Books to Learn About Sailing- Instructional

The books are organized into two sections, books that tell a story and books that are instructional.  They are not organized in the order we read them or by importance.  They all taught us something completely different. This is the instructional section.  We will add more great books as we find them.

Instructional Books

The Complete Sailing Manual by Sleight— An international bestseller, now in it’s fourth edition.  This is the ultimate illustrated guide for all sailors, whether a novice or an experienced skipper.  Learn the basics of sailing, master navigation, and maintain your boat with The Complete Sailing Manual, written by instructor and former British national champion Steve Sleight. This authoritative text has clear, annotated diagrams and photographs that answer questions about any sailing situation with thorough coverage of all aspects of sailing and boat ownership.

Single Handed Sailing–  Andrew Evans has gone singlehanded sailing more than eight hundred times over the past ten years for a total of 3,500 hours of singlehanded sailing –a reasonable start. He has never had a bad day on the water. Evans is a lawyer, Chartered Financial Analyst, and president of a small company in the solar power industry.

SAILING The Basics: The Book That Has Launched Thousands–   With SAILING, acclaimed teacher and racer Dave Franzel moves you quickly from book to boat. It is his firm conviction that the best and most effective way to learn to sail is to be out on the water. Accordingly, he treats the theory of sailing in a straightforward, no-nonsense fashion–just the way he’s done so successfully for years at his Boston Sailing Center. The essential information in this book is comprehensive, effectively reinforced, and clarified with more than 100 excellent line drawings.
SAILING is exactly what it says it is. After studying this book, you’ll understand the fundamental concepts well enough to be confident of your abilities when you board your boat for the first time. You’ll learn how to sail on and off moorings and docks, how to trim the sail, and how to balance the boat properly. You will be introduced to the rules of the road, anchoring, navigation, spinnaker sailing, heavy-weather sailing, and basic seamanship. In short, you’ll have all the keys to a successful, fun, and safe time under sail. Pleasant sailing!

Singlehanded Sailing: Thoughts, Tips, Techniques, and Tactics–Got a 35-foot sailboat? No problem. Is the wind blowing 20 knots? No problem. Are you racing offshore overnight? Even better. Singlehander Andrew Evans learned the hard way how to sail and race alone–with lots of mishaps, including broaches and a near tumbling over a waterfall–and in Singlehanded Sailing he shares the techniques, tips, and tactics he has developed to make his solo sailing adventures safe and enriching.
Learn everything you need to know to meet any solo challenge, including:
Managing the power consumption aboard a boat to feed the electric autopilot
Setting and gybing a spinnaker
Finding time to sleep
Dealing with heavy weather.

Learn Sailing Right: Beginning Sailing–  US Sailing training programs are designed to help you join the ranks of the hundreds of thousands of adults and youths who have learned to sail on the lakes, rivers, bays and coasts of the United States. This and other books in the certification series are designed to present the information you need to get the most out of sailing. The series will be a convenient reference before and after your times on the water. Like all pursuits, sailing has its own set of skills and maneuvers that need to be learned and practiced. This book teaches you how to feel comfortable as skipper or crew and gives you a basic understanding of nautical terms. The first part of the book gives you a tour of a typical small sailboat. The next section shows the concepts of how a boat moves through the water. The middle section puts you on board and describes how to steer and trim the sails. The book wraps up with seamanship skills that make sailing safer and easier. Sailing can bring you relaxing days on the water, adventurous family fun or challenging competition. You will be able to choose how you want to enjoy recreational sailing as you practice and gain experience. With this book you will learn the skills to build your confidence and ability to sail. Fair winds and good fun!

Learn Sailing Right Intermediate Sailing–  Learning to sail is part dream, part great instruction, and part hands-on experience. At US Sailing, all of these come together. Learn Sailing Right! Intermediate Sailing is about sailing faster and smarter with greater confidence. As an intermediate sailor, you no longer need to think about how to tack, return to the dock or rig your boat. These maneuvers are now as natural as breathing. Where sailing is simplified for beginners as they learn fundamental skills and concepts, intermediate sailors are ready for deeper explanations and some of the details behind how a sailboat works. As an intermediate sailor, you Will use the science of how a boat moves and how sails function to improve your boat performance Will learn and practice more complex maneuvers, develop new skills and learn how to use new sail controls Can expect longer sessions out sailing as you perfect your skills and maneuvers.

Boat Navigation for the Rest of Us–  Want a full course in navigation? A whole toolbox of little-known tips and shortcuts to deal with real-life navigation situations without resorting to a slide rule? You get both in Boat Navigation for the Rest of Us, second edition, a guide to pleasureboat navigation that shows you how to combine electronic aids like radar and GPS with visual observations, simple chartwork, and common-sense piloting. In plain, simple language, it explains how to find where you are and get where you want to go with a minimum of fuss. You’ll find many little-known, low-tech methods specifically designed for use aboard small powerboats and sailboats. This edition brings you up to speed on the many changes to navigation systems and equipment that have occurred over the past six years, including dramatic improvement in GPS accuracy, the proliferation of electronic charts and plotting systems, and the growing importance of the Internet as a navigation tool.

Sailing Fundamentals– With over 150 line drawings and photographs, and clear, detailed coursework covering every aspect of beginning sailing—from hoisting sail to docking and anchoring—Sailing Fundamentals is the authoritative text designed to prepare the learning sailor for certification according to international standards.Written by America’s foremost instructional authority, the new edition of Sailing Fundamentals is the official learn-to-sail manual of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary. Sailing Fundamentals is also used in the programs of yacht clubs, colleges, and sailing groups around the country. Unlike many sailing books, which can reflect the biases and idiosyncrasies of their authors, this book has been extensively pretested to ensure that it offers the fastest, easiest, most systematic way to learn basic sailing and coastal cruising.

Woman’s Guide Sailing–   “Doris Colgate knows what women want. Well-known as a sailing role model and a confident yet gentle teacher, she writes with clarity on even the most complex sailing concepts, as well as answering often-asked questions on the safety, comfort, and social sides of sailing. Sailing: A Woman’s Guide pulls it all together for the beginning sailor. Finally, an excellent book for women that both teaches and motivates. Bravo, Doris. You’ve opened up the sport.” –Bernadette Peters, editorial director, Cruising World .”It took a person with her fingers on the pulse of women aspiring to sail to write this book, and that person is clearly Doris Colgate. Sailing: A Woman’s Guide is as much a source book as empowerment to women the world over desiring to become sailors.” –Micca Leffingwell Hutchins, editor of SailNet
“An excellent introduction to the sport of sailing. It will undoubtedly encourage many women to try this challenging, noncontact activity while enjoying the great outdoors.”–Betsy Alison, Four-time Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year “This new series is designed to teach outdoor skills to women in the way they learn. . . . Women of all ages describe how they overcame obstacles, what they enjoyed most, or just how they felt about undertaking a new activity . . . extremely well done and appealing.” –Library Journal (starred review)

How to Sail A Sailboat by Stack— Learn how to sail a boat fast with these sailing lessons for beginners.

Book of Sailing Knots by Owens— How To Tie And Correctly Use Over 50 Essential Knots.

Coastal Navigation Using GPS for Sail and Power by Frank Larkin–      Helps boaters get the most out of this newest must-have boating gadget.

Royce’s Sailing Illustrated–This book was written to be a comprehensive book on sailing for beginners and experienced sailors including very detailed drawings.

Chapman Piloting Seamanship & Small Boat Handling by Maloney–  This book remains the most comprehensive and authoritative reference guide to recreational boating after three quarters of a century.

Passages South–  This is the Tenth and last Edition of the popular directions for sailing south to the Bahamas and the Caribbean.
For more than twenty years Van Sant repeatedly surveyed nearly 200 anchorages between Florida and South America. He racked up well over 80,000 sea miles doing it, mostly single-handed. Why? You’ll find some interesting answers in his book of stories, Margarita Cat, but es­sentially, he did it because he liked doing it. Sailing up and down the chain of islands so much and so often, he got to looking for shorter and easier ways to navigate between each link in the chain, and he kept refining detailed nav plans for every leg. He has systematically taken the thorns out of the route they used to call the Thorny Path. For example, he exploits the calming effects on wind and sea which result from land cooling on each side of an inter-island passage. Applying his many methods, both sail and power can make safe, comfortable and pleasant progress even against normally impenetrable trade winds and seas.  Passages South offers an illustrated manual of instruction for specific passages and harbors down islands as well as a cruising guide for the Greater Antilles islands of Hispaniola and Puerto Rico. It has sailed aboard tens of thousands of boats passaging between the Americas. It should sail with you too.

Waterway Guide –We purchased the Great Lakes 2017 because we are planning to sail the Great Lakes next year.   They produce guides for other areas as well.

Fast Track to Sailing Learning to Sail in Three Days by Colgate–  This is the first half of the Colgates famous Fast Track Cruising program and contains all the techniques and understanding you need for day sailing alone or with a crew .

Voyagers Handbook Essential Guide to Bluewater Cruising by Leonard—  This book was written for coastal and limited off-shoe cruisers who want to make the transition to long-term voyaging.

Storm TacticsHandbook by Pardey—  Modern Methods of heaving-to for survival in extreme conditions.  This book shows you how to deal with storms and choosing storm gear.

Map and Compass by Jacobson—  How to choose and use the right type of compass.  Using maps and compass with a GPS.  This is more for camping and kayaking but much of it applies to sailing.

Seamanship Secrets 185 Tips and Techniques by Jamieson—  185 techniques that work without fail in the pilothouse or the exposed cockpit of a shorthanded sail- or powerboat.  Even in the age of electronics navigation you need to know how to eyeball your boat through any situation.

Woman’s Guide Sailing by Colgate–Everything you need to know to get started and keep going. Gear, clothing, tips, and advice.  A woman’s approach to sailing.


Voyaging on a Small Income by Annie Hill—  Maintaining that there is little preventing one from cruising the world by boat, this book provides practical ideas for turning one’s dreams of life at sea into reality, with suggestions for preplanning and simplifying one’s life.

How to Read a Nautical Chart by Calder–The classic How to Read a Nautical Chart explains every aspect of electronic and paper nautical charts: how a chart is assembled, how to gauge the accuracy of chart data, how to read charts created by other governments, how to use information such as scale, projection technique and datum that every chart contains; how not to get fooled or run aground by overzooming. Nigel Calder teaches you how to squeeze every ounce of information out of a nautical chart (on your GPS, chartplotter, or nav station) and understand the limits of accuracy for all charts, paper and electronic.

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