Here I review books that I have found useful, no particular order or subject just yet. If you like a review and are interested in the book hovering over it will bring up the Amazon details or clicking the book’s image will take you directly to Amazon.

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Using a Kindle, iPad, or other type of tablet to download and store books in ebook format will help keep the waterline of your boat a little higher and is great way for those of us who love books to take an extensive library with us on the boat. Don’t over do it though; I believe a few essential books covering the mechanical and electrical systems and perhaps a few covering emergency situations should be kept on board in paper form.

Of course there are some books that just have to exist in paper format, the ships atlas for example which must always be ready to pull out to plan dream voyages or to establish exactly where the port of registry of the boat next door is located on the planet.

Where There is No Doctor – David Werner

ISBN 0-942364-15-5

This book is sold as a village health care handbook for under-developed areas, but it is also full of great guidance suitable for sailors who don’t have a full medicine chest and a trained medic aboard. The book concentrates on practicing medicine with what you have to hand rather than assuming that you’ll have the latest and greatest antibiotics and other pills and potions; although these are covered too.

Adrift, Seventy-six days lost at sea – Steven Callahan

When Steven’s yacht sank early in a voyage across the North Atlantic he took to his liferaft and survived for 76 days drifting across 1,800 miles of ocean. He was well prepared and knowledgeable and reading this book can help us all prepare for the such an event, even just by being aware that such stories of survival are not all that rare and by good preparation careful management of resources anything is possible. It’s a good read too!

The Seaworthy Offshore Sailboat

This is great little book full of hints and tips on everything that makes your boat more seaworthy from securing the batteries to checking the rig. John encourages us to consider all possibilities including to “think inverted”; which let’s face it, if we sail for long enough is likely to happen to us all at some stage. Incidentally John has a blog listed in my blog-roll that I encourage you to have a look at.

Orca – John A. Pennington

This is the story of a young couple’s circumnavigation written in a very honest and fun way. John’s description of characters is ‘cartoonish’ in style allowing you to immediately form an image in your mind’s eye of the character in question. I have laughed out loud often and often read passages aloud to Paula. Great fun.

 Boatowner’s Mechanical and Electrical Manual – Nigel Calder

This one shouldn’t need much introduction. If you own a yacht and are not an electrical/mechanical genius in ‘every’ aspect of your boat then you should buy this book and keep it aboard. Don’t buy the Kindle version get the real book so that you can make notes and easily refer to it when you are trying to fix the generator and your Kindle/iPad battery is flat!

Marine Diesel Engines – Nigel Calder

Marine Diesel Engines by Nigel Calder Another excellent work from Mr Calder. If you’re not a qualified marine diesel mechanic you probably need this one too.

The Complete Riggers Apprentice – Brion Toss

Mr. Toss’ work on rigging has been a source of inspiration and frustration to me. He does a great job of explaining the essentials of rigging your yacht; the frustration comes from getting hooked on trying to get my brain around some of the the fancy work – I do have a couple of nice knife lanyards though. I do feel that my boat is better rigged and safer from the knowledge gained from this book.

Emergency Navigation – David Burch

This book is of interest to all of us who are interested in the art of navigation and shouldn’t just be considered a work on emergency techniques. Well written with quaint but very clear diagrams in a sketch style that suit the subject very well.


The Natural Navigator – Tristan Gooley

An interesting book that will help you switch on to what nature is telling you. It contains many useful hints and tips. This book is not just about navigation at sea, but navigation in general – wherever you are on the planet.