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Thread: Notable Little-Known Sailing Books

  1. #16
    Senior Moderator Loren Beach's Avatar
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    Don't forget "Unlikely Passages" by Reese Palley

    The follow up book was pretty good, too.
    1988 Olson 34 #8
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    Betamarine 25 (new 2018)
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  2. #17
    Curator of Broken Parts toddster's Avatar
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    Man, there are so many of them. And thanks to our modern world, as soon as you download one, you are helpfully presented with half a dozen more to choose from. Some, not so “notable.”
    As it happens, I have just finished Peter Heibert, Lee Shore Blues: Sex, Drugs, and Bluewater Sailing. A memoir more notable for its amazing breadth than for the prose. But he finishes it up with an extensive bibliography of books that inspired him, which is a nice little bonus.

    There was recently a similar thread on Sailing Anarchy about sailing books for kids. Thanks to that thread, I was reintroduced to “Sea Fever” and “The Plan for Birdsmarsh,” by K.M. Peyton, which made quite an impression on me as a tween. Though undoubtedly most of the actual sailing bits went over my head at the time. Now looking for an impressionable young person to pass them on to.

    A bit off-topic, but I noticed that lots of Heibert’s bibliography has to do (as one might expect) with sailing gaff-rigged boats. Maybe I’m strange, but when I’ve sold a boat (or a car) I tend to bundle the books that go with it. E.g., my catamaran books went with my catamaran, when I sold it. It seemed natural at the time.
    s/v arcturus E29 #134

  3. #18
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    "Sextant" by David Ogilvy Barrie.

    "London Goes to Sea" by Peter Baumgartner. This is about a guy who buys a used Cape Dory 27, and his stories of cruising and refurbishing her. It got me to buy my CD 27(my old man has an Ericson and it's interesting how different they can be).

  4. #19
    Principal Partner Keith Parcells's Avatar
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    Song of the Sirens, by Ernest K. Gann

    My new book (just from Father’s Day so I cannot yet vouch for good content, but it starts pretty well)
    The Art and Science of Sails, 2nd Ed., by Tom Whidden and Michael Levitt

    Two Years Before the Mast, by Richard Henry Dana (1836)
    Keith Parcells
    1983 E-33
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    Rocinante

  5. #20
    Moderator Christian Williams's Avatar
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    What marvelous forum work

    Many of these books I never heard of--at my age. A wonderful bunch of knowledge bits.

    I have in mind--not committed to doing it yet---a book called Now Read This, a guide to about 100 of great and/or obscure nautical books, summary reviews by me incorporating and cross pollinating ideas and sources, so that a member of the tribe could see what he has missed, and maybe be drawn to get some of them for his library, or at least to know they exist. Many will be used, since out of print.

    Ernest Gann--as a former amateur pilot I can only say, is a stunning nonfiction writer: every sailor would also be riveted by his "Fate is the Hunter," about flying the line in the early days, with the astonishing crash rate of DC3s with no nav gear landing in thunderstorms and losing engines right and left. And full of unsuspecting passengers.

    In Song of the Sirens, which Keith mentions, Gann buys a fishing boat in Alaska (I think) and is charmed by the frugality of the seller. Then they ride into a gale on the way home and the engine keeps sputtering and losing power. They can;t figure out what's wrong and are certain to perish. Then Gann remembers the seller. What a cheapskate he is. How he hates to spend money on anything. They are about to sink from loss of control when Gann, after this psychological review, has a suspicions and rushes to the sputtering engine room as icey seas sweep the helpless boat. The seller has set the fuel mixture extremely lean--to save gas! They change the setting, the engine roars to happy life, and they continue successfully on.

    Gann's fiction--well, fiction is harder.

    I do hope, selfishly, that this parade of lesser-known nautical books continues.
    Last edited by Christian Williams; 06-19-2018 at 06:20 PM.
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  6. #21
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    N by E, by Rockwell Kent, 1930, illustrated with woodblock carvings by the author.

    A cutter voyage from Nova Scotia to a shipwreck in Greenland and as I recall a love interest that may or may not have started with sailing the vessel and ended up completely elsewhere...

    https://books.google.com/books/about...ngEACAAJ&hl=en

    Speaking of books Christian, isn't your second at the printers?

    Max
    Last edited by fool; 06-19-2018 at 07:08 PM.
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  7. #22
    Moderator Christian Williams's Avatar
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    Yes. Be out in about a month. Here's a sneak:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	covedr snip.jpg 
Views:	66 
Size:	121.8 KB 
ID:	24576

    And yes, Rockwell Kent, a great illustrator, is quite love-starved in that yarn.
    Last edited by Christian Williams; 06-19-2018 at 07:48 PM.
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  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Christian Williams View Post
    Yes. Be out in about a month. Here's a sneak:

    And yes, Rockwell Kent, a great illustrator, is quite love-starved in that yarn.
    'tis, I found a moldy third, cut out the salvageable illustrations. That edition was well seasoned and smelled of diesel. I killed it, matted and framed them, and have screwed the 4 x 6's into the bulkheads in the main salon.

    I have lived those moulds in one form or another I suppose. Bilges... ya never know what they'll yield...

    Thanks for the sneak! if there is a line to subscribe to your new edition, look in the bilges, we'll be the first in line.

    (Any chance you'll be reading it as well? Or are you working on one step at a time?)
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  9. #24
    Sustaining Partner ChrisS's Avatar
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    "The Log of the Mahina" by John Neal. It describes a 1973-74 trip from the West Coast to the South Pacific and back. A mix of sea log and descriptions of destinations. The author had only been sailing for a year when he took the trip, and he went on to become a fixture in the sailing world. He has an offshore training service, on a boat called "Mahina." I guess he likes the name!

    I found the book in a used bookstore in Rio Vista, California, in January. It came in a day before my visist from an estate sail, and it has a letter from the author to the prior owner of the book. Never pass by a used book store when you come across one--you never know what you might find!
    Chris Simenstad
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  10. #25
    Grizz Grizz's Avatar
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    Unless overlooked...

    ...2 on my list but not listed (so far):

    • A Voyage for Madmen - Peter Nichols [1st sponsored, solo circumnavigation race, 1968]
    • The Boys in the Boat - Daniel James Brown (not sailing, but on-the-water & inspirational)
    1989 Olson 34 #9
    Sail #34109
    Shoe String
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  11. #26
    Principal Partner footrope's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Christian Williams View Post
    Many of these books I never heard of--at my age. A wonderful bunch of knowledge bits.

    ... snip ...

    Ernest Gann--as a former amateur pilot I can only say, is a stunning nonfiction writer: every sailor would also be riveted by his "Fate is the Hunter," about flying the line in the early days, with the astonishing crash rate of DC3s with no nav gear landing in thunderstorms and losing engines right and left. And full of unsuspecting passengers.

    In Song of the Sirens, which Keith mentions, Gann buys a fishing boat in Alaska (I think) and is charmed by the frugality of the seller. Then they ride into a gale on the way home and the engine keeps sputtering and losing power. They can;t figure out what's wrong and are certain to perish. Then Gann remembers the seller. What a cheapskate he is. How he hates to spend money on anything. They are about to sink from loss of control when Gann, after this psychological review, has a suspicions and rushes to the sputtering engine room as icey seas sweep the helpless boat. The seller has set the fuel mixture extremely lean--to save gas! They change the setting, the engine roars to happy life, and they continue successfully on.

    Gann's fiction--well, fiction is harder.

    I do hope, selfishly, that this parade of lesser-known nautical books continues.
    Oh, great job Christian. And - spoiler alert! Now I have to find a copy of Sirens and re-read it.
    His aviation writing is generally riveting. Maybe I need to review that list and see if I missed any during my mis-spent youth.
    Craig Davis & Ellen Le Vita

    1980 E38 "Pilot Project"
    Hull #20, Universal Diesel 5432
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    In Puget Sound there are only two directions to go - North and South. That applies to the boat and the wind.

  12. #27
    Contributing Partner ofshore74's Avatar
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    Sailing Just For Fun, and other obscurities from the bookshelf.

    "Sailing Just For Fun" A. C. Stock writes about "high adventure on a small budget." Love the simplicity and obsessive little details of someone who sailed a tiny little boat with no engine and no electronics called Shoal Waters. Reading about his pottering around the UK, and anecdotes for how to do it with very little, ignites appreciation for the little things.

    Roger D. Taylor is another Brit who wrote several books, sailed a trailer-sailor in the North Atlantic called MingMing, junk-rigged, no engine, no electronics. Gutsy. His otherworldly experiences with whales is worth reading.

    James Baldwin another engineless sailor on a boat called Atom (Pearson Triton I think) wrote two books in the early 80s. Also has a Youtube channel and does incredible custom work on old fiberglass boats of the same ilk, a real craftsman. His videos are dry, but utterly absorbing and creative: https://www.youtube.com/user/atomvoyager/videos

    "Sailing back in time" Maria Coffey & Dag Goering, meet and sail with Allen and Sharie Farrel toward the end of their days, two free spirits who lived and sailed the BC coast for decades. Allen designed and built every boat by hand. Was also a teacher painter and free spirit who passed along every tool, lesson and boat he ever built. The boat they live on and sailed throughout the book was called China Cloud and is a junk rigged oddity.

    Edit: Added yours C.W. to the shelf, look forward to it!
    Last edited by ofshore74; 07-07-2018 at 07:51 PM.

  13. #28
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    Surprised I din't think on it first: Diary of a Sea Captains Wife - Tales from Santa Cruz Island. A rough beginning with small scale fishing which grew to the "in" Hollywood crowd and production support to various film productions.

    A rare insight into the early history, cult and culture, of the Channel Islands in Southern California. Makes a visit to the islands so much more... important.
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  14. #29
    Continuously learning 907Juice's Avatar
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    Not so little known sailing book?

    This winter I want to redo my electrical wiring. When I search the inter webs there are hundreds to choose from. Any suggestions for a diy electrical job? Also, I’d be a paying customer if anyone wants to clear their bookshelf.
    Juice
    1982 Ericson 25 plus

  15. #30
    Moderator Christian Williams's Avatar
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    I studied Nigel Calder, and bought "Boatowner's Illustrated Electrical Handbook" by Charlie Wing.

    They weren't much help. Too generic and theoretical.

    I got much more guidance here on the forum, and through Google searches.
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