January 7, 2014

Another day, another book

ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS I’ve ever written on deep-sea cruising is called The Seaworthy Offshore Sailboat: A Guide to Essential Features, Gear, and Handling (International Marine).

If I sound a bit boastful, it’s because I loved writing this book. It touches on a feeling every sailor must have experienced at one time or another: What would happen if I just kept sailing over the horizon?  Would my boat be seaworthy enough?  Would she stand up to a storm — and would she look after me if I were disabled by seasickness or an accident?

This book tells you, without pulling any punches, if your present boat (or the one you’ve got your eye on) is ready to take on the sea. And I have to say that my publisher, International Marine, did a great job of layout and illustration.

Ø  Here’s an excerpt from a review by Tom Lochhaas, of About.com Sailing, in which he discusses two “unique chapters:”

"Test Your Boat is a rating system questionnaire that considers virtually every aspect of what makes a sailboat safe and efficient for offshore cruising and passage-making. This chapter leads you through 55 variables, each of which contributes to, or subtracts from, a boat being seaworthy. A numerical score is assigned for each of a given boat’s characteristics, and the sum is interpreted in terms of the boat’s overall seaworthiness. This allows you to easily compare different boats or to see where you can increase the seaworthiness of your own boat.

“Vigor's Black Box Theory of seamanship has been widely quoted by sailors, and here is his own explanation of how it works. It’s a fascinating theory that seems borne out by experience, involving a sort of karma of seamanship. The essence is that every boat has a black box you can't see into that contains an unknown number of points. Every time you do something right, whether it's consulting your chart in preparation for entering an unfamiliar harbor or checking the tightness of screws in your rigging before anticipated heavy weather, a point goes into the box. The more safety-conscious you are, the more you practice good seamanship skills, the more points accumulate. In an emergency or difficult situation, even when you are doing everything correctly, you may need help, and at such times points are cashed in. You don't have control over this invisible box, and the naïve may call it luck, but these saved-up points might just save your life.”

Ø  Another review, from Cruising World magazine:

"An invaluable resource. [Vigor's] practical wisdom gives you the know-how and confidence to prepare your boat for the sea. Here is the book that answers the sailor's fundamental question — Can my boat take me offshore safely? — then shows how to make it happen."

Today’s Thought

A Passage perillus makyth a Port pleasant.

— Anon (Motto inscribed on a harbor wall on the Lake of Como)


Some puns are better than others, but jokes about German sausage are truly the wurst.

(Drop by every Monday, Wednesday, Friday for a new Mainly about Boats column.)

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