Those who enjoyed our recent three-part special report highlighting the trends in sailboat design and construction-focusing on structure, stability, and performance – can thank PS Technical Editor Ralph Naranjo, who called upon his decades of experience as a voyager, boatyard manager, and marine safety consultant to weave those pieces together. The articles offer a peek at what youll find in his outstanding opus, The Art of Seamanship, which was published last spring and is now available in the Practical Sailor online bookstore, www.practical-sailor.com/books.
Im obviously biased toward Naranjos work, but youll find plenty of other experts saying that this is the best book on sailing seamanship to be published in decades-maybe ever. Although anyone headed offshore will benefit from Naranjos wisdom, the book is aimed squarely at the sailor. Its not a book for the novice tying his first bowline, or the yachtsman interested in flag etiquette. The topics it addresses-particularly those dealing with weather-routing, anchoring, sail-handling, and navigation-are examined with a depth and insight that only come through on-the-water experience.
Early on in the book, Naranjo uses a simple diagram of a right triangle to demonstrate the three essential facets of safety at sea. The shortest side of the triangle is the onboard safety gear, the next longest is the vessels seaworthiness, and the longest side, forming the hypotenuse of the triangle, is seamanship-sadly this is the element few books bother to address. To someone with Naranjos experience, the distribution of priorities is obvious. The best gear and best boat is no substitute for right practice and sea sense.
Naranjos brief introductory section-an entertaining walk down memory lane in boats ranging from a Carl Alberg-designed Typhoon 19 to Dodge Morgans American Promise-distills as much wisdom as youll find in some so-called encyclopedic works (some on their 10th reprint!).
If you don’t yet have The Art of Seamanship, buy it. Hell, buy two copies-one for the house, one for the boat. If its not as good as I say it is, Naranjo will buy you a drink on Practical Sailors tab. My guess is youll be the one wanting to treat him. You can find him at the following venues this autumn, talking seamanship and safety, and no doubt, spinning a few yarns. For more details about the particular events, check the listed websites.
The Wooden Boat Festival: Port Townsend, Wash.; Sept. 11-13, 2015; http://nwmaritime.org/events/wooden-boat-festival/; Saturday, Sept. 12: Art of Seamanship; Sunday, Sept. 13: Practical Sailor Tech Talk
US Sailboat Show: Annapolis, Md.; Oct. 8-12, 2015; www.annapolisboatshows.com/united-states-sailboat-show/; Oct. 11-12: afternoon book signing at Landfall Navigation booth; Oct. 9-11: Take the Wheel workshop; Oct 12-15: Cruisers University, Handling Heavy Weather, Gulf Stream, Anchoring, the Art of Staying Put; Cruising World Seminars; TBA: The Cruising Side of Seamanship.