One of the things I’ve noticed with the advent of YouTube cruising video channels is that they seem to inspire all the wrong questions about getting a boat and sailing off into the sunset. Which is hardly surprising as most of the YouTube videos seem to fall into the cinema faux zone. Which is not to say there isn’t some information to be gleaned from some but they are mostly covering a non-existent sanitized reality.
Now, books on the other hand…
Books can be just as bad or worse than a YouTube video but most of the books that have become staples are just about the best investment one can make if you need information you can count on. So here are some books that I have on the book shelf aboard “So It Goes”.
- World Cruising Routes by Jimmy Cornell
- World Cruising Handbook by Jimmy Cornell
- Tropical Cruising Handbook by Mark Smaalders and Kim des Rochers
- Self Sufficient Sailor by Lin and Larry Pardey
- Cost Conscious Cruiser by Lin and Larry Pardey
- The Voyager’s Handbook by Beth Leonard
- Spurr’s Boatbook Upgrading the Cruising Sailboat by Daniel Spurr
- Cruising as a Way of Life by Thomas Colvin
- Practical Yacht Joinery by Fred Bingham
- Blue Water Countdown by Geoff Pack
- The Sailors Sketchbook by Bruce Bingham
- Cruising World’s Workbench by Bruce Bingham
- The Complete Riggers Apprentice by Brion Toss
- The Sailmakers Apprentice by Emiliano Marino
- Practical Junk Rig by Hasler & McLeod
- The Chinese Sailing Rig by Derek van Loan
- Seaworthiness by C.A. Marchaj
- The New Cold-Molded Boatbuilding by Reuel Parker
- Buehlers Backyard Boatbuilding by George Buehler
- The Windvane Self-Steering Handbook by Bill Morris
- Self-Steering for Sailing Craft by John Letcher Jr
- Voyaging on a Small Income by Annie Hill
- The Captain Nemo Cookbook Papers: Everyone’s Guide To Zen & The Art of Boating in Hard Times by Hal Painter
I actually, as our waterline attests, have a lot more books of the boatbuilding/design/cruising ilk but the list are the ones I pick up on a regular basis for problem solving or inspiration and they’ve earned their place on my bookshelf.
Even more important is the fact that they have all saved me a lot of money over the years and even made me money from time to time which is why they’re still on the boat and continue to be.
For starters, I’d make an effort to get a used copy of “Spurr’s Boatbook” and Pardey’s “Self Sufficient Sailor” as the books that will answer most all of the needful questions you might have. I’d then follow up with Annie Hill’s great “Voyaging on a Small Income” as it’s the most reality based book you’ll be able to find. I’d also make a point of getting a copies of “The Riggers Apprentice”, “Sailmakers Apprentice”, and “Practical Yacht Joinery” as they cover just about anything you’ll need to sort out during a refit or when you need to fix something.
I’d also recommend a copy of Hal Painter’s “The Captain Nemo Cookbook Papers: Everyone’s Guide to Zen & The Art of Boating in Hard Times” because life is just too short to take things too seriously.
As for the others on the list, they are all worth reading but more of a “get them when you need them” but still highly recommended.
I’m sure everyone else will recommend something from Nigel Calder who has written good books and I’m sure I have a copy of his “Boatowners Mechanical and Electrical Handbook” somewhere on the boat or it may have been purloined by someone I loaned it to (and folks wonder why I no longer lend books or tools) but to tell the truth I’ve never actually found it all that helpful and I’d much rather have a copy of John Muir’s “How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive” as a problem solving aid if I was having mechanical issues.
Lastly, another book some speak highly of is “Sensible Cruising- the Thoreau Approach” by Casey & Hackler which was sorta OK but not a book I’d recommend.