What's on DD's bookshelf? Part I

I decided to write a blog post on the sailing related books, that we like to always have onboard. When writing this post, I came across more and more interesting books in our library, which I think, deserve to be listed. Therefore, this blog post is split in two parts. So here is the first part, which presents perhaps the more technical and instructional books that we have on our bookshelf.

1. Skipper's Emergency Handbook by Tony Meisel

According to the back cover, "the Skipper's Emergency Handbook contains all the information you'll ever need to cope with any emergency at sea." 

This characterization is rather ambitious, but the book pretty much covers any serious event, that one can think of. However, it is another story if one has time to grab the book and start reading in the real emergency. So in this respect, it is good to read the book already ashore, as the author suggests in the foreword... 

The book is delivered with a waterproof cover and paper, so you can even take the guide out in the cockpit in rough conditions if necessary. The book is written in a very straightforward manner and illustrations and flow charts guide the reader quickly to the best solution available. The emergencies are arranged in practical alphabetical order to help finding. Therefore, the book starts rather promisingly from A  Abandoning ship...

2. Adlar Coles' Heavy Weather Sailing edited by Peter Bruce

Adlard Coles' Heavy Weather Sailing is perhaps the all-time classic of storm survival guides.  The first part of the book  the expert advice  gives the reader essential information for example on yacht design and construction, storm sails, sea anchors, seasickness remedies, waves and meteorology of heavy weather, to name a few. Each of the topics are dealt very thoroughly, which makes the book an excellent source of information when preparing yourself and your boat for the heavy weather.

The second part of the book consists of amazing storm experiences from some of the most famous storms in the past. They are pretty scary reading, but at the same time, very interesting and offer also a great learning experience. Each story is followed by Peter Bruce's comments. Perhaps the utmost feeling after having read the book is, that you want to avoid those survival conditions by any means. 

3. A Passion For the Sea by Jimmy Cornell

Jimmy Cornell is best known for as the founder of the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC), and as an author of highly popular World Cruising Routes books. Compared to his more factual previous books, A Passion For the Sea is a bit different, because it is also partly an autobiography. The book is organized so that the chapters alternate between cruising narratives from his three circumnavigations, and more technical and practical chapters on various things affecting the life of a blue-water sailor. The topics range from weather, routing and navigation to wind selfsteering gear and financial matters to name a few. 

Mastering the practical side of the cruising lifestyle is of course very important, but having a dream to sail beyond the horizon is equally important. In the A Passion For the Sea, every other chapter feeds those dreams with Cornell's rich personal experiences, anecdotes and great photos from some of the most exotic cruising grounds in the world - from Antarctica to Caribbean and from Pacific to the Mediterranean. 

4. The Boat Maintenance Bible

We have actually the Finnish edition 'Suuri Venekirja' of the English original. Being self sufficient when it comes to fixing things at the boat is naturally very important for a sailor. This book serves as a great reference book as it covers most of the topics, which one can face when maintaining an old boat. However, as there are a lot information included in the 300 pages, some of the topics are perhaps not dealt thoroughly enough. In those cases, looking for additional information may be necessary. 

Another book on the subject is Nigel Calder's Boatowner's Mechanical and Electrical Manual. Based on the reviews, it may be a more comprehensive especially when it comes to electrical issues.

5. Arholma-Landsort and Gotland -pilot book

I have sailed in Stockholm Archipelago since 2009. However, the previous season 2012 was the first one with the great Arholma-Landsort and Gotland -pilot, which presents harbours and anchorages in the Stockholm Archipelago and Gotland. For us, this pilot book opened a whole new world, since there are plenty of great natural anchorages in the archipelago. Furthermore, in July the guest harbours tend to be full of boats already in the afternoon, and thus it is good to have more choices. The Swedish edition presents 230 natural harbours and 71 guest harbours.

However, the problem is that others seem to have this same book onboard as well, and you will find probably lots of boats in the most popular anchorages (like in Paradiset).

The pilot has also an extensive background information for example on the interesting history of the archipelago. Naturally, detailed navigational information and description of facilities is presented for each harbour and anchorage. The book is well illustrated with coloured charts and photos and handy aerial images. 


  1. Hi Antti, a nice post – I've been thinking of doing a similar one but you beat me to it!

    We also have the Heavy Weather Sailing, but it's an older edition. Don't really know how it differs. Other books include harbour guides, an electricity guide plus an concise yachtmaster handbook for when – not if – I forget how to calculate most of the stuff.

    Otherwise our bookshelf is full of paperbacks that I never seem to have time to read and whisky bottles that I seem to have time to enjoy.

  2. Hi Timo, feel absolutely free to write a blog post on the same subject! It would be interesting to read about the contents of Ingeborg's bookshelf!

    According to the Heav Weather Sailing's preface "one third of this edition (sixth) is completely new, and many of the illustrations are new."

    For example, some of the stories in the storm experiences part are quite new (less than 10 years old).

  3. Antti - this is Part l ... are we going to see Pt 2?



    1. Rich, I was actually afraid that someone would ask for the pt2. :D

      There is actually one book that I would like to include in the post. The problem is that I haven't had time to finish it yet. But maybe during the winter holiday (next week) I'll have enough time to read it. So maybe in about 1-2 weeks time, we will publish the pt2.

    2. Oh! OK, I'll have to wait ... just so curious :)

      I'll wait to make a proper comment until Pt2 is published.



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It would be very great to hear your opinion or comments. Thank you in advance for commenting! -Antti & Minna