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The Compleat Cruiser: The Art, Practice, and Enjoyment of Boating Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 382 pages
  • Publisher: Sheridan House; Reprint, First paperback edition edition (January 25, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0911378677
  • ISBN-13: 978-0911378672
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #237,564 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

...a delightful 370 page monologue about shoal versus deep draft, accommodation plans, the proper fish chowder, rowing techniques and the blessings of a head equipped with a cedar bucket, among other subjects. (Yachting World)

From the Back Cover

"Inspired by Izaak Walton's The Compleat Angler, this book is accurately subtitled The Art, Practice and Enjoyment of Boating. L.F. Herreshoff presents his own highly individual prescription for happy voyaging under sail and power, as exemplified in an imaginative narrative he tells about the adventures of the crews of the catboat Piscator, the ketch Viator, and the engineless whaleboat-style ketch Rozinante. If there is one Herreshoff keynote, it is that simplicity afloat is the surest guarantee of happiness." --Dolphin Book Club

"This charming classic is the only book around on enjoying the minutiae of cruising of the sort that most people do--gadding about one's local bays and islands, ideally with a couple of boats separating for adventures and rejoining at anchorages, indulging in anything-goes races, just messing around. It can be a high art, proves this aristocratic tale." --Next Whole Earth Catalog

"...a delightful 370 page monologue about shoal versus deep draft, accommodation plans, the proper fish chowder, rowing techniques and the blessings of a head equipped with a cedar bucket, among other subjects." --John Rousmaniere, Yachting


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Customer Reviews

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My children enjoy about 10 pages per night when they are tucked in their bunks.
Harbormaster
There is a good deal of information in this book, but very little of it is presented in a useful or engaging manner.
Jeffrey A. Mirus
The attitudes towards women are, uh, well intentioned but of another century, let's say.
K. ONeill

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Sailing Triathlete on November 20, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The primary purpose of the book is cruising advice and L. Francis Herreshoff shares some inginuity while covering topics such as cooking, exercise, ground tackle, paint, wood treatment, workshops, tenders, piloting...

Also like many great cruising yacht designers, Herreshoff is full of opinions. Here are a few examples:

On Exercise: "...the young American is too lazy to paddle...if they had taken a moderate ourdoor exercise like paddling, their nerves would be much more at rest and they would enjoy life more, and live longer."

On Power Boats: "We don't hate all power boats, only those modern freaks that look like the result of a collision between an automobile and a dining car...The motor boat designers have to design craft down to the taste of foolish and uncouth individuals...It's a shame that they are not compelled to anchor away from the yacht club for they spoil the looks of the waterfront."

Class: "...vacationing women whose desire to look risque had taken the place of wholesome feminie beauty."

I learned much from this entertaining book and will read it again.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By chrisseattle on April 6, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book is written as a story, but the plot elements really only exist in order to string together pieces of information in a fashion which is entertaining to read. Topics covered include how to make a proper chowder, how to launch a boat off the beach, binoculars vs. telescopes, a good bit of boating history, anchoring, and many, many others. Herreschoff is quite opinionated, and this book is definitely an antique, but it is good reading and much of what he writes still applies today.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Harbormaster on May 1, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A friend likened the author, Lewis Francis Herreshoff (LFH), to Thoreau when he handed me a copy of LFH's "Sensible Cruising Designs". LFH's "The Compleat Cruiser" is like Thoreau's Walden even though it is patterned after the Complete Angler. From the first page you will be immersed in an enchanting summer of good cruises while answering what makes it good and by impute a good life. The Compleat Cruiser is a Socratic story--teaching while it entertains. It raises questions and answers them. It shows how to keep the bright work bright during the season--without using precious vacation time to apply an extra coat. How to teach children to right a dinghy and bail it out, how to retrieve the man overboard and how to climb back aboard from the water. The story places you in situations that are leisurely resolved with good old-fashioned common sense which seems rather lacking these days. It takes you back to a time when men know what to do, and they did it.

More importantly, it subtly asks you to reevaluate why you go cruising as part of what makes your life good.

The story takes place over the course of one summer with a couple of weekend cruises in June and a week long cruise in August along Cape Cod, Newport and Block Island in the 50's. A little racing, a little eating, and erudite gentlemen discussing the finer points of yachting with each other and four or five well behaved children. The wives are pleasant partners, never shrill, and enjoyably present. How it was and how it should be. The protagonist Goddard is a 50 something lawyer with a 14 year old daughter Primrose, her friend Vanessa, and wife named Mrs. Goddard. Never an uncivil word is issued. Safe for the whole family. My children enjoy about 10 pages per night when they are tucked in their bunks.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Andy Gump on December 21, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
L.F. Herreshoff was part of a family who are one of the anchors of New England sailing. He was opinionated to say the least. This does not mean that his thoughts had no value. This work, although dated, provides some lessons for sailors and a look at the Ozzie and Harriet days of American culture.

Modeled on Walton's, The Complete Angler, Herreshoff presents his philosophy and practical suggestions within a narrative of a group of boats sailing in the Cape Cod area. The people are functional families of wise parents and polite children including teenage girls who ask appropriate questions, learn their lessons, and when ashore are only interested in shopping and historic sights.

These are well-to-do people, upper middle class, presenting a time just before the 1960's of values that they thought would never change.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By K. ONeill on October 14, 2010
Format: Paperback
This is a great book. Sort of a series of fables, the characters are never more fleshed out that Aesop's Tortoise and Hare, but they get the job done. How many years is it now since this was written? And still, powerboaters are the same menace they were when L Francis first wrote his mini-screeds against them, trendy boats are still being sold to people who don't know what they're doing, clever bad anchors still abound, rigs intended to cheat a rule are found on little cruising boats, making them hard to handle and slow and expensive. Madness.

Some of the boat design stuff is dated. Rozinante is a very pretty and useful cruiser for a keelboat, but modern sensibilities tend more to very shallow draft and the legacy of Munroe and the sharpies, or to multihulls. The attitudes towards women are, uh, well intentioned but of another century, let's say. But the good sense that pervades the whole thing is just wonderful, like a breath of fresh air.

If you like boats you'll like this book. I re-read it every couple of years.
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