Slocum ***1/2
Old salt with broken clock and too much spare time on his hands sails around the world in a rebuilt oyster smack. Proof that no matter how half-assed and poorly equipped a boat may be, a resourceful good seaman can sail her around the world at least once. Josh disappeared at sea on his second attempt.
Alone Around the World- Naomi James ** 1/2
Great Lady, well written, big world, short book. My real disappointment is that she seemed to rush through things.
Great Adventures in Small Boats- David Klein and Mary Louise King *****
(Originally published as "They took to the Sea"
-A compendium of excerpts from some of the best sea stories of small boat sailor authors. Great stuff, great read, well organized. Worth it, if just for the Prologue by Rockwell Kent
The Fight of the Firecrest- Alaign Gerbaualt ****
-Starving artist takes rotten old English cutter around Europe until totally worn out (Boat and artist) and then sails across the Atlantic without enough food water or wine. Marvelous stuff.
The Saga of "Cimba"- Richard Maury***1/2
-Guy buys cool little fishing schooner and sails from Nova Scotia to western Pacific only to lose boat to greedy Post Officials. Good story
Sailing for Woman- Steve Colgate''s wife, ***1/2
I am not sure what the real name of this book or Mrs. Colgate (my copy is out on loan) but it is my current favorite ''learning to sail'' book for beginners.
Performance Sailing- Julian Bethwaite,
This is a great book about all things related to sailing fast. Weather, boats, sail trim, you name it.
Any of C.A Marchaj''s books on the technology of sailing.
Tony Marchaj really went where no man had gone in collecting detailed information avbout the aerodynamics and hydrodynamics of boats. While slightly dated his book ''Seaworthiness the forgotten factor'' changed the way that many of look at sailboat design.
The Cruise of the Snark- Jack London ***
-Great Author shows how not to do it in Edwardian Times.
Marlinespike Seamanship- Hervey Garratt Smith****
This simple little book was published more than 50 years ago but even today it is a wonderful introduction to the fine art of splicing and knoting line.
N by E - Rockwell Kent**1/2
Voyage of the Paper Canoe- N.H. Bishop ***
- Man Takes paper canoe in post Civil War U.S. and paddles from St. Lawrence River to Cedar Key in Florida. A bit dry but very fascinating.
Anything by William Albert Robinson *****
-Man buys strange Alden wishbone ketch and sails all over the place with a cannibal for crew between the world wars. Captured by pirates in North Africa. Funny, bizarre, gives you a sense how much things have changed in sixty years. One of the first long distance Air/ Sea rescues when Robinson bursts an appendix.
Anything by Joseph Conrad
-In particular, Youth, Secret Sharer, Heart of Darkness, ****** of the Narcissis, and well the list is to long.
The Shipkiller- Justin Scott****
-Man looses wife and boat and goes seeking new boat, stinger missile and the ship that sank him.
Voyaging on a Small Income- Anne Hill ***1/2
-No swash to her buckle but good reading. A very sensible and realistic book by a woman who with her husband has gone a voyaging in a very pragmatic way. You have to really like this Lady. Some very clearly presented and well thought out original thinking.
I''m sure I am missing some but this should keep you. I expect book reports when you have finished. Class dismissed. Have fun.
You have plenty of good reading recommened here. I''ll add one I consider wonderful for those who love sailing. It is by Robin Know-Johnston, and it is called, "A World of My Own." He was the first person to ever single handedly circumnavigate the globe non stop. It was the same race Donald Crowhurst was in - "The Strange Last Voyage of Donald Crowhurst." Both are compelling. But Know-Johnston''s puts you on board, at sea, in a very vivid way. He was a superb seaman, ex-Royal Navy, very knowledgeable. Great adventure. It''s like being there.
The late Patrick O''Brian wrote some 21 books about the Royal Navy of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Those, along with "A Sea of Words, a Lexicon and Companion for Patrick O''Brian''s Seafaring Tales" by Dean King, John B. Hattendorf and J. Worth Estes are good captivating reads.
Other than the Ship''s manuals for my boat, the tech manuals for onboard systems and a few ref. manuals, they are the only books I keep along. I have found that at my age by the time I finish the set, I can start over again because I''ve already forgotten what I read before. It''s like having a never-ending library.
The Coast of Summer, by Anthony Bailey--New Yorker writer takes you along for his 30th annual cruise in Long Island Sound/Peconic Bay/Block Island with beautiful detail of the characters and places he and his wife visit
The Compleat Cruiser, by L Francis Herreshoff--practical cruising advise narrated in a dated format but fun for all that
The Magic of the Swatchways, by Maurice Griffiths--wonderful tales of impetuous, marvelous seamanship in shoal draft boats in the Channel and its estuaries by the editor of Yachting Monthly
The Shadow in the Sand, by Sam Llewellyn--worthy sequel to Childers'' Riddle in the Sand with a terrific opening scene of a yacht race with the Kaiser of Germany. Llewellyn has written other fiction with nautical themes and they are all very good reads, a Dick Francis of the high seas.
The Celtic Ring, by Bjorn Larsson--if mystery and intrigue and sailing are your cup of tea, this classic is a must.
The Boat Who Wouldn''t Float, by Farley Mowat--A must for first-time boat buyers and all those obsessed with buying and cruising under sail; here''s the anodyne of laughter for all that can go wrong.
NOTE: Many of the classic sailing narratives that have been out of print are being reissued, with forwards by Jonathan Raban ("Passage to Juneau") in a series called The Sailor''s Classics. This is how I got my hands on Cimba.
Good topic thanks EricS, and thanks to all for the great recommendations.
For a story of an incredible adventure that includes an amazing sailing feat try "Endurance : Shackleton''s Incredible Voyage"
by Alfred Lansing (if you enjoy it also get Schackleton''s forgotten men, not about sailing though)
Informative and simple overview of what makes a good offshore boat "Desirable and Undesirable characteristics of Offshore Yachts" by the Technical Committee of the Cruising Club of America
Good and rigorous book on navigation "Primer of navigation" by George Mixter
Also on navigation, "Coastal and Offshore navigation" by Tom Cunliffe
"Fastnet Force 10" by John Rousmaniere, informative and instructive look at the disastrous 1979 Fastnet
"Fatal Storm" by Rob Mundle about the 1998 Sydney- Hobart disaster.
Good book for skippers (or skippers to be) "The complete yachtmaster" by Tom Cunliffe
"Maiden voyage" by Tania Abei non fiction about a young lady(18) who sailed around the world on a small boat(26ft) rather than going to college.
Some large area Admiralty charts for help in dreaming, planning, and practicing route plotting. "World Cruising Routes" by Jimmy Cornell is also useful in this regard.
A nice/useful addition to such a library would also be a subscription to Ocean Navigator
Anyone have any of the books from the setsail site by the Dashews? In particular does anyone have a review of their book about weather? What about their software as a tool for learning about weather? Anyone have any experience with the starpath training software?
I also find that the reviews of books on amazon can be helpful. I usually end up saving allot of money by buying books used (usually in like new condition) from Ebay.
Ahoy , Eric Sail Power by Wallace Ross 1975 Knoff publishing. His use of wind tunnel smoke test photos proves the old addage a picture is worth a thousand words. The book is easy to read and dosen''t bother with trivial aspects of sailing. Pure text, lots of photos and diagrams. Any book writen by anyone who sailed anywhere. I don''t prefer the older classics because technology has out stripped some of the privations suffered by the authors hence they don''t transfer well to modern sailing. Very few generic how to books contain all the info you have questions about and you may decide to buy a book for one bit of info that the others you have don''t cover. Such is my extensive libary I just wish paper was more durable on the boat. Happy reading, Big Red56
Best small guide on sailing: Halsey Herreshoff''s The Sailor''s Handbook
Best big guide on sailing: John Rousmaniere''s Annapolis Book on Seamanship
Best annual book: Eldridge Tide and Pilot Book
Best guide on traditional sailing rigs: John Leather''s The Gaff Rig
Best weather guide: still haven''t found it, I''m still an idiot when it comes to weather, but I may be hopeless. Easiest reads I''ve found so far: Alan Watts'' Instant Weather Guide (mostly photos), and Jeff Markel''s The Sailor''s Weather Guide
Best cruising narrative: No such thing, every cruise is different. The oldies still have insights and important, basic lessons as well as wonder: Tristan Jones, Eric Hiscock, Bernard Moitessier, Hal Roth, Joshua Slocum, Miles Smeeton...lots of good reads here and many more, some by one-book authors that are real treasures, like John Guzzwell''s Trekka Round the World and Richard Maury''s The Saga of Cimba.
Most of those mentioned I''d agree with. A few more include Peter Nichols''s "A voyage for madmen" which includes the stories of Crowhurst, Moitessier, and Knox-Johnston which were mentioned already, and how about Hal Roth and his books which include "Two on a big ocean", "Always a distant anchorage", and "Two against Cape Horn". If you want a good "how in the hell did they do that?" book, try "An ocean to cross" which is about two paraplegics, a husband and wife team, who build their boat in Rhodesia, transport it to South Africa, and then sail across the Atlantic to Florida. There are more good books out there than you can read in a lifetime, and I''d certainly argue that reading fiction is far from a waste of time. Most of us can learn a lot from reading good works of fiction -- life''s too short already without taking away one of my joys. If you''re a slow reader, try some books on tape. I''ve found Joshua Slocum''s book as well as many of Patrick O''Brian''s as books on tape, and others as well. Your taxes presumably go towards paying for your local public library, and I''d bet that you''ll find many excellent sailing books, fiction and non-fiction there. Good reading, good luck, and good sailing.
Okay, I''m currently reading two books and enjoying them both for different reasons. The first is "A Viking Voyage" by W. Hodding Carter, and I''m liking it because it is so completely unbelievable. I wish I had the audacity to try something like that.
The second book I''m reading is "The Water In Between" by Kevin Patterson (the beautiful blue cover caught my eye). The Patterson book got mixed reviews on amazon.com, but I''m quite liking it. It''s not an adventure story by any means. It''s a little lethargic (he ends up spending a lot of time in the doldrums--literally and figuratively), but I think it''s supposed to be. I like it a lot better than Raban''s "Passage to Juneau," although they seem similar in form to me.