5 Books for Every Sailor’s Reading List

The famous public television program Reading Rainbow and it’s host Levar Burton encouraged reading among children across America from the program’s inception in the 1980s through its final episode in the new millennium.  The program’s catch phrase “Just take a look, it’s in a book” isn’t just reserved for children though. Whether beginner, intermediate, or advanced, books can offer a wealth of knowledge for sailors of all ages and experience levels. Ranging from the fundamentals of sailing technique, to guidelines on outfitting a cruising yacht, or even tales of miraculous adventures at sea, books are a great resource to help you gain personal insight and refine your sailing skills.  To get you started here are five handpicked sailing titles to help you get your feet wet.

Sailing Made Easy by American Sailing Association

Sailing Made Easy is one of the most comprehensive learn-to-sail guides to date and includes important educational material on boating safety. Detailed, full-color illustrations and photographs highlight foundational sailing concepts discussed in this informative text used by the American Sailing Association. There are also quizzes at the end of each chapter to test your knowledge, and a glossary to help new sailors navigate their way through the extensive nautical terminology.

The Complete Sailing Manual by Steve Sleight

Written by instructor and former British national champion Steve Sleight, The Complete Sailing Manual is the perfect book for anyone interested in sailing. Sleight offers readers not only clear, annotated diagrams and photographs to answer questions about a wide range of sailing situations but also thoroughly covers all aspects of sailing and boat ownership. From how to tie basic knots, to rigging a dinghy, or even how to save someone who has fallen overboard, this authoritative text has something to offer for both the novice and experienced sailor. Currently in it’s 4th edition, The Complete Sailing Manual is continually revised and updated to follow the latest developments in sailing including equipment and new technology as well as changes to rules, regulations, and best practices.

The Complete Sailor by David Seidman

The Complete Sailor is just that, an insight into the sailor’s approach to the the dynamic of wind and the water that goes beyond a simple instructional book. If you have never sailed, sailed only a handful of times, or have acquired a lifetime of sailing experience Seidman’s book is sure to provide an entertaining and informative perspective on sailing. Cruising World described it as “a real winner…a masterful blend of straightforward text with delightful and instructive illustrations. Quite simply a great primer on sailing and the world of boats for readers of all ages.” It is perfect for beginners but also offers depth in content for individuals interested in going beyond the basics.

Sailing Around the World Alone by Joshua Slocum

A robust classic of the sea widely read and touted by sailors and landlubbers alike, this novel provides Slocum’s own account of his remarkable adventures during a historic solo voyage sailing 46,000 miles around the world over the course of three years. First published in 1900, Sailing Around the World Alone has been required reading in many schools and is a must for any true sailor at heart. The fast-paced narrative and straightforward descriptions of hazardous episodes coupled with his varied and often witty insights make this novel an exhilarating and absorbing adventure on the high seas.

The Racing Rules of Sailing for 2017-2020 by US Sailing Association

Whether you race or not, every sailor can benefit from owning a copy of these rules. Sailing is an art, perhaps more accurately a craft, and being knowledgeable is tantamount to being a good sailor. Do yourself a favor and splurge for the waterproof, spiral bound edition. You’ll thanks us later!

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