We went to a Windjammers lecture to hear Bill Seifert and I was impressed enough to buy
the book on the spot. I've heard a lot of people talk about ways to improve a boat, but
I've never heard one person suggest so many good ideas that I hadn't considered. Part
of the charm is the specificity of the suggestions. Everyone says you should secure your
floorboards, hatchboards and batteries. Bill shows good suggestions on how to do so.
The suggestions are very practical for the do-it-yourselfer, too. Many show how to
make or adapt inexpensive solutions. Tip #12 on closing the deck blower vents is one
that will pay off for me without ever going offshore. I'll implement that one to
stop the wintertime storms from finding their way belowdecks.
Besides modifications, the book also includes advice for operating offshore, cooking,
boat selection, dealing with bureaucracy, and more.
Bill Seifert has worked at Tartan, TPI, and Alden Yachts. He's a veteran of many
Marion-Bermuda races and now runs his own yacht management company. His tips are
born of experience--not of book-learning--and it shows. He obviously knows his
I spent my childhood playing with electricity, but most people find it
pretty mysterious. You generally can't smell it, see it, or hear it
(and please don't try tasting or touching it). How do you know what
Don Casey has written a good guide for the novice electrician that's
especially tuned for the sailboat owner who wants his electrical gear
to work reliably. If your boat lights are flickering, maybe you should
consult this book.
Subtitled "turn a rundown fiberglass boat into a
first-class yacht on a shoestring budget," this book is the best
introduction I know boat maintenance for the new or prospective owner
of a "modern classic" sailboat. Starting with guidelines
for selecting a boat, Casey proceeds to fiberglass repairs, cabin and
deckwork, spars and rigging, boat equipment, woodwork, electrical,
plumbing, refrigeration, painting, canvas work and sails. All of this
is described in clear, simple terms perfect for the inexperienced.
This is the book that taught me fiberglass work. But don't let it
fool you; this book is appropriate for experienced boatowners, too.
I still refer to it.
An in-depth reference to almost every essential system
found on a sailboat. Calder has well-considered strategies for everything.
Granted, there are good alternatives to some of his approaches, but he
won't lead you astray. This is a book you can trust. Now expanded in
its second edition.
A serious magazine for serious sailors. This magazine deals extensively
with all sorts of navigation, from ded reckoning to radar and GPS. Also
significant coverage of other issues of offshore (or other challenging) sailing.
My favorite Chesapeake Bay guidebook. While it mentions marinas, it
concentrates on anchorages—the kind of places I prefer to spend
my time. And in addition to listing shore facilities, it rates each
location for Beauty/Interest and Protection. This is the guide you need
to really cruise the Chesapeake Bay—a smorgasbord of small creeks
In 1912, Henry Plummer set out down the U.S. East Coast in an engineless
catboat (the launch had an engine), with his son and cat. Such cruising was
hardly heard of in those days. After the trip, he wrote this delightful
book and self-published it in a small run of 700 copies. Always hard to find,
people keep republishing it just to have a chance to read it themselves. This
edition is due out in April 2003.
Shackleton's near-fatal journey to the Antarctic has received a
lot of press in recent years. This is Shackleton's own account—quiet,
understated, and riveting. It also describes the travails of the Aurora
expedition, intended to lay the groundwork for Shackleton on the other
side of the continent.