New Sailing Books for a New Year

There are approximately 32,000 species of fish, including 60 to 70 species of flying fish. Although our interactions with these flying wonders may be limited to deck-clearing duties on the sunrise shift or a thwack in the face during the dog watch, renowned naturalist Steve N.G. Howell dedicated several-hundred hours perched on the bows of boats in the sweltering tropics to capture the unique images featured in the informative The Amazing World of Flyingfish (Princeton University Press, 2014, $11). With 90 color photos shot mainly in the western tropical Pacific and in the Gulf Stream near Cape Hatteras (using a Canon 20D), Flyingfish differentiates two-winged and four-winged flyingfish from fish that merely jump; it outlines species, habitats, and sizes, analyzes flight methods and colors, and offers tools on identifying these butterflies on the water. Howell-author of a half-dozen books on birds, including Hummingbirds of North America and A Guide to the Birds of Mexico and Northern Central America-has been affiliated with the Point Reyes Bird Observatory for 20 years and is currently a senior birding tour leader for WINGS. Howells Flyingfish also addresses the environmental challenges our oceans face and encourages readers to promote environmental awareness and protection. Flyingfish is a good read for information hounds and marine biology buffs.

Reads for Summertime Relaxing

Summer arrives this month, and hopefully, the long, sunny days will include some time for summer reading. Practical Sailor editors have compiled our biannual list of worthwhile marine titles for just that purpose. This years summer reading list starts with a scientific look at something all sailors know-being on or in the water enhances life-but the book answers how and why. An entertaining new release on curious nautical knowledge and the strange history of nautical terms also grabbed a spot on our list, as did long-time sailing writer and editor Herb McCormicks book on the lives of Lin and Larry Pardey. The other titles range from a history of sailing warfare to a Scotland cruising guide; two distinctly different memoirs; a Matinicus, Maine-based fiction mystery; and a book on teamwork derived from lessons learned in the 1998 Sydney to Hobart race tragedy.

Where to Steer, Eat, Anchor on the ICW

Most sailors find entering a new anchorage or harbor after a long day on the ICW an adventure. However exciting it may be, most of us also find that it carries a considerable amount of stress, particularly if entering in fading daylight or deteriorating weather. Not only do you have to contend with navigational issues, but there are other burning questions like wheres the best place to anchor; where can I get supplies or fuel; is tonight all you can eat ribs at Hawg Heaven Restaurant; or is there a dinghy dock nearby? To help you navigate all these questions and concerns-not to mention the unknown waterway-you need a good ICW guide that has all the facts, figures, and the right array of local knowledge.

Doin the Ditch, Frank style

The key to safe, stress-free ICW cruising (or less-stress at least) is proper planning. Get the most up-to-date ICW guidebooks and charts, and study them well in advance. When planning the field-test trip down the ICW for this article, PS tester Capt. Frank Lanier came up with a general timeline and lists of major stops he wanted to make along the way, but he let his day-to-day progress drive his schedule. He always planned out the next days run prior to heading out (typically the night before), which also gave him a chance to review the latest weather forecasts and its potential effect on travel plans.

Holiday Gifts Ideas for Sailors

Looking for a holiday gift for the sailors on your list? Here are some new and gift-worthy products to consider.

Summer Reads for Every Sailor

Summer is here, and hopefully, the living is easy. Weve put together a roundup of summer reads perfect for those lazy afternoons aboard. Our reading selection this season includes a provocative reassessment of the War in the Pacific, a look at turning sailing skills into business strategy, the mysteries and memoirs of yacht racing, and more than one way to die, or survive, at sea.

Practical Tips for Survival at Sea

In the course of writing five books about accidents and survival at sea, Michael Tougias interviewed many survivors who shared with him the things they would have done differently, as well as what helped them survive. They did this to help prevent accidents and to help those who find themselves in trouble. Their tips and insights include decisions taken before the trip, actions taken when disaster strikes, and choices made during search and rescue. Add their insights to your survival-at-sea arsenal.

Garmin BlueCharts Mobile Sea Trial

Since we last looked at iPad navigation apps, there have-not surprisingly-been a number of new developments. One of the most interesting developments is Garmins introduction of the Garmin BlueChart Mobile nav app, which is proving to be an important addition to the field. The app is usable on iPads, iPhones, and iPods with the iOS 6 operating system. Testers also recently looked at the latest versions of iNavX, iSailor, and Navionics, which we previously reviewed.

Summer Reads for Sailors

Practical Sailor’s summer reading list for sailors reviews 10 marine-related books, including: “The Admirals,” a must-read for nautical history buffs interested in the U.S.’s only five-star fleet admirals, who won the war at sea and changed the U.S. Navy forever; “Beyond the Blue Horizon: How the Earliest Mariners Unlocked the Secrets of the Ocean,” a fascinating read about the earliest sailors and the risks they took; “Why Read Moby Dick?,” Nathaniel Philbrick’s argument for embracing Herman Melville’s daunting classic; “A Sail of Two Idiots,” Renee Petrillo’s quick read about her quest to live the cruising dream; “Pirate’s Passage, a great summer novel for teen and young adult readers; and “The Other Side of the Ice,” filmmaker Sprague Theobald’s journal of his family’s harrowing adventure through the waters of the Northwest Passage. Many of the books are available in audio and e-reader formats.

Holiday Gift Ideas

November and its cooler temperatures herald several things for sailors—the end of sailing season for those in the north and the start of race season for us in the south—but it also marks the beginning of the holiday season. To celebrate, Practical Sailor editors have put together a roundup of gift-giving—or gift-getting—ideas. Here are a few of our perennial PS wishlist favorites and some new products that most sailors would be happy to find among their holiday booty.

Stay Warm, Stay Safe

About this time of year, sailors creeping southward are either accelerating their migration or looking for inexpensive ways to warm the cabin. You don't have to install an expensive, built-in heating system just to get you south of the Mason-Dixon line, but when opting for one of the less-expensive options, you do have to use commonsense.