Best Sailing Manuals - Ski Mag

Best Sailing Manuals

Learning to sail is a lifelong dream for a lot of people. As is owning your own boat and sailing around the world. The first part is relatively manageable. Although you can’t exactly learn how to sail—just like you can't learn how to swim—by reading a book. You can take a few classes, get a boating or captains license, and learn the ropes (or lines, as they're called in the sailing world). But when it comes to boat ownership, that's where it gets a little tricky. Fortunately, there are a few things you can learn from studying the right books, drawing from the experience of veterans who have been there and done that. So, after you actually learn how to sail—or even to help you pass your test—there are many great books that talk about navigation, boat parts and equipment, engine maintenance, electrical systems, and everything in between. When those dreams finally become reality and you're left scratching your head and thinking, "Okay, now what?" check out some of our favorite sailing manuals to help ensure your maiden—and future—voyage is a success.
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Best for Beginners

Don Casey's Complete Illustrated Sailboat Maintenance Manual 

Illustrated Sailboat Maintenance Guide

At a massive 896 pages with over 2,500 detailed illustrations, the Don Casey manual aims to help sailboat owners do everything from cosmetic repairs, diesel engine maintenance, repair sails, and refinishing work.

What We Liked

Sailboat owners know that once one problem is solved, two more are bound to pop up…again and again. And if there was one thing to help save time, money and headaches around sailboat maintenance and repairs, it's this jam-packed resource from Don Casey, author of This Old Boat. Each section is easy to read and accompanied by extremely detailed illustrations to help guide you toward a solution from a myriad of common sailboat issues. After all, sailors get sailboats so they can sail more, not spend all their time fixing their boat. This book helps you do just that: troubleshoot issues, fix issues, and become a better sailor. Order Online.

Most Comprehensive 

The Complete Sailing Manual, 4th Edition

Comprehensive, Updated Sailing and Boat Maintenance

From boating terminology to best sailing practices, man overboard procedures and knot tying, this book can teach you a thing or two, whether you're new to the water or experienced at sea.

What We Liked

This book, written by former British national sailing champion Steve Sleight, is a must-have for those interested in learning to sail, new boat owners, and even salty dogs (seasoned sailors). At 448 pages, it covers everything from nautical terminology to navigation in a practical, easy to follow, and well-illustrated way. Skimming through it once will familiarize you—or brush you up—on the basics you need to single-hand most sailing vessels. Referencing back to it over and over again will help you make better decisions on the water and know how to fix common issues as they arise. It's like having an illustrated dictionary and encyclopedia of all things sailboats in a single, (relatively) compact manual. Buy Online.

Most Practical

Boatowners Mechanical and Electrical Manual 4/E

Guide to Fixing Everything on Your Boat

Like a full-blown college course inside a 960-page book, the Boatowners Mechanical and Electrical Manual by Nigel Calder offers an A to Z reference on maintaining, repairing, and improving your boat's internal issues.

What We Liked

As time passes on and technology improves, boats require more technical maintenance. And while knowing how to sail and taking care of the exterior of your boat is one thing, understanding its engine and electronic systems is a whole different animal. A topic intimidating to even the most experienced of mariners and boat owners, this book can help you troubleshoot, repair, and maintain even the most hodge-podge of electrical rigging and diesel engine set-ups. Everything from batteries, 12-volt systems, electric propulsion, inverters, lights, transmissions, propellers, steering, and even refrigeration is broken down to help you better understand and—more importantly—fix the ever present issues that arise with boat ownership. Get It Here.

Most Fun

Escape from the Ordinary

Join the Sailing Adventure

Less a manual than a first person, storied account, Escape from the Ordinary is the story of Glen and Julie Bradley and their sailing trip around the world, and the adventures and mishaps that come with it.

What We Liked

While you won't get a ton of technical know-how from this non-fiction book, learning from others’ trials and errors can be a great way to become a better sailor and to cultivate the mindset needed for extended ocean voyages. This page-turning adventure is a first-person account on the things you don't really think about, but that inevitably happen, when sailing around the world. Surviving gale force storms, having run-ins with sharks, experiencing mechanical errors, and communicating with locals on foreign shores are all part of this real-life adventure story that may help shed some insight into how you would handle these tough situations should they arise as you sail. Purchase Here.

This article was written by a third party for use in our affiliate program and has not been endorsed by our editors.

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