If I designed cruising
boats, I'd put a bookcase in every salon, next
to every bunk, and in the pilothouse, too.
My boats would be designed
for people who, like the designer, live to read
and live to cruise and would never separate one
from the other. You could read while the boat
is at anchor. You could read while the boat is
underway. Joy, thy name is reading a good book
on a boat.
There would be a lighted
navigation table, of course, a place to plan and
plot or to look up something in a reference book.
My boats would have lots of cushioned nooks and
crannies shaped for the human form in the knees-drawn
reading position and each reading nook would have
a large window for letting in cool breezes and
I'd even specify the books,
Barb's Books for the Boat.
First I'd put in the reference
books, basics for the cruising person, the how-to
tomes of navigation and vessel maintenance as
well as the where-to cruising guides. These are
my recommendations for the captain and the fire
1. Boatowner's Mechanical
and Electrical Manual,by Nigel Calder. Subtitled
How to Maintain, Repair and Improve Your Boat's
Essential Systems, this is the book that teaches
you how to make repairs yourself, the kind that
can rescue your trip and even you life.
2. The Ashley Book of Knots. Clifford W.
Ashley's book is THE book on knots - 3,900 of
them. The explanations are clear. We actually
enjoy hanging out with Ashley's book and practicing
our knots for fun. I know, I know. Get a life.
3. Cruising Guide to Western Florida, by
Claiborne S. Young. This is the book we use in
our area but, wherever you cruise, bring a Claiborne's
guide with you. Thorough yet entertaining, this
guide is our guiding light for marinas, depths,
restaurants, and sights to see.
4. The Onboard Medical Handbook. Paul G.
Gill, M.D. has authored what we think is the ultimate
reference book for onboard first aid and emergency
5. Nigel Calder's Cruising Handbook. Calder's
book is for sailors, covering everything from
selecting a vessel, equipping a vessel, and sailing
a vessel. It assumes nothing.
6. Cruising Chef Cookbook. Ya gotta eat,
right? Eat right, then. Michael Greenwald tells
you how to buy the right stuff and serve it up
deliciously. The recipes are wonderful and the
humor is salty.
I have one book that I
would put on the top of a table all by itself
and make sure the elegant, simple cover picks
up the light. This one is in category by itself,
a category I call First Read, Must Read:
First You Have to Row
a Little Boat,
by Richard Bode. Bode's classic tells what he
learned as a little boy from sailing and how those
lessons help him navigate life. His memoir helped
my understand what boating - and life - are all
about. It belongs on your boat, and in your philosophy.
Next, I'd carefully place
some Cruising Classics about the boat, books that
have stood the test of time because of their practical
advice, philosophical insights into the cruising
life, and - I believe -- glimpses into the desire
of man to achieve and to be significant.
1. Cruising in Seraffyn. Lin and Larry
Pardey wrote this more than 25 years ago, a record
of their seven-year trip from California to England
aboard a 24-foot cutter without power. This was
one of our favorites when Vic and I lived aboard.
2. Sailing Alone around the World. This
is Capt. Vic's pick. Captain Joshua Slocum set
out from East Boston in a 37-foot sloop when he
was 51 and his vessel was more than 100. He became
the first person to solo around the world.
3. The Incredible Voyage: A Personal Odyssey.
Tristan Jones sailed the world's lowest body
of water, The Dead Sea, and he sailed the highest,
Lake Titicaca in the Andes. This journal of his
six-year extreme expedition is a salute to man's
capacity to endure.
4. Voyage Under Power. Robert Beebe's valuable
book about passagemaking was out of the print
for a long time. It has been revised and reprinted
and thanks for that. This is the bible for anybody
who cruises the big ponds including those who
contemplate a crossing.
I'm not done, but my space
is. So Barb's Books for the Boat will resume next
month with shelves dedicated to these categories:
Fun Fiction Afloat, the Sea and the Sky, a Kid's
Cruising Corner, and Coffee Table Books. Stay
Vic asked me to please
put in here that each bookcase must be equipped
with a small battery-powered light for reading
so we readers don't drain the juice out of the
boat's batteries. Aye, aye.