Unique, Not a Substitute for Manuals, But Practical Clever Sense, June 28, 2009
I stayed up late to finish this book, and regret the publisher has not seen fit to offer Amazon readers a “Look Inside the Book.”
I am adding this book to my list of great sailing manuals, handbooks, and other guides, with the observation that this book is in no way a substitute for those more detail oriented step by step books BUT this book is also unique. It is PACKED with real-world experience and clever sense–much beyond common sense–that is literally priceless. Put clearly, I would not leave this book out of my calculations in planning to acquire and manage an offshore journey that includes an ocean crossing.
Chapter 15 on “Can You Be Seen At Night” is alone worth the price of the book. I have NEVER seen this much useful detail anywhere else, including the so-called everything guides. The author excels at providing contact information and specific recommendations and I absolutely would not go to sea in the future without buying the masthead light he recommends in the book. I also realized that the 65 MacGregor, which I have my eye on, falls just within the 65.6′ limits of international regulations on masthead lights sufficing (when sailing), and personally think MacGregor is making a mistake in thinking about a 70′ version.
This book has FOUR chapters on storm management, and I have NEVER seen it explained more sensibly, in logical progression. I am not a lifelong sailed despite a provisional D Skipper rating (less celestial), so these four chapters are for me the equivalent of a life-time tutorial that I badly need.
While speaking of celestial, this book persuaded me I have to get on with that qualification. The author is compelling in describing the circumstances under which GPS could go out, both locally or by military dictat, and I finally appreciate the urgency of having celestial capability in extremis.
The rest of the book is a joy. I now wish I had done this when my three boys were still in middle school range. The chapter on home schooling is fantastic, with lots of detail, and I am fully convinced that the author is correct when he says that two hours of focused study a day easily equal a “full” school day with all its distractions and change-ups.
The chapters on fuel for cooking and fuel for heating are both very important, and marvelous supplements to the more sterile ground as covered by others. The author ranges widely, covers the pros and cons well acorss the various fuel categories, and I put down the book knowing a great deal more. This merits a special comment: this author is gifted at talking sense. I understand his words more easily than the more formal manuals.
Final chapters include one on nine ideas covering tools, water, flashlights, mast climbing steps, nonskid desk surfaces, ship’s book (history and details of every sail, fitting, etc.), cockroaches, enhancement to the topping lift, and stuffing box leaks with ACE bandages in or out of the hull.
The book does not mention piracy, so I am loading a graphic from an article I wrote recently, and anticipate the need for a global guide to piracy and rapid response services. I also see a need for fully concealable sniper rifles that are impervious to salt-water.
Absolutely a great value.