Best Sailing Book Reviews 2018

Shopping for a sailing book may be a difficult chore for a novice who knows nothing about sailing and may require some guidance on the right ones. We have carried out thorough research on the subject and have come up with a list of five top writers and publishers. We are featuring one book from each to highlight. First, though, let’s look at how you might go about choosing one.
Overview
PROS
CONS
SPECS
Type
Size
Edition
Author
Pages
Our Top Choice
Beth Leonard's The Voyager's Handbook
Beth Leonard has sailed round the world twice and gathered experiences from these voyages that make her a wonderful sailor, great teacher, and astute writer.
Easy to use graphs and tables for quick reference. Helps you to know how to handle life at sea and make your boat a livable, safe and seaworthy home.
So thorough and detailed that some people just skip some parts of the book.
Hardcover
8.8 x 1.7 x 11.3 inches; 3.6 lbs
3rd edition; Dec 7, 2006
Beth .A. Leonard
592
Best Value
Peter & J. J. Isler’s Sailing For Dummies
Peter and J.J Isler are renowned as top contestants and teachers in the world of sailing. They have long years of experience and have taught many people about sailing.
Introduces the basics of sailing. Covers everything you need to know about communicating with your crew and having a successful sailing experience.
Uses many nautical terms before explaining them.
Paperback
7.4 x 1 x 9.2 inches; 1.4 lbs
2nd edition; June 6, 2006
J.J Isler, Peter Isler
432
John Rousmaniere's Book of Seamanship
John Rousmaniere has been a staunch sailor since his youth and has many sailing achievements to his name. He brings his wealth of experience to sailors of every kind in his books and lectures.
Emphasizes the skills and behaviors that make up seamanship core values. Covers all that's required for professional seamanship; boat maintenance and preservation of marine life.
Errors in writing suggest the proofreading was not thorough.
Hardcover
8.5 x1 x 10.9 inches; 3 lbs
4th edition; Jan 7, 2014
John Rousmaniere
416
DK's The Complete Sailing Manual
DK aims to inform, enhance knowledge and entertain readers, no matter how old they are and whatever it publishes, whether in print or digitally, follows this approach.
Revised and updated to include all the latest innovations in equipment and safety. Covers recent rules, regulations and best practices.
It’s a bit too basic for anyone with a little sailing experience.
Hardcover
8 x 1.2 x 9.6 inches; 3.2 lbs
3rd edition; Dec 19, 2011
Steve Sleight
448
Gary Jobson's Sailing Fundamentals
Gary Jobson is one of America’s leading voices of authority on sailing, with many achievements under his belt. He’s won many major sailing races and awards.
Recommended text for ASA certification. Comprehensive, clear coursework covering all aspects of sailing. Professional and neutral, not reflecting the prejudices and foibles of its author.
Too wordy and could use more pictures and illustrations.
Paperback
8.5 x 0.6 x 11 inches; 1.4 lbs
3rd edition; Aug 1, 2005
Gary Jobson
220

(Updated )
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How Do I Choose the Best Sailing Book?

Ever thought of how blissful it would be to charter a boat and take off on a long cruise with friends and loved ones? To berth in exotic islands and indulge in some snorkeling, skimboarding, surfing and beach bumming? Well, if you have, then you either need to know a veteran sailor, or learn how to sail yourself. A good sailing book is a resource for both a learner and a veteran and would serve as a useful reference both before and during your cruise.

You may assume that going on a cruise is something you’ll only dream about, but you’ll be surprised how achievable it is. Some of the sailing books even include sections on budgeting that show you how to raise and manage the funds needed to make your dreams come true.
Price
A comprehensive sailing book is a good investment for anyone dreaming of, planning or preparing for a life of sailing, or a one-off sailing adventure. There are many sailing books out there and a number of things affect their prices; the years of sailing experience and reputation of the author, the contents and the brand. Whatever the case, ensure the book has the requisite information needed. You can get a good one for between around $10 and $40.

During our research, we came across some cheap sailing books but we decided not to feature them because some are too technical and difficult to understand while others are not as informative as they should be.

We assure you whatever product you choose based on this review will give you good value for your money.
Features
There are many sailing books on the market and all of them have one thing or the other to offer readers. When buying a sailing book, there are some features to look out for and they include
  • Clarity of information – The manner of presentation determines whether you can understand its content
  • Format – Sailing books come in print and digital versions
  • Illustrations – Some books are more visual than others and have more drawings, pictures, and illustrations
  • Language – This refers to terms used in the book, although there are sailing books that have been translated to several languages
  • Material and Durability – The material the book is made of determines how long it lasts
  • Content – The contents of the book determine who it will benefit most – the amateur, intermediate or veteran sailor
Construction and Design
When you decide to buy a sailing book, you need to first determine your level of expertise. If you’re a beginner or learner, there are books specifically written to help you. These consider the novice status of the reader and minimize the use of too many nautical terms (or ensure they explain them in detail). They also have lots of drawings and illustrations to help simplify information. However, if you are someone with knowledge in sailing, those types of sailing books would be a disappointment to you.

If you are preparing for certification like ASA, there are recommended texts you would do well to buy instead of just reading any sailing book you see.

In this day and age, books are no longer only in print but also in digital form. If you want something you can always make reference to (maybe on your cruise or voyage), it might make more sense for you to get the digital version. Of course, if you’re not tech savvy or worry about the state of your electronics out at sea, you can stick to the print version. They both have the same content but the digital is more convenient and may also afford you the ability to get quick cross reference online.
Performance and Ease of Use
Sailing books are not like novels or fictional thrillers; they are technical books that seek to present hard facts and information to the reader. When shopping for one, check to be sure the language used is such that you can understand. Some use advanced nautical terms because they assume you have a basic knowledge of sailing while others like the ‘For Dummies' series assume the readers know nothing about sailing.

There are also those with a lot of visuals (drawings, pictures, diagrams, and illustration). These are the best options for beginners or learners because they enable the reader to understand faster and more clearly what is being communicated.

What is the Best Sailing Book?

No one can authoritatively say a particular book is the best sailing one. There are many things that may affect the usefulness of a book to its reader. As you read through our top picks, see which one appeals most to your personal tastes and circumstance.
Our Top Choice
Beth Leonard 's The Voyager's Handbook is a motivating and complete manual, the perfect resource for anybody that's planning, getting ready for, or just thinking about a great exploit at sea. If you want a different sailing book at a lower price, we recommend Blue Horizons: Dispatches from Distant Seas.
Beth Leonard's The Voyager's Handbook: The Essential Guide to Blue Water Cruising

Beth Leonard's Sailing Book – December 7, 2006


Features
Beth Leonard completed a three-year trip of thirty five thousand miles around the world with her partner Evans Starzinger in 1995 and then she lectured in many places and wrote articles for premier sailing magazines. After that, she and her partner set off for another of six years with a high percentage of those years in places in the high latitudes. These experiences have made her not only a great sailor but a wonderful teacher. She is a popular writer with awards from the Cruising Club of America and the Ocean Cruising Club.

Beth Leonard's The Voyager's Handbook is the perfect resource for anybody planning, getting ready for, or just thinking about a great exploit at sea. It's a motivating and complete manual that takes you gradually through all the aspects of opting for, planning, and living the life of a Voyager.

It has more great features, which include:
  • It helps to make your dreams of sailing come true, irrespective of your budget
  • It shows you the essential things you need for your cruise which include wholeheartedly passionate sailors, a navigable vessel, and money
  • It offers astute advice to help you to choose crew members dedicated to the cruise, how to select the appropriate vessel, and means of raising funds for the voyage and maximizing every penny
  • It teaches how to organize life at sea and make the vessel a livable, safe and seaworthy home
  • It helps you get ready for all the roles you’ll have to play while at sea and ensure all the required equipment is available before sailing
  • It teaches you the requisite skills you need to manage/handle a vessel on a voyage with a small band of sailors
  • It has graphs that are simple to apply and tables that you can consult for useful hints
Best Value
Peter & J. J. Isler’s Sailing For Dummies is a classic, filled with practical and helpful information. It’s an ideal sailing reference book that's useful for sailors of any level. If you want a sailing book that's less expensive than this one, we recommend Peter & J. J. Isler’s Let's Go Sailing Paperback.
Peter & J. J. Isler's Sailing For Dummies- Two Formats & Editions

Peter & J. J. Isler's Sailing Book – June 6, 2006


Features
Peter and J.J Isler started sailing early in life. They are renowned as top contestants and teachers in the world of sailing, and both teach people of all levels of expertise and all ages. Peter was an important in the early years of the development of the educational program of US sailing and has many more achievements that are credited to him. JJ is presently the only American woman with two Olympic medals for sailing, and was the first woman to be inducted into the sailing community hall of fame. She has many medals and awards to her name.

Sailing For Dummies is a classic, and the second edition has been printed in seven languages. It’s filled with practical and helpful information, an ideal sailing reference book that's useful for sailors of any level. The authors put in everything they know about the sport at which they excel. It’s so organized, you can start reading from any part of the book and have fun learning.

It has more great features that include:
  • Introduction to sailing fundamentals
  • Examination of the various kinds of boats used for sailing and their elementary parts
  • How to locate and select a sailing training school
  • How to tie the ten nautical knots
  • How to use a life jacket correctly
  • What to do in case of emergencies at sea
  • Everything required for communicating with your team and how to get from one point to the other
John Rousmaniere's The Annapolis Book of Seamanship is a fully revised text that addresses developments in safety standards and technology; an ultimate guide to the art and science of sailing. Do you want a more dramatic sailing book? Check out Fastnet, Force 10: The Deadliest Storm in the History of Modern Sailing.
John Rousmaniere's The Annapolis Book of Seamanship, Mark Smith (Illustrator)

John Rousmaniere's Sailing Book – January 7, 2014


Features
John Rousmaniere has been a staunch sailor since his youth and has many sailing achievements to his name. He is a veteran speaker and has lectured at many sailing seminars. He is also passionate about safety at sea and has spoken at many safety clinics and seminars. He belongs to many reputable sailing, cruising and yachting clubs. When he finds the time, he chronicles the pastime he loves by writing books on the history of sailing, the America's Cup, designing of yachts, maritime photography and storms at sea. He brings his wealth of experience to sailors of every type in his books and lectures.

The Annapolis Book of Seamanship is a fully revised text that addresses the changes in safety standards and technology; an ultimate guide to sailing. It aims to advise sailors on vital equipment, skills, and conduct to enhance pleasure and safety.

It has other great features which include:
  • Emphasis on the competence and behaviors that make up the core values of seamanship
  • Lessons on essential knowledge, foundation sailing skills, understanding and managing the weather, how to trim sails, and practical tips
  • Information on how to handle illness on board especially seasickness and also other emergencies that may arise
  • Examination of the all the factors of navigation, piloting and the use of the electronic gadgets on board
  • Lessons on how to call the United State coast guard, selective digital calling, and the emergency system communication
  • Covers all that's required for professional seamanship which includes boat maintenance and preservation of marine life
DK's The Complete Sailing Manual covers everything from sailing fundamentals to the mastering of boat maintenance and seamanship. It’s an important reference for both students of sailing and their instructors. If you want a sailing reference material that’s more visual, Ships and Sailing DK Visual Dictionaries is highly recommended.
DK's The Complete Sailing Manual Third Edition

DK's Sailing Book - Third Edition


Features
DK (Dorling Kindersley) was established in 1974 in London and has become one of the premier publishers of illustrated reference materials across the globe. It publishes highly illustrative, pictorial nonfiction for both children and adults. DK aims to inform, enhance knowledge and amuse readers, no matter how old they are. Whatever it publishes, whether in print or digitally, represent this design approach. It provides unrivaled lucidity to a variety of subject matters with one of a kind arrangements of images and words combined to brilliant effect. DK is known for continuous improvement and creativity in the design it uses for both its electronic and print materials.

The Complete Sailing Manual covers everything from the basics of sailing to the mastering of navigation and boat maintenance. It’s essential reference material for both students of sailing and their instructors.

It has more great features which include the following:
  • It's revised and updated and now includes all the latest innovations in equipment and safety, as well as the recent rules, regulations and best practices
  • It has many pictures and drawings that make for easy assimilation of facts and information
  • It covers a wide range of sailing topics and can be considered an encyclopedia of sorts
Gary Jobson's Sailing Fundamentals is a complete reference material, the respected and authentic text that helps student sailors to prepare for certification by international standards. If you want a different kind of sailing book we recommend The Winner's Guide to Optimist Sailing.
Gary Jobson's Sailing Fundamentals Paperback

Gary Jobson's Sailing Book – August 1, 2005


Features
Gary Jobson is one of America's leading voices of authority on sailing, and the recent edition of his book "Sailing Fundamentals" is the authorized learners reference/guide book of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary. He has quite a number of achievements under his belt and has won many major races and awards.

Sailing Fundamentals is a comprehensive sailing reference manual, a respected and solid text that aims to help student sailors get ready for certification by international standards. It has many features which include:
  • It’s been checked and certified as one of the quickest, simplest, most methodical means of learning the fundamentals of coastal cruising and sailing
  • One hundred and fifty line drawings and photographs
  • Comprehensive and clear coursework that covers all aspects of sailing
  • It doesn’t reflect the prejudices and foibles of its author
  • It's the recommended text for ASA certification, which is prerequisite for anyone who wants to charter a boat

Get the Best Sailing Book of 2018!

Thank you for making time to read this review. If none of these books sounded quite right for you, check out other titles by these excellent authors – we’re sure you’ll find something ideal!

Our Top Choice
Beth Leonard's The Voyager's Handbook
Best Value
Peter & J. J. Isler’s Sailing For Dummies
John Rousmaniere's Book of Seamanship
DK's The Complete Sailing Manual
Gary Jobson's Sailing Fundamentals