Happy to share with you some of my favorite sailing books that I’ve read over the years. All of these books are great if you love sailing, boating, high-seas adventure and unique travel destinations, or just want a good book to read on a lazy day. Some of these are historical, some are fiction, some are nonfiction, and some are reference guides. Some of them are also nonfiction and fiction. In this list, they are not in any particular order.
Please leave a comment and tell us about your favorite sailing or travel books! Let me know what you think if you read some of these.
As Long as It’s Fun: The Epic Voyages and Extraordinary Times of Lin and Larry Pardey By Herb McCormick
It’s the PUBLISHER’S STORY: When it comes to people who want to go on small-boat cruises and voyages, Lin and Larry Pardey are already well-known. The Pardeys made their name as world-traveling sailors by telling their stories in a series of best-selling books and manuals, as well as at a lot of seminars and boat shows. They did this by being eloquent and sometimes controversial. If you go on a cruise, this is what you should do: go simple, go small, go now. This is what they have always done. After 200,000 miles of sailing, they’ve shown that the dream of sailing over the horizon is not only possible, but it’s also cheap.
ME: My thoughts: During a trip across the Atlantic Ocean in February of 2019, I read this book for the first time since I read it six years ago. For me, it was the start of my dream to sail the world and live on a sailboat. It’s my dream to sail like Lin Pardey. The Pardeys are skilled sailors who have sailed around the world in sailboats that are much smaller and have fewer amenities than the 43-foot ketch I sailed, which is what I did. What would Lin Pardey do when things got hard on the boat? A love story, high-seas adventure, and bucket list travel are all things you’ll enjoy if you read this book.
Atlantic: Great Sea Battles, Heroic Discoveries, Titanic Storms, and a Vast Ocean of a Million Stories By Simon Winchester
It’s the PUBLISHER’S STORY: Author Simon Winchester weaves together history, geography, reminiscence, science, and exposition to tell the incredible story of the Atlantic Ocean in his book, The Atlantic. Winchester is both a great storyteller and a great historian. He puts the great blue sea’s epic story against the backdrop of humanity’s intellectual development, telling not only the story of an ocean, but also the story of civilization.
MY VIEWS: This book had me hooked! This book was interesting to me, but I read it while I was actually sailing across the Atlantic Ocean in February 2019. This made it more personal for me. It doesn’t matter if I didn’t learn about the Atlantic Ocean while I sailed across the Atlantic Ocean. I know that I would still have loved all the history and stories of the sea that are in this book that is like a written documentary. The writing is well-researched and very beautiful. A lot of fun from start to finish.
Adrift: A True Story of Love, Loss, and Survival at Sea By Tami Oldham Ashcraft
It’s the PUBLISHER’S STORY: Tami Oldham and her fiance, Richard Sharp, were young and in love when they set sail from Tahiti. They were going to San Diego, Tami’s home town. As if that wasn’t bad enough, less than two weeks into their trip, they would sail right into one of the most destructive hurricanes in history. They had to fight pounding rain, waves the size of skyscrapers, and 140 knot winds. Richard tied himself to the boat and sent Tami down to safety, and then it was very quiet. Hours later, when Tami woke up, the boat was in pieces and Richard was nowhere to be found.
During Tami’s forty-one-day journey to safety, she had no motor or masts, and there was little hope for rescue. It’s a story about love and survival on the high seas. It’s a story about the strength of the human spirit and the power of love that can go beyond words. Tami’s story of how she spent 41 days at sea is just amazing. It’s so much better than the movie that I saw. During the movie, she isn’t given credit for her experience and expertise, or for her creativity and sailing ingenuity when she was in a state of survival. All of the people I know told me not to watch the movie or read the book. I’ve done both and think the book is a real guide and useful tool as well as a very interesting and gripping read.
Fifty Places to Sail Before You Die: Sailing Experts Share the World’s Greatest Destinations By Chris Santella
It’s the PUBLISHER’S STORY: Since the beginning of time, humans have sailed the waves of the ocean in search of food, money, and adventure. Some of the best sailing places in the world are shown in “Fifty Places To Sail Before You Die.” These places have been visited by champion racers as well as adventurous people. Venues range from posh New England ports like Newport to a harrowing journey around Cape Horn to a peaceful island retreat like Mopelia. “Fifty Places To Sail Before You Die” will also have colorful descriptions of the sailing spots and stories from some of the world’s best sailors. It will also have beautiful photos and enough information to help would-be sailors plan their own adventures in these places.
The Ultimate Sailing Destination Bucket List is a great book to own and look through at your own pace. It includes beautiful photos, history, and travel tips for all of the places you want to visit. When I need inspiration, I just open a book and start dreaming. Each chapter has its own story, so you don’t have to read the whole book to enjoy it. You can enjoy it in bite-sized pieces.
The Sailing Bible: The Complete Guide for All Sailors, from Novice to Expert By Jeremy Evans, Pat Manley, and Barrie Smith
PUBLISHER’S DESCRIPTION: The Sailing Bible is a complete guide for all sailors, no matter how experienced they are. Experienced sailors get sound advice and expert tips that will help them become better sailors as well as more safe and have more fun on the water. The Sailing Bible has a lot of important information, step-by-step instructions, diagrams, and pictures that show how to do things. It’s also very easy to use and is good for all kinds of sailboats. Learn how to sail, then navigation, then boat maintenance. The authors cover everything a sailor needs to know to get the most out of the sport.
This is my go-to guide when I need a quick how-to sailing lesson in just one or two pages. People who are new to sailing and experienced sailors alike will find this book very helpful. It explains complicated maneuvers and the basics of sailing in an easy-to-follow way that both can understand. When I sail a 43-foot ketch or my small one-sail wooden day sailer, I find this book very useful.
The Old Man and the Sea By Ernest Hemingway
It’s the PUBLISHER’S STORY: This is one of Ernest Hemingway’s best-known works. The Old Man and the Sea is one of the best. Story of an old Cuban fisherman who is down on his luck and fights a huge marlin far out in the Gulf Stream. It is told in simple and powerful language. As you read this, Hemingway changes the classic theme of courage in the face of defeat into something that looks like it was written today. In 1952, he wrote a hugely popular novella that showed how powerful and important he was in the literary world. This helped him win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954.
No, I’m not lying. At least 10 times, I’ve read this book from start to finish. The first time I thought about being a writer was when I was in my teens. This book, along with To Kill a Mockingbird, was one of my favorite books when I was younger. When I was on a 43-foot sailboat in February 2019, I read The Old Man and the Sea again. All the time, I remember why I love it so much. This book is so good! It’s always beautiful prose and Hemingway’s simple and powerful storytelling art that I love and admire. It’s a short book that can be read in one sitting. As I said, I promise it will make you think, and you’ll feel like you are on that boat with the salty old fisherman as he tries to land the catch of a lifetime.
A Voyage for Madmen By Peter Nichols
It’s the PUBLISHER’S STORY: In 1968, nine sailors set off on the most risky race in history: to sail around the world without stopping. It was a feat that had never been done before, and one that would change the way sailing looked for ever. It was 10 months later that only one of the nine men would be able to make it across to the finish line. He would earn fame, wealth, and glory then. For the rest of them, the reward was madness, failure, and even death.
It was a time before cell phones, satellite dishes, and electronic positioning systems. In this book, Peter Nichols tells the story of a fight between the individual and the sea. This is a story about sailors who are driven by their own dreams and demons, terrifying storms in the Southern Ocean, and riveting moments when a split-second decision can make the difference between life and death. A Voyage for Madmen is set in the Southern Ocean. Thoughts: I could not stop reading this book as I sailed from Cayenne to Kourou on the northern South American coast in June 2019. I was enthralled by this true story of a grueling race to go around the world without stopping. Some of my sailor friends told me about it. In my line of work, I can’t even think of a challenge like this that I would face. But this book makes you feel like you’re right there with these nine sailors. It also shows how skilled and strong they were. It turns out that not all of them made it. Even if you aren’t a sailor, this book will give you a lot of ideas.
Two Years Before the Mast By Richard Henry Dana, Jr.
After a two-year sea trip in 1834, Richard Henry Dana, Jr. wrote a book called “Two Years Before the Mast.” It was published in 1840. Dana had the measles while he was at Harvard College, which made it hard for him to see. Dana, instead of going on a Grand Tour like most of his classmates did, and because he couldn’t afford it anyway, and because he was a little bit of a rebel, left Harvard to join the crew of the Pilgrim and sail around Cape Horn. After two years on the Alert, he came back to Massachusetts (which left California sooner than the Pilgrim).
Keep a diary: He kept one during the trip, and when he came back, he wrote the book Two Years Before the Mast, which is a well-known American classic. It was published in 1840, the same year he was admitted to the bar. People I know who are also sailors told me to read it. During a trip from the Canary Islands to Cape Verde, Africa, I read it. The story is very good. It shows Dana’s life on two merchant ships in the early 1800s in a lot of color and detail. How to Get Your Sea Legs: A Sailor’s Adventure Blog To be clear, I’m not comparing my work to Dana’s by any means. We both wanted to show what it was like to live and sail on a cheap sailboat.
Bull Canyon: A Boatbuilding, a Writer and Other Wildlife By Lin Pardey
It’s the PUBLISHER’S STORY: Lin Pardey and her husband, Larry, are known all over the world for their sailing adventures. When they came to California in 1980, they had just come back from a ten-year sailing trip. They wanted to build a boat there, test Lin’s writing skills, and see if life on land was safe and stable. Bull Canyon, which is 60 miles from the sea and 50 miles from Los Angeles, doesn’t seem like the best place to build a boat. It’s made up of winding, mostly deserted dirt roads. But when Lin and Larry saw the stone cottage at the top of a rutted, dusty lane, they fell in love at first sight. You could tell that the house had a lot to be done. You could also enjoy the peace and quiet and the natural beauty of the area. They knew they would come back.
Bull Canyon would bring them happiness, victories, and failures, but also packrats in the pantry, flooding rains that would make Noah run for cover, the occasional cougar, and a group of neighbors who were as willing to help these newcomers as they were to gossip or cause trouble. In this kind of life, you would live close to the land, grow food in arid soil, and live with all kinds of animals. There would be no pipes for water, electricity, or phones, and you wouldn’t even have an address for mail. When they worked together all the time, their marriage would be put to the test. A difficult and dangerous life in the canyon would make the deal they signed up for even worse than they thought. Even though life could be rough in Bull Canyon at times, dreams could come true there. MY VIEWS: I think Lin Pardey is one of the best writers of all time. I’ve read a lot of her books, and I think they’re great. They include, but aren’t limited to: These are just some of her books. I’ve read it from start to finish. Bull Canyon is my favorite. You might read it again soon. I read it while I was on a cruise across the Atlantic Ocean in February 2019. Lin is a great storyteller and one of the best sailors in the world, and she’s both. People who “try” to write often use a lot of flowery language that makes their writing seem forced and hard. Her writing is clear and concise. She gets right to the point and does so in a way that makes you feel like you’re right there with her. Most of her books would be on my “Top 10” list. All of them? But this one is my favorite of hers, so it’s on this list, too.
Life on a 20-Degree Tilt (Book 1 of Living Life Sideways Series) By Michelle Segrest
It’s the PUBLISHER’S STORY: If you thought that sailing around the world was a never-ending vacation of bikinis and martinis, you’re in for a bucket-list adventure of a lifetime, so get ready! People who live on boats and sail in blue water face a lot of complex problems, but these real-life stories show how simple decisions can have real-life consequences and how the most challenging obstacles live inside a sailor’s heart, too. A sailor and two seadogs will show you what it’s like to live life upside down. If you’re interested in an escape from the norm, come aboard. A sailor and her two beagles set off on a bucket-list adventure of a lifetime: a sailing trip around the world that will take them from north Germany to south Alabama. A 43-foot steel ketch sails through some of the world’s most difficult waters in Book 1 of Living Life Sideways. The Baltic Sea, the North Sea, and the Bay of Biscay all feature in this book. It looks like she can’t get over her epic seasickness and difficulties learning how to live life upside down until she faces the real battle that sailor’s souls have to fight. Her greatest fears and worst nightmares are now real, so she has to figure out how to deal with them in the here and now.