As mentioned previously, I do not have the opportunity to go sailing often due to the cost. I do not have a boat yet, and do not have any friends with one. I am, however, dead set on learning everything I can to go cruising and have done so thus far with a few good books. I started off searching Amazon.com (I use it to buy everything) for sailing books. I had learned all of the basics of sailing through my classes, and have a lot of resources for everything I learned there. What the classes did not teach is what it takes and how to cruise full time, and it did not cover blue water (open ocean) cruising. Of course, my goal is to sail the entire world, so I just did a search for "How to sail around the world". Lo and behold, a book with a lot of good reviews and buys came up:
This book was my spring board to figuring out what full time cruising and blue water sailing are like. Specifically, it began to answer "what do I need to do this?" While I wont sit here and pick out everything I learned from this book, I will tell you that it gave me a good picture of how to cruise on a budget, something I am very much on. I soon realized that there had to be many opinions and methods to sailing, of which I was correct in assuming. The author was very strict in his ways as well as practical. I will probably use a lot of what he said in the book in the future, but it is more of a book that I will use better once I am cruising and need some resources.
I also noticed another book in my search with a title that spoke to me:
Things I wish I'd Known Before I Started Sailing
by John Vigor and Thomas Payne.
The name said it all, and the cover made me want it. The book was very light hearted and provided a wealth of information. It wasn't the best resource manual for specifics, but it gave good and broad advice for many aspects of sailing. More importantly, it gave a great list of books to read to learn more, and from that I got my next round of books:
There Be No Dragons
How to Cross a Big Ocean in a Small Sailboat
by Reese Palley
This book was a great starting point for anyone who has considered sailing, but has fears ranging from storms, crashing the boat, pirates, boredom, and other things. It sorts out reality from the myths in a very entertaining way. I suggest you start with this book if you are considering cruising, and would like someone to explain to you what it is like in a quick, entertaining way.
The Voyager's Handbook
by Beth Leonard
THIS is THE book. All of the other books were good primers leading up to this one. This is the book that answered all of the unanswered questions I had. Most of all, this book really put together the big question of "what do I need to cruise based on what I can afford, and how do I get started?" The other books were great resources on what to do once you have your boat and are ready to be on your way, but this book spoke to someone like me who is just trying to figure it all out. The book is more like a text book, but I promise you I have never had so much fun reading a text book. I'll just post this description instead of trying to do it myself:
“Belongs in the bookshelf of every cruising vessel.”—Blue Water Sailing
“If you are serious about that extended voyage, read The Voyager’s Handbook.”—Sailing
“Every now and then a new voice emerges in the world of sailing literature that stands out, a voice that is both clear and of lasting quality. The appearance of such a new voice is something of an event, and that’s what we’d call the publication of The Voyager’s Handbook.”—Blue Water Sailing
This inspirational and comprehensive manual leads you step by step through every aspect of choosing, planning, and following the voyager’s life. Using three example boats representing three cruising lifestyles—Simplicity, Moderation, and Highlife—Beth Leonard helps make your bluewater dreams come true, whether you’re sailing on a shoestring or a CEO’s pension. Starting with the things you can’t do without—an enthusiastic crew, a seaworthy boat, and, of course, money—Leonard offers sage advice on how to select crewmembers who are truly committed to the voyage, how to choose the right boat for you, and how to find just the right approach to financing your voyage and making the most of every dollar spent.
Managing life from a floating home and keeping that home livable, seaworthy, and safe requires you to become, among other things, the ship’s purser, engineer, doctor, cook, and cruise director. You’ll discover how to prepare for these new roles and put necessary equipment and arrangements in place before you untie your docklines. This exquisitely detailed guide also helps you master the skills you’ll need to handle a boat at sea with a small crew, including
- Weather forecasting
- Passage planning
- Heavy-weather sailing
- Emergency management
- Midocean repairs
Complete with dozens of easy-to-use graphs and tables for quick reference, along with the hard-won wisdom of experienced cruisers, The Voyager’s Handbook is the ultimate resource for anyone who is planning, preparing for, or just dreaming about a great adventure on the high seas.
Since completing a three-year, 35,000-mile circumnavigation of the globe with her partner, Evans Starzinger, in 1995, Beth Leonard has lectured widely, written for leading sailing magazines, and outfitted a new 50-foot aluminum cutter aboard which she and Evans once again set sail in 1999. They logged an additional 50,000 miles at sea over the following six years, much of it in the world’s high latitudes, including Labrador, Iceland, Scotland, Cape Horn, and east through the Southern Ocean to Australia.
All of these books are sitting at my house and if any of my friends are curious, feel free to ask to borrow them. I am going to keep reading new books to further my knowledge, but The Voyager's Handbook really pulled it all together and I will be using that as a manual to proceed. The resources and books recommended in The Voyager's Handbook will be the future reads.
From here on out, I will begin to describe what I have learned from my studies and how I plan on moving forward.
And good news! My mom apparently has a friend with a 38 foot sloop near their house in St. Augustine. This weekend (Christmas week, 2008) I will have the chance to sail with them and hopefully learn a good bit. Look for a recap soon.