Books for Sailors

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The thud of a book landing on a desk is a rare pleasure in this digital age, much more satisfying than the ping of an email or text alert. Kindle has its place, but there’s nothing like paper to get a lasting message across.

Good sailing fiction is a rare commodity these days—though there seems to be no shortage of bad stuff—so it was a pleasure to receive not one but two sailing-centric novels in the same month. In Before The Wind, author Jim Lynch tells the engaging tale of the Johannssens, a sailing family that’s like a distillation of all the eccentric, funny and cranky sailors you’ve ever met. All too many writers have failed to convey both the technicalities and the spiritual joys of sailing in a manner that will engage the uninitiated without alienating the experienced, but lifelong sailor Lynch carries it off in this enjoyable read.

As for Richard Probert’s That Good Night, here’s a book that could start a whole new genre—geezer sailing fiction. The hero is 84-year-old Charlie Lambert, who refuses to go gently into the good night of old age. He springs himself from a nursing home, buys a sailboat and heads off into the wild blue yonder to live out his days on his own terms, not those of his children. Keeping his whereabouts secret from his family and with a private eye hot on his trail, Charlie finds romance, freedom and, eventually, an ending of his own choosing.

And now for something completely different—Selling Your Writing to the Boating Magazines—and other niche mags. Here, Michael Robertson provides a comprehensive guide to conceiving, pitching, and (most importantly) writing articles that specialist magazines like SAIL will want to publish. I’d consider this book essential reading for aspiring sailing writers. If you want proof that Robertson knows whereof he speaks, I refer you to his excellent article on cruising Glacier Bay.


Landing Page Lead

The Volvo Returns to the Southern Ocean

Since the Volvo Ocean Race’s inception, the Southern Ocean has made it what it is. And no part of the race says “Southern Ocean” like Leg 7 from Auckland, New Zealand, to Itajaí, Brazil. The 7,600-mile leg, which starts this Sunday, is not only the longest of the event, but far more


SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell.Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.comTeak deck paradise  I had a call recently from the man who replaced the deck on my Mason 44 five years ago. He was worried about the way people are wrecking their teak decks trying to get the green off. more


Gear: ATN Multi Awning

THROW SOME SHADEAmong the many virtues of cruising cats is the large expanse of netting between their bows, which is the ideal place to hang out with a cold one after a hard day’s sailing and let the breeze blow your worries away. Only trouble is it can get a bit hot up there more


How to Sail the Med

“After spending so many years sailing the Caribbean, I was frankly astounded at how much more I enjoy the Mediterranean,” says Scott Farquharson of charter brokers Proteus Yacht Charters. “The culture, the history, the food, the weather, friendly people, crystal-clear water—there more


Know-How: Rigging Emergency Rudders

We were 1,100 miles from the nearest land when we received a text message on our Iridium GO: “Rudder gone. Water in bilge. Worried pumps can’t keep up. Please call!”We had been in contact with the owners of Rosinante, a 38ft Island Packet, since they had first announced over the more


Experience: Hard Aground

This is a story of how mistakes are made and judgment is dulled to the point of catastrophe. It is also about how prudent planning, good equipment and a bit of luck can bring you back from the brink.We departed Norfolk, Virginia, on December 15 bound for Jacksonville, Florida, more


Vestas Discusses Fatal Collision, Recovery

Vestas 11th Hour Racing co-captains Mark Towill and Charlie Enright discuss the collision near the end of Leg 4 as well as the efforts the team has made to get back into racing trimJust over a month after 11th Hour Racing’s fatal collision with a commercial fishing vessel shortly more