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Nigel Calder's Cruising Handbook: A Compendium for Coastal and Offshore Sailors Hardcover – May 28, 2001

47 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

"The indispensable crew. No boat should sail without Calder aboard."--Paul Gelder, Yachting Monthly

This handbook shows you not only how to select and equip a boat for coastal and offshore cruising, but also how to sail and navigate it. Covering all this in one volume is a monumental task, one not attempted since the pioneers of blue-water voyaging wrote the first generation of cruising bibles decades ago. Since that simpler, more spartan era, the typical cruising sailboat has become faster and more comfortable, but also more complex. Even as they've made distant horizons more reachable, the marvels of modern technology have paradoxically raised the ante on the entry-level skills required for cruising. Small wonder then that books about boat handling and seamanship have little to say about the special demands of cruising, while books about cruising presuppose a mastery of the fundamentals of seamanship and navigation.

Nigel Calder's Cruising Handbookpresupposes nothing. It sifts through, organizes, and makes sense of the hundred disciplines of the cruising avocation. It will help you through your first coastal hop or your umpteenth offshore passage. Here you will find

  • Comprehensive coverage of cruising sailboat design
  • The elements of a comfortable interior and a workable deck presented in depth
  • The background you need to decide which of today's technological advancements may detract from rather than add to your cruising enjoyment
  • Thorough coverage of cruising skills, from boat handling to transoceanic voyaging
  • Fresh wrinkles for even the most experienced sailors

Compiling in one volume all the knowledge needed for successful cruising under sail, Nigel Calder's Cruising Handbook provides an inestimable service for sailors. There is nothing else like it.

"If you were shipwrecked on a desert island and could choose only one book to help get you off, this is the book."--Patience Wales, Editor, SAIL

About the Author

Nigel Calder has decades of sailing and cruising behind him. He is widely acknowledged as the world's foremost writer on boat systems maintenance, and writes regularly for SAIL, Cruising World, Ocean Navigator, Professional Boatbuilder, and Yachting Monthly, among other magazines. He is the author of six books, including Boatowner's Mechanical and Electrical Manual, Marine Diesel Engines, Refrigeration for Pleasureboats, The Cruising Guide to the Northwest Caribbean, and Cuba: A Cruising Guide.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 608 pages
  • Publisher: International Marine/Ragged Mountain Press; 1st edition (May 28, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071350993
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071350990
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 1 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #352,337 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

135 of 135 people found the following review helpful By RAC on September 1, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Ordinarily,I would not get too excited about another new cruising book,even one by so eminent an author as Calder, whose previous work: Boatowner's Mechanical And Electrical Manual, has become an icon on both sides of the pond. While the cruising genre is a particular favorite of mine, recent offerings seem to have grown a bit redundant for those of us striving to keep abreast of the field.
This book of Calder's is a whole new ball game.
First of all: It's a very big book both physically, and in terms of it's diverse subject matter. At just under six hundred pages in an 8 ½ x 11inch format, it is not something I would refer to as a "handbook" unless speaking to a gorilla. The word "encyclopedic" springs to mind, as it is truly monumental in scope and execution...
McGraw-Hill did a commendable job of putting it all together. It looks like it might last, even in the marine environment where it will most assuredly find a home. It features a water resistant cover and flexible spine, designed to lie flat when opened, a wonderful feature on a pitching chart table, far at sea, where information is scarce and time of the essence.
It covers nearly everything. It covers it in exquisite detail. It covers it in a manner anyone can understand. There are chapters relating to most any conceivable contingency a cruiser might run in to, from boat selection, equipage, and maintenance, to the more esoteric areas of daily life on a cruising sailboat (and much more than I wanted to know about navigational history).
Calder remains the quintessential "systems" man and his section on surveying a prospective purchase, with it's attendant checklist, is, alone, worth the price of the book.
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41 of 41 people found the following review helpful By J. Van Belle on December 21, 2003
Format: Hardcover
The strength of this book is its readability. Calder writes very well, and he organizes this book in a way that makes it something one can read from cover to cover. Reading his work actually makes you want to be sailing.
His treatment of yacht design is a fantastic walk through the desireable characteristics of yachts for cruising. If you are buying a boat, read this book before you finalize your decision. Calder acknowledges that every boat is a compromise, and he clearly favors traditional design over modern lines (he repeatedly expresses his distaste for wing keels, for example).
The book then progresses through different sailing and cruising skills and issues. His discussion of anchoring is one of the best I have seen, and he does an admirable job of explaining marine weather.
The one thing to keep in mind about this book is that it is rather "blue sky". He describes the ultimate cruising yacht (which looks remarkably like his own) and tends to overcook some of the concerns with "lesser" designs. Not everyone can afford to have a brand new Pacific Seacraft 40 built for them from scratch, but this is the boat Calder essentially lists as the perfect cruising yacht.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By rustygrey on September 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
First, I Love this book and very much enjoy Nigel Calders writing. I have encountered this book on other peoples boats for some years now and felt maybe it was time I get my own copy. I wrongly assumed that Nigel like other sailor/writers of cruising books dating even back to the 1970's had updated or amended the book where appropriate. This was definitely an error. There have simply been too many changes in the last decade to recommend this book. Perhaps at 1/3 of Amazons current price I could justify it, but as it stands it is as obsolete as my old 121 EPIRB. I will be returning it.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Suzy F. Homemaker on April 30, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book goes into the detail necessary to outfit a cruising boat. The pictures and diagrams make the concepts very clear, and easy to implement. Many books have a few great ideas, but Calder concetrates them in one spot. The 18 page "Checklist of Desirable Features" at the end of the first section is worth the price of the book alone!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jose-Maria Castro on August 29, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In my point of view, I like the practical and no-non sense approach. It goes beyond the simplistic explanation but still serves beginners, who ignore details, into this subject. A pleasure to read, very friendly written. Realistic explanations, a real gem to follow. Now that I have read it, I will keep it on board. The book starts anywhere, it is all equally atractive and appropriate.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Robert S. Mellis on January 12, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Nigel has great credibility and this book adds to this. His approach to writing about the stuff cruisers need to know is clean, clear and spare. The illustrations are good. The index is outstanding.
This book is a great add-on for those who already have his earlier maintenance book
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Seaskills on January 30, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I teach vessel handling and I am a private yacht captain. If I had only one book to prepare for an offshore journey (or just wanted to dream about it), this is hands-down the best. Well written and illustrated. A great gift for anyone with a boat - power or sail.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Karl Hittinger on April 5, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Skip the rest. Read the best. After purchasing several hundred pounds of boating publications I can definitively say, "Save yourself the trouble and buy this first."
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