Review: Teaching Fundamentals for Sailing Instruction

Categories: 5 Star,Sailing
Amazon Page

Amazon Page

US Sailing

5 Stars Perhaps the best teaching/coaching “best practices” overview I have ever read

This volume complements – with some overlap but certainly worth reading on its own merits – the US Naval Offshore Sail Training Squadron Experiential Leadership Guide, which cites this books as recommended additional reading.

Worthy of immediate and continuous note is the opening emphasis on the legal responsibility of a sailing instructor – a duty of care with attendant legal obligations and a vulnerability to being sued if all four of the following can be proven:

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Feb 9

Review: Total Loss – A Collection of First-Hand Accounts of Yacht Losses at Sea

Categories: 5 Star,Sailing
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Amazon Page

Amazon Page

Jack Coote Revised by Paul Gelder

5 Stars Wake Up Call for Anyone Responsible for a Small Vessel and Its Souls

This is a hugely important book that should be in any personal or organizational (e.g. sail training program) library. It is organized into the following parts: weather (and waves), faulty navigation (poor thinking), failure of gear or rigging, failure of ground tackle or mooring lines, collision (think submerged free floating shipping container), fire or explosion, and towing mishaps.

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Jan 17

Review: Yachtsman in Red China


Amazon Page

5.0 out of 5 stars Real Life From Building the Boat to Being Captured by the Chinese

February 16, 2010

David J. Steele

I watched my father build the Piver Tri-Maran in his garage and front yard of our home in Saigon, South Viet-Nam (at the time). This book is a still exciting story of an oil engineer and manager (at the time in charge of all Esso supply for all of Viet-Nam) who built a boat from scratch and sailed it from Saigon toward Hong Kong.

20 miles off the coast of Hainan (by his calculations) he was rammed by militia-pirates and the boat sunk, leaving him in the water. He was taken prisoner and vanished from the public eye. Months later he was released into Hong Kong with some photos of pieces of his boat washed up on shore, and his sextant.

The best part of the book for me has always been his account of being treated as a guest rather than a prisoner in China, and when asked what Americans drank with their meals, his response “a big bottle of beer.” That’s what he got, and he claims that is why he only lost 40 pounds or whatever it was.

I still have the “little red book” he was given to read while a prisoner. My positive opinion of the Chinese has been shaped in part by their very dignified treatment of my father as a quasi-prisoner, combined with my finishing high school in Singapore at a time when Minister-Mentor Lee Kuan Yew was just hitting his statesmanlike-stride.

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Feb 16

Review DVD: Morning Light

Morning Light

Worthy of time and money, could have been better, June 25, 2009

The Amazon review above stinks. Ignore it.

I would never, ever, have known of Morning Light if I had not been the only other person in an advanced meterology class in Seattle under master weatherman Lee Chesneau. The skipper Jeremy, the navigator Piet, and the back-up navigator Chris, and I, spent a full week together. I ended up feeding them and the instructor a lot of sushi.

These three were a cut above the norm, but one of the things I learned from being with them was just how normal the crew was, and the fact that they were giving up a working position in order to carry a camaraman–in other words, they came in second to a world-class professional crew even though handicapped by one cargo camaraman. I was surprised not to see this mentioned in the film.

As for the film, it had me on the edge of my seat and as mundane as some may find aspects of the film–not exactly a James Bond movie, and certainly not a drama with hotties such as Wind–for anyone who loves sailing, this is absolutely a great film to view alone or as an excuse for a gathering of like-minded folk.

My biggest disappointment in the film is the lack of detail on training–absent my comment and my direct experience, no one would know they got advanced meterology training, or that their initial southern pick went against everything they were taught (the wind rotates counter-clockwise). Nor did I learn anything of other training.

From talking to them I learned far more about the training and the details of equipping the boat, e.g. they were each allowed one small sack of personal items, and as the boat was put together there were furious arguments about the exact weight of the navigation light at the top of the mast, and the weight of the wire from the light to the power source. That is the kind of stuff I was hoping would be in this film.

So a bit disappointing, but a superb contribution and one that I would recommend as a gift to any aspiring sailor from high school onwards.

Other DVDs in my sailing library (see my Amazon List):
Volvo Round the World Race: The SEB Stopover Reports.
Racing To Win with Gary Jobson

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Jul 3