PxPixel
Book Review: The Art and Science of Sails, Revised Edition - Sail Magazine

Book Review: The Art and Science of Sails, Revised Edition

Author:
Publish date:

When it first came out twenty-six years ago The Art and Science of Sails immediately established itself as the preeminent text on how sails are made and work, covering the length and breadth of modern-day sailmaking—including the latest on sail design and engineering, as well as how to choose the best sails for your own boat.

08-sails-book-cover

Since that time, of course, a lot has happened—who would have guessed back then that the America’s Cup would someday be raced aboard flying boats with solid sails? So authors Tom Whidden (whose day job is working as the president of North Sails’ technology group) and Michael Levitt decided that an update was in order.

While parts of the book are quite technical, most of it is aimed at the weekend warrior who has a basic understanding of his sails, but needs to know more. (A modern sail is, after all, a complex bit of engineering, as are the processes used to build it.) As a reader, you will not only learn all of this, but perhaps more importantly, you will develop a better grasp of sail trim in the abstract, through a fuller understanding of terms like chord depth and twist, and how it all relates to your boat and the type of sailing you do. Sails are a big investment, not only in terms of money but also time if you want to make them work right. With that in mind, this book is a must-read for anyone who wants to make the most of their sailing.—Brian Hancock

Tom Whidden and Michael Levitt

North Sails Group, 2016 — 182 pp., $26.63

February 2017

Related

Josie-helm-2

Chartering the U.S. and Spanish Virgins

Flying into Tortola in the British Virgin Islands one December morning, three months after Hurricane Irma, I felt like a war correspondent dispatched to the battlefront rather than a sailing magazine writer on an assignment to go cruising.As my LIAT plane descended toward Beef ...read more

Crew-North-27M004

Weather Gear for Inshore Sailing

Just because you’re not planning on braving the Southern Ocean this summer doesn’t mean that you won’t have some dicey days out on the water. If you haven’t got the right gear, a little rain or humidity can make things miserable. As with all safety equipment, “it’s always better ...read more

atlantic-cup-trailer

2018 Atlantic Cup Video Mini-Series

Atlantic Cup 2018: TrailerThis past spring, SAIL magazine was on-hand to document the 2018 Atlantic Cup, a two-week-long Class 40 regatta spanning the U.S. East Coast and one of the toughest events in all of North America. The preview above will give you a taste of the four-video ...read more

3DiNordac_webheader

3Di NORDAC: One Year In

One year ago this month, North Sails launched a cruising revolution with the introduction of 3Di NORDAC. The product promised to deliver a better cruising experience for a market that had not seen true product innovation in over 60 years. Today we’re celebrating the team that ...read more

HB96k_EP

Sea Eagle’s HB96 inflatable SUP

What SUP?Dinghies and kayaks are all very well, but there’s nothing like a stand-up paddleboard for exploring interesting new shorelines while giving you a good workout. Sea Eagle’s HB96 inflatable SUP makes a fine addition to your boat’s armory of anchorage toys, either on its ...read more

DSC_0031-43

Charting the USVI and Spanish Virgins

When my friends and I booked a one-way bareboat charter with Sail Caribe, starting in the U.S. Virgin Islands and finishing in Puerto Rico, we were a little nervous about what we would find in the aftermath of hurricanes Irma and Maria—even seven months later.When our plane ...read more

SailRepairKit

Know How: Sail Repair Kit

Despite your best efforts, there will inevitably be times when your sail gets damaged while at sea and needs to be repaired. First, no matter what the job, you will need to do a quick damage assessment, a task that requires a flat wooden surface, sharp scissors and a helping ...read more

01-061018ROAC-8149

Coming of Age at the Atlantic Cup

Midway through the final race of the inshore portion of the 2018 Atlantic Cup, the three boats in the lead—Mike Dreese’s Toothface 2, Mike Hennessy’s Dragon and Oakcliff Racing, representing the Long Island Sound-based sailing school of the same name—suddenly broke free from the ...read more

01_silken_2018-03-08-0052

North U’s Regatta Experience Program

“Want to check the keel?” North U Coach Geoff Becker calls to me from back by the transom. We’ve just suffered our worst finish in the regatta and are absolutely flying on our way back to shore, spinnaker up and heeling at an angle that feels like maybe we’re tempting fate. ...read more