Cold Comfort Reading - Sail Magazine

Cold Comfort Reading

This time of year, with the boats packed up and the waters iced over, we often become armchair sailors by default. There’s no better time to delve into that list of sailing books you've been dying to read. Start with these suggestions from SAIL editors and readers, and send us a few of your own. Get cozy – reading season has only just begun.Dallas
Author:
Publish date:

This time of year, with the boats packed up and the waters iced over, we often become armchair sailors by default. There’s no better time to delve into that list of sailing books you've been dying to read. Start with these suggestions from SAIL editors and readers, and send us a few of your own. Get cozy – reading season has only just begun.

Dallas Murphy

Rounding the Horn: Being the Story of Williwaws and Windjammers, Drake, Darwin, Murdered Missionaries and Naked Natives--a Deck's-eye View of Cape Horn

Perseus Books Group

384 pages, $16.95

For centuries, the small stretch of water between Cape Horn and the Antarctic Peninsula was the only gateway between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. It’s a place where the storms are bigger, the winds stronger, and the seas rougher than anywhere else on earth. In Rounding the Horn he undertakes the ultimate maritime rite of passage, and brings the reader along for a thrilling, exuberant tour. Weaving together stories of his own nautical adventures with long-lost tales of those who braved the Cape before him—from Spanish missionaries to Captain Cook—and interspersing them with breathtaking descriptions of the surrounding wilderness, Murphy has crafted an immensely enjoyable read.

Miles Smeeton

Once is Enough

Sailor's Classics

224 pages, $12.95

When Tzu Hang, a 46-foot ketch, set sail from Melbourne, Australia, in December 1956 bound for England, Miles Smeeton had little concept of the challenges or terrors that awaited him. At that time very few small sailboats had successfully rounded Cape Horn, and none had sailed as far south as Tzu Hang--just north of the Antarctic iceberg limit. When it was first published in 1959, Once Is Enough electrified the sailing world. But what keeps it fresh and captivating is not just Smeeton's vivid re-creation of the sea's fury. His eloquent descriptions of ordinary life at sea make Once Is Enough timeless reading for sailors and armchair adventurers alike.

Richard Henry Dana

Two Years Before the Mast: A Personal Narrative of Life at Sea

Penguin Group

576 pages, $15

Dana’s account of his passage as a common seaman from Boston around Cape Horn to California, and back, is a remarkable portrait of the seagoing life. Bringing to the public’s attention for the first time the plight of the most exploited segment of the American working class, he forever changed readers’ romanticized perceptions of life at sea.

Peter Nichols

A Voyage for Madmen

Harper Collins

336 pages, $14.99

In 1968, nine sailors set off on the most daring race ever held: to single-handedly circumnavigate the globe nonstop in a feat that would forever change the face of sailing. Ten months later, only one of the nine men would cross the finish line and earn fame, wealth, and glory. For the others, the reward was madness, failure, and death. A Voyage for Madmen is a tale of sailors driven by their own dreams and demons, of horrific storms in the Southern Ocean, and of those riveting moments when a split-second decision means the difference between life and death.

John Caldwell

Desperate Voyage

Sheridan House

324 pages, $14.95

Stranded in Panama after WWII and desperate to get to his bride in Australia, Caldwell buys a small boat and heads across the Pacific, battling storms and near-starvation. A gripping read.

Tristan Jones

The Incredible Voyage

Sheridan House

A lot of Jones's writing requires a willing suspension of disbelief on the part of the reader, but just about any of his many books makes for great fireside reading.

410 pages, $19.95

Farley Mowat

The Boat Who Wouldn't Float

Amazon

Hilarious tale of an unfortunate encounter with a characterful boat in Newfoundland.

256 pages, $5.99

H.W. Tilman

Mischief in Patagonia

Mountaineer's Books

Mountain climbing and high-latitude voyaging in a leaky boat. A seafaring classic.

960 pages, $45

Related

Thoreau

A Thoreau Approach to Sailing

I know someone who spent two years, two months and two days staring at the water, living in a space 150ft square, and paying keen attention to the weather. This sounds like a happy circumnavigation, and in a sense, it was, because the person I’m referring to is Henry David ...read more

shutterstock_1886572

Cruising: Won Over by Lake Michigan

Like many, I often spend my sailing holidays far away from home, assuming that real adventure requires some kind of international flight. More and more, though, I’m learning that some of the best sailing vacations can be found right in my own backyard.In this spirit, I skipped my ...read more

00WindGenerator700x

How-to: Installing a Wind Generator

Solar panels or wind generator? There’s little doubt that for Stateside cruising, especially down South where the amount of sunshine outstrips the strength of the wind for much of the year, solar is top of the list for liveaboard and long-term cruisers. Having seen what even a ...read more

01-Ursus-Maritimus-31081

The Figawi Race: A New England Classic

When I was 15, some of my sailing classmates kicked off the summer by sailing the Figawi, New England’s legendary season-opening race held every Memorial Day weekend. A winding course between Hyannis and Nantucket, it was a seemingly epic voyage to a bunch of kids who had never ...read more

03-Panama-Posse-honduras

Panama Posse Enters Its Second Year

The Panama Posse is back this month after a successful inaugural rally in 2017-2018. This year it includes visits to seven Central American countries—Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Costa Rica and Panama.Over the course of the rally, organizers provide ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell.Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.comLetting go the sheetTaking a loaded-up sheet off a winch when the boat tacks can be a just cause for nervousness. On a boat up to 40ft or so, the safest way is to first ease off a few inches, keeping the ...read more

USCGReadyForRescue_Identifier_FullColor

USCG Ready for Rescue Challenge

The U.S. Coast Guard is now collaborating with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on something it calls the “Ready for Rescue,” a $255,000 prize competition that is looking for ways that will make it easier to locate people, MOB victims in particular, in the water.The ...read more

04-CLR1718md1085-jpg

A Historic Win for Wendy Tuck

This past summer Australian sailor, Wendy Tuck (inset), became the first woman to win a round-the-world yacht race when she and her crew aboard Sanya Serenity Coast claimed the overall victory in the 2017-18 Clipper Race. “I am just so happy,” Tuck said at the finish in ...read more