Best Learn to Sail Books

Whether you're new sailing or just want to fill in some information gaps, these books can help.
American Sailing Association

Sailing Made Easy

Sailing Made Easy (2010; American Sailing Association; $25) Jen Brett

This full-color, beautifully illustrated handbook takes new sailors and guides them through stepping aboard a sailboat for the first time to planning a daysail. In between, you’ll find easily digested chapters on the parts of a sailboat, the basics of sailing and sail shape, docking, seamanship and more. Sailing Made Easy is used as the textbook for the ASA 101 class, but will provide a solid foundation for anyone wanting to get their start sailing or brush up on the basics.

Learning the Art of Sailing

The Complete Sailor

The Complete Sailor by David Seidman (second edition, 2011; International Marine/Ragged Mountain Press; $19) Jen Brett

It’s like the next best thing to having a friend who’s an old salt (and willing to explain everything to you). While The Complete Sailor goes over the basics for sure, it covers so much more than that — hull designs and ­construction, aids to navigation, the finer points of rigging, the list goes on. Throughout the book there are clear and instructive illustrations that bring it all together.

Sailing book

The Annapolis Book of Seamanship

The Annapolis Book of Seamanship by John Rousmaniere (fourth edition, 2014; Simon & Schuster; $55) Jen Brett

The Annapolis Book of Seamanship is a classic in its own right, and has a place as a reference aboard any cruising sailboat. Written by one of the leading experts in safety at sea, this book contains all you’d want to know about sailing and sailboats, but where it really shines is in its coverage of weather, piloting and navigation.