Practical Sailor’s Picks for Summer Reading List
Relax with a quote book, a how-to guide, or a story of love and Friendship.
While you won’t find any pulp fiction on Practical Sailor’s reading list this summer, some of our favorites are light enough for evening cockpit reading. We’ve included a book of sailing quotes and a classic cruising log in our mixed bag of boating stories, as well as a highly technical account of fiberglass techniques. And, although we don’t offer up any Stephen King, you may enjoy first-hand accounts of true-life boating horror stories, straight from the logs of BoatU.S.’s accident reports. Unless otherwise noted, the books reviewed here are all available at online retailers like www.amazon.com.
Longtime Yachting magazine editor and Sailing magazine columnist Christopher Caswell has put his many years of sailing and sail writing to work, compiling a lifetime of favorite quotes that will make you reflect and laugh, as you turn the pages. "The Sailing Fanatic: Timeless Reflections on Water, Wind, and Waves" (2006, The Lyons Press, $13) is divided into eight sections, including On Sailing, On the Sea, and On Weather, and ends with notes on selected authors. The aphorisms collected span the centuries, from Homer’s "Odyssey" to Jimmy Buffet’s philosophy. Caswell’s sense of humor is evident throughout, particularly in the On Racing section. Our Favorite? "It’s like standing under a cold shower tearing up five-pound notes."—Ted Heath, former prime minister of England.
If you read this book ashore, you’ll want to set sail. If you read it at sea, well, lucky you.
Any fan of sea stories who hasn’t read "Princess" (1973, Joe B. Klay & Sons, Inc., 6th printing, $15), by Joe Richards, should pick up a copy of this classic cruising tale. Richards first spotted his Friendship sloop Princess in a Long Island boatyard in 1938. What followed was "a man’s love affair with a boat," which took Richards from rebuilding the 60-year-old sailboat through World War II and the trip of a lifetime from New York down the Intracoastal Waterway to Key Biscayne, Fla. What were originally two books are compiled into one in this new printing. Prints of Richards’ watercolors and oil paintings are included in this book. The book and his artwork are available at www.joerichardsprincess.com.
Now in its fourth edition, "Fibreglass Boats" (2006, 4th edition, Adlard Coles Nautical, $26) was written 44 years ago by one of the pioneers of boatbuilding. Hugo du Plessis’ updated version includes information on composite boats and carbon fiber, but most of the book still centers around classic info on fiberglass hulls—construction, gelcoat, stressing, blistering, repair, and maintenance.
"Seaworthy, Essential Lessons from BoatU.S.’s 20-Year Case File of Things Gone Wrong"(2006, International Marine, $17) is a top-notch boater’s guide to preventing, responding to, and surviving accidents under power or sail, including hurricanes, lightning strikes, collisions, fires, groundings, sinkings, man overboard, and dismastings. Written by Robert A. Adriance, who has compiled Boat-
U.S.’s accident reports for more than 20 years, "Seaworthy" examines every kind of boating mishap, and Adriance offers his analysis of the general causes of boating accidents. Fascinating and engrossing, the book contains more than 150 photos worth a thousand words.
"Boat Maintenance, The Essential Guide to Cleaning, Painting, and Cosmetics" (2000, International Marine, $16) offers some fresh takes to age-old marine maintenance issues. A chemist by trade, author William Burr is also a lifelong sailor and liveaboard boatowner. Burr draws on his knowledge as a chemist and coatings retailer, as well as his own experiences tackling maintenance projects, to produce clearly written how-to’s and how-not-to’s. Included in the book are quick-reference guides and suggested maintenance schedules. Chapters cover everything from general care to maintaining fiberglass, wood, metal, coatings, adhesives, and fabrics. The book is a handy troubleshooting tool for the salty DIYer and a great guide for those new to the joys and pains of boat maintenance.