There was no substitute for racing in our learning to sail. The challenges were unavoidable and the feedback immediate. We crewed for many before heading out on our own, and we learned as much from the bad ones (maybe more) as we did from the good.There was no substitute for learning to cruise but cruising. We have been lucky along the way to have prepared just enough that our untested judgment didn’t come back to haunt us, but there are still some “never again” lessons we have learned and continue to learn. In truth, one thing that keeps us in this game is one can sail and cruise a life-time and still be learning. Learning is what life is about for us and it is often amplified by formal instruction. We have relied upon the Coast Guard and the U.S. Power Squadron for the basics and beyond. For navigation instruction it is especially useful to have a formal metric for success rather than a warm feeling. We have always found books as useful for the questions they help us form and reform as for the answers they may provide. Through the years we have found the books (in various media) below to be particularly useful– if not for precise instructions, at least for highly relevant examples. Reading prepares one’s mind for doing.

A readable text <> a feast of fixes.

Somewhat encumbered by cultural elements long beyond their prime, but excellent none the less.

We met Hal in 1980, even then, his advice was practiced and practical; his generosity ever present.

Needs updating for LCD displays. otherwise an excellent tutorial

Useful even if circumnavigation isn’t in your plans. We met Beth last year, and she walks her talk.

I bought a second copy after the first got too oil smudged during my trial by Perkins.

An excellent way to avoid fires aboard.

A Christmas present <> the best kind, the practical and theoretical well linked

A conservative, readable text

Practical advice beyond recipes.

Out of a collection of 100+ cookbooks one of the few we have aboard

Very useful in helping us decide against an SSB transceiver


This book turned me into a weather junkie when I was nine. It was my parents answer to all my questions about the tornado that had damaged our house and “chased” my Grandfather

This method fits easily between the rigors of Bowditch and a lightning fried celestial calculator.

Available on disc and e-Readers, this hefty book doesn’t go dim when the electrons are embargoed.

Even having learned to fly at 17, I found this explanation of the power of soft wings the key to a lot of race wins.

This was assigned reading when I was in 7th grade. My copy looked like this. It grabbed my imagination like a Blue Crab, and sailing was added to my imagination’s inventory forever. This one does cast a deeper shadow.

The first book I bought about sailing. Have given away many copies to newbies.

Nothing in this Blog shall be construed as providing guidance or instruction. Cruising is ultimately about individuals accepting accountability for their own choices. We are simply sharing what ours have been and how they may change, nothing more. Copyright C. Alex Waln 2007-2014

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