Books Charts

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.

The Cruise of Mascot

Ninety-nine years ago last month, Henry M. Plummer, his adult son, Henry Jr., and a cat named Scotty set out from Massachusetts, bound for South Florida in a 24-foot catboat. Mascots waterline was 23 feet; the beam was 10 feet; and draft was 3 feet, 6 inches. The Marshall 22 reviewed in this months issue offers a pretty good example of Mascots traits. Mascot was engineless. In calms, father and son pushed it with a 15-foot dory equipped with a 3-horsepower engine. Accommodations were rough. They shot or caught most of their meat.

Practical Sailor’s Picks for Fireside Reading

This year, Practical Sailor’s Winter Reading List offers a roundup of books to boost your navigation, weather, and knot-tying know-how as you while away the winter hours hearthside. We’ve also reviewed a few picks for the young adults in your crew; these reads will surely stoke their sailing daydreams as they too long for spring’s return. Featured titles include “The AMS Weather Book: The Ultimate Guide to America's Weather” by Jack Williams, “Emergency Navigation” by David Burch, “Oliver's Surprise” by former Olympic sailor Carol Newman Cronin, and “True Spirit” by 16-year-old solo circumnavigator Jessica Watson.

Mailport: March 2010

The March 2010 issue of Practical Sailor features letters from readers on such subjects as: household adhesives, Union 36s, foggy electronics, digital freezer controls and converting a boat from gas to electric.

Boating Books for Female Sailors

Sailing how-to and have-done books abound. But only in the last decade or so has the world of sailing literature taken an interest in women-specific resources and travel stories. Grateful to have our very own how-tos and have-dones that extend beyond the galley, the women of Practical Sailor picked up some new reads for summer. From tips on relationships aboard to tales of a White House aide turned cruiser, these books have much to offer the reader, be she the captain or the mate.

Winter Reading List

Its that time of year again, when freezing temps mean many of find our watery adventures limited to a fireside escape in a good sailing book. For this years winter reading list, weve compiled a library of guide books on topics ranging from navigation to racing, folklore, and galley magic.

EarthNC Software

On a recent boat delivery from Michigan to Florida, I had the opportunity to try out some new computer-based planning software from EarthNC. EarthNC uses Google Earth images to present marine chart data by overlaying the charts on Google Earth satellite images. For $50, EarthNC provided 757 vector-format charts (raster format charts and other packages are also available) for the continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii, and parts of the Caribbean. These charts can be used online or offline. When combined with a USB-connected GPS-and the ooPs ( GPS software for Google Earth-EarthNC provides a real-time, moving map experience similar to modern chartplotters. EarthNC also has automatically updating weather maps with data supplied by NOAA.