If like me, you can’t yet be out there actually sailing around the world right now, there are plenty of books to help with your sailing plans and assist to build up your sailing knowledge or are just great armchair adventure sailing books.
Books are heavy and with limited storage space on board, it can be difficult to find somewhere to stow them. They also don’t like damp conditions. So Andrew very kindly bought me a Kindle! I am now in the process of loading up my Kindle with some old favourites and new books so I have my own electronic library ready to take anywhere on our adventures.
I love the Kindle features, it is small enough to keep in a handbag, the light on the display is great for reading during the day or night. You can look up word meanings, add bookmarks to pages you want to refer back to, highlight passages or sentences. You can also share books with your friends – lend them out for 14 days to another Kindle user. You can also have a Family Library, where all the books you download can be shared with another adult & up to four children.
Another cool Kindle feature is that you can now have unlimited access to all Kindle Books and audio books for USD$9.99 a month. Click here for a free 30 day trial.
I haven’t tried them yet, but I imagine that the audio books would be great for night watches, enabling you to keep your eyes on your surroundings but get to read/hear a great book at the same time.
In saying that though, I do think that some reference books and text books are better off being in print.
Here are some of the titles that I have been reading of late:
This is a brilliant book with some fantastic tips about how and when to plan your route across the various bodies of water around the globe, taking advantage of the prevailing wind and currents. Jimmy notes all the places of interest to visit along the way. He has also written two other books: World Cruising Routes and World Cruising Destinations. These are both on my list of books to read in the future.
I am currently studying for my Ocean Yachtmaster qualification, and this is the text book. There are probably hundreds of books written on this topic. This one is full of great tips and advice and diagrams.
This book is a fantastic overview of all the South Pacific Islands. There is a wealth of information about local hazards, advice for dealing with tides and currents and the best anchorages depending on the wind. This book came in really handy when we were in New Caledonia. Although being that it covers the whole of the South Pacific, there are probably some places that get left out.
This is a great book and one worth re-reading every so often, particularly before a longer voyage. There is advice on different techniques for dealing with storms at sea.
This is another text book from a Sea Survival Course I did a few years back. Lots of great tips, especially around getting your grab bag sorted and what to expect if you ditch in to a life raft.
Another Ocean Yachtmaster handbook. There are separate books for Northern and Southern Hemispheres. Sailors always have one eye on the weather. This book helps you to learn more about various weather patterns around the world.
This was the text book from my Coastal Skipper Course. Packed full of information on the various techniques of planning a coastal passage and obtaining your position.
If you are planning on cruising around the European Inland Waterways, then you will need to sit a CEVNI test, and this can be done online via an RYA training provider. This is the book to read before you sit the test. The rules on inland waterways differ significantly from the COLREGS.
This is brilliant book and an essential item for any boat library. You often hear people saying that they are going to consult Nigel (the author) before tackling any of the complicated tasks you will find every day on a boat. This book explains simply but in detail how most boat systems work and how to repair them.
Jackie Parry has been cruising for many years, and she has collated a wealth of knowledge in this book to share with others embarking on the same path.
This is a book for sailors who want to learn about stepping their own masts, inspecting and maintaining their own rigs, and turning their own tailsplices and wire eyesplices. It is for boatowners who want to replace an entire gang of rigging themselves–measuring, choosing appropriate wire, turning soft eyes, leathering, and serving. It is for bluewater voyagers who want to feel secure in the knowledge that, should a shroud carry away far at sea, they will be able to repair it.
Learn how to sew patches, hand sew rings, fix tears or frayed edges, and stitch seams, not to mention how to make your own sails, canvas sailcovers, and sailbags from scratch.
This would have to be one of my all time favourite stories of adventure and survival. Worsley is a brilliant writer and you feel as though you are in the tiny boat crossing the Southern Ocean in a frozen reindeer sleeping bag with the rest of the crew.
You just have to read this book! A classic for every sailor, Slocum was the first person to sail single handed around the world, and his book describes his adventures along the way.
I am a big fan of Captain Cook and here in New Zealand many places were named by him. This book is the best book I have read about Cook, and I have also just downloaded it to the kindle as well. Mundle brings the history to life, it is easy to read and a fascinating account of this amazing man.
After having read Cook, I was keen for more of Rob Mundle’s work, so I next read Bligh. Again I learnt so much about this man, the mutiny on the Bounty and his amazing account of survival in a small boat across a huge ocean. Mundle has written lots of seafaring stories and I am going to have great pleasure in reading the rest of his books.
A lighthearted tale of a reluctant sailor and her adventurous boyfriend. I found myself relating to the boyfriend more than the main character. However it is a nice easy reading account of her time at sea and overcoming fears.
A humorous story of a couple who sold up and moved aboard, the things that went right and the bits that didn’t.
Hilarious observations from a man who lives aboard.
This is a fantastic story of how a young grieving office worker ran away and ended up sailing around the world. Jackie has had some amazing adventures. This is a great book.
I was lucky enough to meet Laura Dekker at her book launch here in Christchurch. It is incredible what a girl so young achieved against all the odds. Her story is inspiring to me (and many others I’m sure) – if she can sail around the world alone, then surely I can do it with Andrew!
Another inspiring teenager with a dream. This is another great book describing how she managed to overcome all obstacles and sail around the world.
Matt is a friend of mine, and I absolutely loved reading his book about his adventures in the Southern Ocean. Each chapter is a different adventure, giving you a real feel for this wild and almost untouched part of the planet. Brilliant.
I am a big fan of Jackie – her writing style is so easy to read, and her descriptions of the places they visit takes you along on the adventures with her and Noel. This time on their boat Pyewacket. Well worth a read.
Andrew Fagan is a bit of a Kiwi Icon. Famous in the 1980’s as the lead singer in the band the Mockers, Andrew is now a DJ on a radio station. He came along and spoke at a Little Ship Club gathering recently about his adventures in his tiny 5m boat Swirly World, which he sailed right down to the Auckland Islands in the Southern Ocean. His writing style and sense of humour keeps you enthralled throughout. Another great book!
John follows my blog and started writing to me a couple of years ago now. He has a fascinating tale of survival in his upturned trimaran for 119 days off the coast of New Zealand before they were eventually washed back ashore. This was a controversial story at the time as people didn’t believe that they could have survived for so long. John is a true adventurer and his story of survival is fascinating.
A fantastic story of the fun that John Glennie had sailing around the South Pacific, and all the lovely ladies he met along the way. I loved this book.
Not exactly about sailing, but a story that many seafarers could relate to. In the 1950’s Tom Neale set off to live alone on the remote atoll of Suwarrow in the middle of the South Pacific. He didn’t see another human for many months, just the occasional passing boat. It is a great read, and somewhere I would like to visit should we get the opportunity while sailing in that part of the world.
Another great story of the Pacific. A collection of short stories. The author lived in the Islands for many years project managing various infrastructure builds. His book is an account of some of the fascinating cultural and historical stories of the area. Including some mysterious Pirate gold discoveries!
Peter Montgomery is another kiwi icon, and yachting commentator. His most famous line would be “The Americas Cup is now New Zealand’s Cup” I don’t know how many times I have heard that line. His story is a behind the scenes account of the America’s Cup and I learnt a lot about some of the dirty tactics deployed along the way!
What are your favourite sailing books? Please put them in the comments below so I can add them to my kindle collection!