Resources for Cruising Sailors
The following is a list of resources that I can personally vouch for because I’ve used them without throwing them overboard. Many of them are also affiliate links, in the interest of disclosure, which means that if you make a purchase through these links you get your booty and a little bit of it comes back to me to keep this site going.
Learning to Sail
Interested in learning how to sail, or refine your sailing skills? Here are two great books to have:
The American Sailing Association’s Sailing Made Easy was the first book I picked up when I started my sailing certification courses. It’s easy to read and does a great job preparing you for the tests!
The Annapolis Book of Seamanship: Fourth Edition is one of the most comprehensive resources for everything sailing, from how to trim sails, talk on the radio, tie knots, read the weather, and act cool as a sailor. A must-have for novices and seasoned sailors (cause we could all use refreshers!)
Cruising & Liveaboard Books
Cruising into a crowded harbor in a new country in high winds can add a little anxiety. These books, while not specific to any one country, will give you the skills to tackle these problems.
Nigel Calder’s Cruising Handbook: A Compendium for Coastal and Offshore Sailors is a great all-in-one for cruising. He starts with how to choose & equip a boat for cruising, then has very practical examples for many different situations you’ll be in while cruising the oceans.
Another one of the Pardey’s four books related to cruising, Self Sufficient Sailor offers many similar, but different tips to Voyaging on a Small Income. They have the experience necessary to instill on you how to cruise without much of an income.
Finances keeping you from living your dream? Don’t let them! Learn how to cruise on an extremely small income (like $2,000/yr) in Annie Hill’s Voyaging On A Small Income. And it doesn’t just apply to sailing.
The Capable Cruiser is the “sequel” to Self Sufficient Sailor, but this book focuses less on the budgetary aspect of it and more on how to sustain the cruising lifestyle in general…including sparking a little romance with your partner when they lose sight of the dream!
I’m a big fan of Doyle’s Cruising Guides. I’ve also used Dozier’s Waterways Guide to the Bahamas, which is a great book, and Doyle doesn’t cover the Bahamas. As far as the Leeward & Windward Islands go, Doyle’s guides are much better than the Imray/Patuelli Grenada to the Virgin Islands guide, as this guide can’t compete to the amount of onshore information that Doyle has.
Ahhh my favorite…fooood.
The Boat Galley Cookbook is the hottest newcomer to galleys all over the oceans. Even if you don’t yet know what a “galley” is, this book will prepare you for it and tell you how to cook in everything from calms to storms, and has 800 delicious recipes.
If anyone knows about long-term voyaging on a boat, it’s Lin and Larry Pardey (you’ll see them later). Lin is the dedicated galley slave and in The Care and Feeding of the Sailing Crew shares her advice on maintaining nourishment while cruising around the world.
When I’m feeling too lazy to do dishes I pick up The One-Pan Galley Gourmet. It has a number of great, easy recipes that I keep going back to on a continual basis.
Michael Greenwald breaks up the monotony of a cookbook with some humorous stories in The Cruising Chef Cookbook. Like the time he lived with a pet gecko on his boat to take care of the cockroach infestation. Hungry? The recipes are good too.
Sailboat Maintenance Manuals
These are seriously the only two maintenance books in my collection, and are the only two books I’ve ever needed.
No sailboat library is complete without Don Casey’s This Old Boat. Your boat could be either a Yard Queen or the shiniest thing in Miami harbor and you’ll still have a need to reference this. I’ve completed many projects with Mr. Casey’s guidance in this book.
The Boatowner’s Mechanical and Electrical Manual, by cruising-wealth-of-knowledge-extraordinaire Nigel Calder is exactly what it sounds like. Inspecting, repairing, and installing anything that moves or carries electrical current is covered in this book. He published another book dedicated strictly to diesel engines but I found this book to still be more than adequate.
Just Good Reads
Check out these other books I’ve enjoyed to keep you entertained while at anchor or on passage (if you don’t get seasick). You can also see my list of Ten Books That Will Help You Break the Shackles and Go Sailing.
- Anything by Tristan Jones. This is one of the most colorful sailing authors, recounting a lifetime of sailing around the world in a number of books. Start with Encounters of a Wayward Sailor if you need to choose. Most are available as ebooks for those of you with limited storage space.
- Journey Without a Map, Gardner McKay. Highly entertaining memoirs from the TV star turned wanderer.
- Wanderer, Sterling Hayden. And speaking of Hollywood stars turned wanderers, here’s another.
- The Long Way, Bernard Moitessier. Just before winning the first ever solo around-the-world race, he changed course and went to Tahiti instead.
- Sailing Alone Around the World: a Personal Account of the First Solo Circumnavigation of the Globe by Sail, Joshua Slocum. Just as the title says! A good 19th-century adventure book.
Places I go to on the webs on a normal basis while I’m cruising or need to look at pretty boats.
Weather & Cruising
- Voyage of the Swan
- Morgan’s Cloud – Attainable Adventure Cruising
- Sailing, Simplicity, and the Pursuit of Happiness
- Atom Voyages
- Bobbie Rounds the World
- Terra D’Agua
- More Hands on Deck
- Zero to Cruising
- S/V Delos
- Sailing Totem