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4.5 out of 5 stars
Sailing For Dummies
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on April 28, 2008
This is a great book; well-written and informative, and I recommend it highly.

Here is my "how I learned to sail" story:

I accidentally ended up in possession of an O'Day Sprite (10 foot dinghy), but knew nothing about sailing. I put it at my buddy's house; he had a place on a lake, and he promised to teach me how to sail. One day, he walked in, tossed me a bag of parts, and said "Go rig your boat!" He came down with me and taught me equipment terminology, and showed me how to rig the mast. We ended up replacing the mast stays, but everything else was okay.

We got it rigged and got the sails on. He looked at the sails, then looked at the boat; then he said, "That's an awful lot of sail for that boat." He took it out for a quick spin to make sure everything was working, then he put me in the boat and had me try to sail it, while he shadowed me in the Whaler, shouting instructions. The one thing I learned that day was that accidental jibes can cause death rolls (I didn't actually "learn" it until later, but that's what happened). We ended up towing the Sprite back in with the Whaler, and that ended my first lesson.

I went out and bought "Sailing for Dummies", spent a week reading and re-reading it from cover to cover, went back to the lake, and successfully sailed the boat for hours. I never did capsize it again, although I've had it darn near horizontal in a strong breeze. My friend likes to tell people he taught me how to sail; I always correct him and say he taught me how to capsize, which was just as valuable a lesson.

I spent several summers sailing both the Sprite and and my buddy's Hunter 170, then "graduated" to keelboats. He kept telling me that that the Sprite was the hardest boat I'd ever sail; bigger boats are easier.

I got a combination membership/keelboat class at a local sailing club in Boston, learning how to dodge the freighters coming in and out of the harbor, navigation, mooring, anchoring, etc; all the stuff that has less to do with the act of sailing, but necessary for sailing out in the real world. From time to time, I'd go back to "Sailing for Dummies" to brush up on items I hadn't needed prior to that point. I ended up taking additional classes and got a number of certifications.

These days, I'm back to lake sailing. My buddy ended up giving that Hunter 170 to my (then new) wife and I as a wedding present. I've been teaching her and my kids how to sail on the smaller lakes in southern NH. I fabricated a transom for the boat in order to sail it on Lake Massebesic, which is much closer to home than Beaver Lake or Onway. Most weekends during the summer, you can find me out on the lake, goofing around, teaching family and friends to sail, or unofficially racing with the MYC fleet.

[...]
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on December 8, 2009
I bought this for my non-sailing wife after I unsuccessfully tried to explain the effects of wind on the sails. She found it to be vastly better than my explanations. She also told me some things I didn't know, that she learned from the book.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on February 6, 2007
Anyone who has read a Dummies book has a good idea of what to expect. This book is not much different. All the basics are there, from setting the sails to dropping the hook safely. The Islers do a nice job of trading off personal experiences. These make the book a little more interesting and gives the reader a chance to get in touch with the writers.

The instructions for sailing seem fairly complete yet the writting style is such that the reader does not fall asleep. The book moves along and does not drag. Much information is included on where to go or where to look for more specialized information.

I would have rated this book 5 instead of 4 except for just one reason. The copywrite is 1997. For the most part this is not a problem; sailing is sailing. Ocassionally though a reference is made to a race or other upcoming event that is already history.

Good read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on March 23, 2012
Purchased this as a novice in sailing thinking this would introduce me to sailing and also be a referral source. Mistake in not purchasing hard copy but Kindle version. Not a bad book as an introduction and would be a good resource but not easy to access specific pages on Kindle
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on September 17, 2008
Good simple book for new sailors or helpers (3rd mates)
Got it for a friend to help me, but not to take over command.
I have even been corrected for using the word Rope instead of Line
If you learn everything in this book, you will be a very knowledgeable sailor
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 13, 2011
I regularly purchase books by the Dummies Series on new topics when I need to have someone "dumb it down" for me. This book is no exception to meeting that gap in the information available on line or other sources for the newbie sailor. If you are a newbie, (like me) I HIGHLY recommend that you read this book and get the who, what, where, when, how and why to decide if you want to go sailing or if your already sailing to fill in the gaps you feel silly asking someone in person. Covers a Lot of safety issues to consider and a lot of plain old fashioned common sense issues.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 4, 2009
I was told this serie "..... for dummies" was very good indeed.
So I bought the book. Well,it really is outstanding. So clear that everything seems easy and fun!
I have (some) experience sailing, and found this very useful every page and tip.
If you want to sail, or if you just started, even if you consider yourself a sailor, you'll find something interesting and useful.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 8, 2009
My wife and I have sailed all our lives, have taught sailing, own our own 27' sailboat, and are very involved in our local club's sailing program. We have given three copies of this book over the last few years to novice sailors ranging in ages from 13 to 41. Everyone has loved it, and have lent their copies to friends and family members. It is very clearly and humorously written, and it covers the basics of sailing very well. There are other books available for greater detail regarding seamanship, cruising, racing, and sail trim, but this book is best for the novice who is about to embark on his or her first voyages aboard a sailboat.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I've used the "Sailing for Dummies" 2nd edition as a text in my University Continuing Education class, because I can find no better for the purpose. For those adult students who might be shy about taking such a book home for their children or others to harrass them about, I provide a nice fake cover that reads something like "Advanced Nautical Navigation Techniques for Exceptionally Bright Mariners."
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
As I have discovered over the years, the "Dummies Series" has not failed to let me down. You don't want to put this on your bookshelf because the spine glows yellow and screams the word "Sailing for DUMMIES" at all those who admire your library, but you do want this book with you when you get on your sailboat. Great Value for both the experienced and novice.
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