Books for Your Boat
Reading while sailing, reading about sailing, reading about sailing while sailing... we like it all. Take a look at Cruising World's 2012 roundup of books to bring aboard.
Hostage: A Year at Gunpoint with Somali Pirates by Paul and Rachel Chandler with Sarah Edworthy (2011; $16; Mainstream Publishing Co.). Liveaboards Paul and Rachel Chandler, who sail a 38-footer, Lynn Rival, might as well be that cruising couple a few docks over. You know—the pair you’ve known for years. But they have a miraculous adventure story to tell. Hostage is a fascinating, no-frills account of being attacked and held captive by Somali pirates for over a year. This raw, cautionary tale illuminates the reality of life-threatening situations and reveals how the couple survived and existed in bizarre confines. It’s a page-turner worth jumping into from the safety of your own cabin—far, far away from the coast of Somalia.
Cornell's Ocean Atlas: Pilot Charts for All Oceans of the World by Jimmy and Ivan Cornell (2011; Cornell Sailing, $100). Seasoned voyagers know that pilot charts—the month-by-month analyses of winds and currents, rendered in easily understood “wind roses” that depict the strength and directions of each—are one of the most valuable tools for passage planning. The problem, according to author and routing guru Jimmy Cornell and his globe-girdling son, Ivan, was that much of the data in existing pilot charts, in these days of ever-changing worldwide weather patterns, had grown outdated.
With the publication of Cornell’s Ocean Atlas, that’s no longer the case. By employing the latest technology and weather information compiled via satellite over the last two decades and by quadrupling the number of roses on their clearly illustrated collection of transoceanic charts, the Cornells have not only updated a valuable resource but also substantially broadened it. For more background info, visit their website.
Gib's Odyssey: A Tale of Faith and Hope on the Intracoastal Waterway by Walter G. Bradley (2011; Lyons Press, $23). Gib Peters, a man who was diagnosed with A.L.S., or Lou Gehrig’s disease, at the age of 67, is determined to beat death. His true story will have you thanking your lucky stars as he sets off on a singlehanded cruise from Key West to New York to test his character against all odds. Bradley, a neurologist, chronicles Gib’s six-month voyage through the sailor’s emails to friends and family as his mind stays sharp but his body slowly deteriorates. Meanwhile, the hardship and hilarity he encounters aboard his 29-foot powerboat, Ka Ching, easily drowns out the hum of his engines. Gib will have you laughing, crying, and hugging your loved ones a little tighter. But most important, he’ll inspire you to throw off those dock lines and take on life with everything you’ve got, whether via power or sail.
Understanding, Installing, and Operating HF Marine Radio Transceivers by Martin Dunsmuir (2011; $30; White Squall Consulting). Setting up a reliable high-frequency system can be daunting for those of us unfamiliar with the various products and the specific cabling, antennas, modems, and software required. In this self-published manual, the author takes the mystery out of the process. Dunsmuir is an expert, and he provides regular seminars to such groups as the Blue Water Cruising Association.
This work fills in all the blanks. It begins with a section on high-frequency radio theory and quickly moves on to hardware choices, licensing, antennas, grounding, and troubleshooting. The last section is invaluable advice for solving problems offshore. The style is direct, up-to-date, and written specifically for cruisers.
-Peter A. Robson
Street's Guide to the Cape Verde Islands by Don Street Jr. ($50; 2011; Seaworthy Publications). Don Street’s guides are the gold standard, especially when it comes to venturing off the beaten path, and this is one of his best efforts. It’s vintage Street: highly opinionated, fiercely passionate, and totally comprehensive. It has everything you need to know, plus valuable information on downwind cruising rigs and useful details once you reach your destination in the eastern Caribbean. Of particular interest are the sections on clearing in and provisioning.
If you like your nautical literature penned by the light of a swaying kerosene cabin lamp, this is the book for you. What’s amazing isn’t that Don was my favorite guidebook writer when I was a teenager, but that he continues to be today, when I’m in my 60s. They don’t make ’em like Don anymore. Five stars.
-Cap’n Fatty Goodlander
Last Lights: The Hand Wound Lighthouses of the Bahamian Islands by Annie Potts ($30; 2010; Florida Classics Library). Annie Potts paints an intimate portrait of the islands and its people through her personal interaction with the keepers of the last three kerosene-burning, hand-operated lighthouses in the world. The book delivers much more than the title alone suggests, including striking photography, and will enrich the experience of all who sail upon these challenging waters.