Good Reading


Good Old Boat is Pocket Cruisers’ choice for the most helpful and interesting sailing periodical. Since most pocket cruisers are quite old by now, we’re a perfect fit. No full page adverts for million dollar boats, just good useable information on keeping that old girl sailing. Go to their website and get a free copy. (Merrill)

Cruising Books:

Harbours & Marinas of Prince Edward Island by Sam Cioran is “the first sailing guide to be published for sailors and boaters who want to visit one of the most attractive recreational boating areas in Eastern Canada”. Very complete with everything that you’ll need when planning a cruise. Workbook format for ease of use aboard. Excellent (Merrill)

Magic of the Swatchways or any others by Maurice Griffiths – cruising yarns around the Thames Estuary mostly in the preWW2 years. Maurice Griffiths was Editor of Yachting Monthly magazine for 40yrs and designed many cruising yachts. (Roger M)

How to:

This Old Boat by Don Casey is a primary resource book for those of us who are restoring or just maintaining an older boat. Lots of good stuff for getting professional results and not making those common mistakes. (Newell)

Boatowner’s Mechanical & Electrical Manual: How to Maintain, Repair, and Improve Your Boat’s Essential Systems By Nigel Calder (Newell)


Three Years in a Twelve-Foot Boat by Stephen Ladd chronicles the author’s cruise in a 200 pound sailing row boat from North America to Central and South America and then the Caribbean. (Newell)

Adrift by Steven Callahan is the frightening tale of a man who, after the sinking of his boat, spent 76 days alone on the Atlantic Ocean. (Newell)

Maiden Voyage by Tania Aebi is the thrilling account of her 2-1/2 year solo sail around aboard her Contessa 26 Varuna. (Kent)

Vertue XXXV by Humphrey Barton – story of the first Transalantic voyage of the famous Vertue class yachts. (Roger M)

Sailing out of Silence; Sailing into Sunshine; Sailing Home (just published, not yet read)
The above three books are by Peter Hancock and recount the tales of a number of years voyaging around the British Isles/Mediterranean/Caribbean on the owner’s Contessa 26 “Kylie” (Roger M) Review: I purchased Sailing into Sunshine. While it is an interesting read, it is not a “how to” book about sailing in the Caribbean. Rather it should be read for the authors reflections on his adventure in a Contessa. I certainly would recommend it for anyone looking for a winter read or for a longer period of time aboard. Newell D.

“No Barriers” by Neal Peterson The story of Neal Peterson, a Black South African, who built and sailed his 40 foot boat “Stella-r” in a single handed Trans Atlantic race; a story of hardship, racism, apartheid, and how he rose above it to sail his dream! A great read that shows what can be done if you have a goal and work hard towards it. (Kent)


Riddle of the Sands by Erskine Childers written in 1903(I think) so the language is a bit on the baroque side. It is a tale of cruising and spying in the Frisian Islands. (Roger M)

Coopers Recommended Reading List for Ocean Voyaging

In no particular order the following list represents some books I have read that have contributed to my understanding of, and approach to, making long voyages at sea. All of these voyages have in common the simplicity of the boats and the knowledge that the operators are the ones in charge of their fate. Most of them were undertaken without even VHF, let alone SSB, Sat Phones, computers, GPS, Weather fax’s, life rafts, radar and the other stuff that is essential for going to sea to day. Except as noted, voyages were in carvel planked wooden boats.

Voyaging under sail Eric and Susan Hiscock: Compendium of designs, systems and techniques. The Hiscock’s made a career of making long distance voyages after 1950.

Atlantic cruise in Wanderer III Hiscock again. One lap around the Atlantic in a wooden 30’ er in the early 60’s.

Around the world in Wanderer III same Hiscock’s, same boat, longer voyage. WIII is presently owned by a German shipwright and is on her 4th circumnavigation. Surely a record in it’s own right.

Trekka around the world John Guzzwell: One slow lap around the world in a 20’ boat built by the boat-building author. (He is still in practice in Vancouver somewhere). This passage was a record at the time that might still stand for the LOA. He took about 12 months off to sail back to England with the Smeeton’s but was famously dismasted with them in the Southern Ocean, see below.

Once is not enough Miles Smeeton: An account of the voyage with his wife and Guzzwell in the southern ocean, capsize, dis-masting, and passage to Chile under jury rig.

Vertue 35 Humphry Barton: An account of his east to west Trans-Atlantic passage, with one crew, in the mid-1950’s in a 25 foot LOA Vertue class. The author was a prominent surveyor and partner in the design firm Laurent Giles, designers of the Vertue class. Interesting section on recovering from a cabin splitting knockdown while weathering a Hurricane off Bermuda.

Heavy weather sailiing Adlard Coles: The later editions are edited and updated by Errol Bruce. An anthology of personal experiences and observations of heavy weather conditions with an analysis of the meteorological conditions before and during the storms and the tactics of his and other boats involved.

Sopranino Patrick Elham & Colin Mudie: Two young English guys sail a 19 foot early ULDB from England to Spain, the Canaries, the Caribbean and up the eastern seaboard (in winter) to New York. Elham became a prominent delivery captain and Mudie is still a practicing Naval Architect.

50,000 miles under sail Hal Roth: Things to contemplate after one lap of the Pacific in their modified 1970’s production fiberglass cruising boat. Discussion of what works, what is worthless and why. Roth and his wife have, like the Hiscock’s made a career of sailing and writing about it.

The ocean sailing yacht in a couple of volumes Donald Street who is an accomplished amateur surveyor of coast lines (and boats), professional insurance agent for Lloyds of London and another character who has made a career of boats. These two volumes are similar to the Roth and Cruising Under Sail books but of a later vintage. Author of the popular cruising guides to the Caribbean.

Venturesome voyages of Voss Captain Voss was I think Canadian or maybe from the US northwest. He was a mariner at the turn of the 19th-20th century. He made several voyages all in small boats, under 30-35 feet. He was a professional mariner, like Slocum, if my memory serves me.

Deep water & shoal W.A. Robinson: The 1930’s story of a circumnavigation, with one crew, in an Alden design 32-foot ketch.

The long way & the logical route Bernard Moitissier: Two books by a Frenchman who has attained mystical proportions in the French cruising fraternity. Born in Indochina in the 1920’s he grew up with Asian kids sailing junks. The two books are accounts of long distance, long term voyages, over 100 days each, in a 40’ steel ketch named Joshua, (which is presently a French Maritime Monument) complete with insights in the psychology of solitude.

The ship would not sail due west & ice bird David Lewis: The first is his account of competing in the first OSTAR against Hassler & Chichester, in again, a Vertue 25 foot class boat. The second, written after his 1972 circumnavigation of Antarctica in a 32-foot steel boat is, in my mind, more of an essay on how not to undertake a passage and is interesting in that light.
A world of my own Robin Knox-Johnson: An account of his benchmark solo single-handed circumnavigation, undertaken in mid-late ‘60’s. 290 day’s at sea, non-stop in a 32 foot Tahiti Ketch.

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