From electronic gadgets to boating blogs, there are plenty of modern tools to help you find your sea legs. In our opinion, nothing quite beats the time honoured method of a good boating book. From technical guides to the beautifully captured words from the world’s greatest yachtsmen, these are our personal pick of the 5 most essential books for the new sailor. Seriously: your on-deck library should not lack any of these titles!
The ultimate primer for beginners and students at the ‘Day Skipper’ level, this guide has been written by the co-author of the RYA Book of Navigation Exercises. It should be noted however that this book is entirely jargon free, offering the novice sailor a from-scratch way to approach charts, tides and passage planning with first class illustrations and high quality photos.
A practical, hands-on manual for the RYA Day Skipper syllabus, this essential book for the new sailors starts out with the bare basics of what’s actually on a boat, follows on into the intricacies of anchoring, mooring and boat handling as well as how to deal with emergencies. Readable, down-to-earth and now in its fully revised 4th edition, this book even has value for experienced sailors who may not have ventured that far afield.
Any sailor looking to expand their cruising range beyond their local area absolutely needs the Reeds Almanac. With its easy to use format, this single book is relied upon by thousands for its coverage of tide tables and streams, harbor plans (in not only the UK but all over Europe too) and radio navigation aids, just to list a handful.
If you’ve read our blog post on the greatest living sailors, you’ll know why any book written by Robin Knox-Johnston is worth having. For those who want a short bio, this Putney legend was the first man ever to sail single-handed and non-stop around the world, and also now holds the record for being the oldest yachtsman to complete a world solo voyage. In his own words, Robin recounts his defining 10 and a half month journey from the lowest points to his final triumph. For new sailors, no book could be more inspirational.
Another essential book for the new sailor undertaking the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) national sailing course for sailing dinghies, keelboats and multihulls, this guide gives a complete overview of the syllabus. The latest edition boasts a new layout and design, and adds in some minor additions to the syllabus such as the Duke of Edinburgh Scheme.