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.

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The Great Schooner Race

I arrived in Rockland, Maine, on an early afternoon in July with a backpack, my camera and little else. Though traveling to an unfamiliar place to race with a crew of strangers has been a common theme in my sailing career, I had no idea what to expect from the massive wood and ...read more

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Cruising: Camaraderie in the Squall

Darkness had fallen and the howling wind almost drowned out the voices coming over the VHF radio. “Lights on! Blow horns!” “Make noise to alert the crew!” “Shine the spotlight on the cat by the shore, it’s dragging dangerously near our bow.” These were calls to action, not ...read more

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Boat Review: Lagoon 50

Anyone under the impression that change in today’s production catamarans is about little more than cosmetics needs to check out the Lagoon 50—an all-new design that went on to become the winner in the 40 to 50ft cruising multihull category in SAIL’s 2019 Best Boats awards. ...read more

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The Slow Route to Cabo

Each November, cruising boats start leaving California for “a winter of fun in the sun down Mexico way.” And having spent the summer and autumn on a leisurely passage down the West Coast on board Distant Drummer, our Liberty 458 sloop, my husband, Neil, and I were now in San ...read more

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New Multihulls 2018

Farrier F-22 New Zealander Ian Farrier ushered in a new genre of sailing with his folding-ama trailerable trimarans, the best-known of which are the Corsair designs. Farrier’s last project before he passed away last year was this sweet little tri. Available in three versions, ...read more

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Cruising: Island Comeback

The U.S. Virgins Islands have surged back from the devastation of the 2017 hurricanes, with new infrastructure plans that will benefit charterers and cruisers alike. After hurricanes Irma and Maria roared through the Leeward Islands in September 2017, it was impossible to ...read more