SAIL: A tribute to the world’s greatest races, sailors and their boats by TIMOTHY JEFFERY
If you like racing sailboats, then you will not find a better written or more beautiful book, Period. Jeffery’s has done a superb job researching and describing the great races around the world. Plus, the photos are fabulous which make this a unique book that will be a classic on any serious racer’s book shelf, as well as an inspiration to those just starting.
And Soon I Heard a Roaring Wind: A Natural History of Moving Air by Bill Streever
The author, Bill Streever, does a fabulous job using his career as a biologist to make a book about the wind very interesting. Perhaps it’s my sailing or flying background, but the research and history uncovered and explained by the author turn a somewhat boring topic to most people into a good read. On the scientific side, the author covers topics about the science of wind and what causes it, and its destructive force on many things it touches. From famous storms and shipwrecks to the Dust Bowl and wars, the wind has played an important role in shaping history and lives around the world. It has both advanced civilizations and promoted transportation of goods and destroyed cities and taken many lives.
The Little Blue Book of Sailing Wisdom by Stephen Brennan
Editor Brennan has compiled a unique book of quotes, verses, and traditional sailing axioms. He searched far and wide to find passages from such classic authors as Lewis Carroll, Ernest Hemmingway, Rudyard Kipling, and Herman Melville. He uncovered quotes from JFK and Ted Turner, Mark Twain and Jack London, and even mixed in some Shakespeare and Walt Whitman. It’s an easy read that is perfect for the older sailor who has everything, the perfect gift and coffee table book that can be read or browsed in many sittings.
Finding North — “How Navigation Makes Us Human” by George Michelsen Foy
Finding North is an interesting play on words as author Foy intertwines many aspects of navigation. He explores the history of navigation, the science of our modern GPS system and its weaknesses, the biology of human and animal navigation, the history of his great, great grandfather’s unfortunate shipwreck because of poor weather, and thus, lack of navigation, and a voyage up the eastern seacoast in his own sailboat using only navigation tools his great, great grandfather had available. In addition, Foy had recently lost his brother to illness so there’s an aspect of personal introspection as he deals with that loss and deciding in which direction his life should now go.
Splicing Modern Ropes : A Practical Handbook by Jan-Willem Polman
As the sub-title suggests this is a very practical handbook on splicing ropes, all kinds of ropes. But that’s not all it covers. The book starts with a very good description of the new synthetic fibers and what differentiates them. Breaking loads and safe working loads are discussed, as well as, stretch and creep in the various materials.
All Standing, The Remarkable Story of the Jeanie Johnston, The Legendary Irish Famine Ship by Kathryn Miles
The book was well researched and very well written. Ms. Miles does an excellent job intertwining the story of a ship, from its design to its demise, with the history of the time. Originally the ship, the Jeanie Johnston, was designed as a heavy cargo carrier, but the famine conditions in Ireland were accelerating and she was purchased to not only haul cargo from North America to Ireland, but to participate in the profitable backhauling of human cargoes of Irish emigrants to Canada and the United States. At the time, tens of thousands of Irish were starving and living under horrible conditions. To add to the misery, the British policies for the Irish colony were not working and the situation was getting worse. As the famine continued, emigrants, as human cargo, were packed into ‘famine ships’ and tried to survive the 30 to 45 day North Atlantic crossing. Living conditions below deck on most of these ships were horrendous and many times half the passengers or more died on board from their famine induced conditions or disease.