Features November 2015 Issue

5 Sailing Book Gift Ideas

New sailing books offer beautiful photos, engaging prose.

sailing books

If you have a sailing-photography enthusiast on your holiday gift list—or are like us, and simply enjoy the pleasure of poring over beautiful photographs of the sailing life—then check out these stunning coffee-table books that recently came across our desks.

“Yachting: A Visual Celebration of Sailing Past and Present” (Adlard Coles, 2015, $23), written by Olivier Le Carrer, and Nic Compton’s “The Anatomy of Sail: The Yacht Dissected and Explained” (Adlard Coles, 2015, $39, $20 Kindle) are bold, beautiful books with hundreds of color and black-and-white photos of modern and classic yachts.

Carrer’s “Yachting” offers a photo collection of sailing throughout history, with sections on the America’s Cup, the Transatlantic Race, and the history of the J/class boats. The editor of French yachting magazine Bateaux, Carrer examines yachting myths and features photos of sailing in art, history, and high society. Photographs of the Fastnet Rock lighthouse, England’s narrow Solent straight, and yachting capitals Palma, Mallorca in Spain, and Newport, R.I. in the U.S. are highlighted in the author’s look at iconic world yachting centers. Two of PS editors’ favorite chapters are the ones on Olin Stephens and John F. Kennedy Jr.

Compton’s “The Anatomy of Sail” dissects the sailing yacht and examines its many parts through the camera-microscope, zooming in on the hull, deck, rigging, and equipment with unique and compelling camera angles and interesting photocropping. The book’s opening section on structural basics breaks down the differences between working boats, racing yachts, cruising boats, and various rig types. Browsing through the photos is an entertaining way to learn the many different parts of boats and to boost your boating knowledge. Compton, a former editor of Classic Boat magazine, has designed a book for sailing aficionados and beginners alike.

In the era of commercial sail, clipper ships were the ultimate expression of speed and grace; clippers were large ships designed to carry light cargo at high speeds. More than 200 photos and illustrations bring these beautiful, vintage ships to life in “Clipper Ships and the Golden Age of Sail: Races and Rivalries on the Nineteenth-century High Seas” (Adlard Coles, Bloomsbury, 2014, $31, $16 Kindle). Written by Sam Jefferson, the book includes sections on the history of trade routes and yacht design, along with race descriptions and newspaper reports from the golden age of sail. It features the popular clipper ships, the Flying Cloud, Cutty Sark, and Marco Polo. The historic black-and-white photos and compelling color illustrations remind us why this era still captures our imagination.

There be treasure, matey, in the superb book “Maps: Their Untold Stories” (Adlard Coles, Bloomsbury, 2014, $33, $10 Kindle). Written by Rose Mitchell and Andrew Janes, the book features 100 maps from the British National Archives, covering a broad range of dates, places, and contexts. The authors present the maps in eight themed chapters, including Early Maps (British and French maps drawn from the years 1430 to 1636); military maps from 1567 to 1945; early sea charts, featuring medieval sea charts from the 14th century; New Worlds and colonies; and Maps that Witnessed History. The book ends with a caricature treasure map, Treasure Island 1946. X marks the spot on this true treasure of a collection.

“A strange phenomenon occurs at sea. Life happens one day at a time. The past is of no consequence, the future resides in the unknown…everything passes.” Sally-Christine Rodgers starts her love letter on sailing, cruising, and adventure, “Convergence: A Voyage Through French Polynesia,” with these thought-provoking observations. “Convergence” (Paradise Cay Publications, 2014, $25) is written for those who yearn for adventure and dream of the South Seas, just as Rodgers did as a young girl.

“Convergence” is the story of Rodgers’ Pacific adventure with her husband, West Marine founder Randy Repass, and son aboard their Wylie 65 cat ketch. Her prose vividly evokes the adventure, the challenges, and the humor of long-distance cruising. All proceeds from the sales of “Convergence” will be donated to marine conservation efforts.

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