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My Cruising Library

Patrick Harrington
The list author says: "This list represents the books I have found useful to have aboard. The few that I would consider essential are marked as such. This list represents most of the books I currently have aboard in my "reference library." The difference between this list and another list of sailing books I have at Amazon, is that the other list contains books I read and found useful before I started cruising, while this list contains the books I still have aboard and still find useful. Obviously, if a book appears in both lists, it is one I would highly recommend."
The Voyager's Handbook: The Essential Guide to Blue Water Cruising
The Voyager's Handbook: The Essential Guide to Blue Water Cruising
"Essential.  An excellent general cruising handbook.  I can't decide whether I prefer this book or Nigel Calder's, so I have both aboard.  This book is especially useful to the person who is still in the planning stages of going cruising."
Nigel Calder's Cruising Handbook: A Compendium for Coastal and Offshore Sailors
Nigel Calder's Cruising Handbook: A Compendium for Coastal and Offshore Sailors
"Essential.  An excellent general cruising handbook.  I have both this book and Beth Leonard's "Voyager's Handbook" aboard.  If you have space, get both, otherwise, either one is incredibly useful both in the planning stages, and to have aboard for reference while cruising."
Boatowner's Mechanical and Electrical Manual: How to Maintain, Repair, and Improve Your Boat's Essential Systems
Boatowner's Mechanical and Electrical Manual: How to Maintain, Repair, and Improve Your Boat's Essential Systems
"Essential.  This is the best single electrical and mechanical reference book I've seen.  Very thorough, very well-written."
The Marlinspike Sailor
The Marlinspike Sailor
"If you enjoy tying knots and doing fancy knot-work, this is an excellent book.  The illustrations are very good and the writing is very good.  This book seems to be a large-format, slightly condensed version of "The Arts of the Sailor" also by Hervey Garrett Smith.  I have both, but if I had to choose, I'd go with this one."
The Arts of the Sailor: Knotting, Splicing and Ropework (Dover Maritime)
The Arts of the Sailor: Knotting, Splicing and Ropework (Dover Maritime)
"If you enjoy tying knots and doing fancy knot-work, this is an excellent book.  The illustrations are very good and the writing is very good.  This book seems to be a small-format, slightly expanded version of "The Marlinspike Sailor" also by Hervey Garrett Smith.  I have both, but if I had to choose, I'd go with "The Marlinspike Sailor.""
The Complete Canvasworker's Guide: How to Outfit Your Boat With Cloth
The Complete Canvasworker's Guide: How to Outfit Your Boat With Cloth
"Not bad, but not great.  If you are new to sewing in general, and canvaswork in particular, this would be a good intro.  A much better book on canvaswork is "Canvas for Cruisers, The Complete Guide" by Julie Gifford.  Unfortunately, it is newly published and not available on Amazon, so I can't review it in this list."
The American Practical Navigator: Bowditch
The American Practical Navigator: Bowditch
"Essential.  I should stipulate that it is only really essential if you are a navigation geek, which I am.  This is the definitive book on navigation.  It is public domain, so it can be downloaded in PDF format for free, but he hard copy is good to have aboard."
The Complete Rigger's Apprentice: Tools and Techniques for Modern and Traditional Rigging
The Complete Rigger's Apprentice: Tools and Techniques for Modern and Traditional Rigging
"Essential.  This book contains most everything you need to know about sailboat rigging, both running and standing, as well as general info on lines, knots, etc.  This is one of the most-used books in my library."
Weather for the Mariner
Weather for the Mariner
"Essential.  A good, very thorough introduction to weather and meteorology written specifically for mariners."
International Marine's Weather Predicting Simplified: How to Read Weather Charts and Satellite Images
International Marine's Weather Predicting Simplified: How to Read Weather Charts and Satellite Images
"A very good intro to weather and meteorology written specifically for mariners.  Not quite as in-depth as "Weather for the Mariner" by William Kotsch."
Heavy Weather Sailing, 30th Anniversary Edition
Heavy Weather Sailing, 30th Anniversary Edition
"Essential.  This book is a classic on heavy weather sailing, written over 30 years ago and revised and kept current by Peter Bruce.  Excellent discussion of yacht design factors with respect to heavy weather, as well as various equipment and techniques for dealing with heavy weather."
The Sextant Handbook
The Sextant Handbook
"This is an excellent book on the history, design, selection, care, and use of the sextant for celestial navigation.  If you are a navigation geek, consider it essential."
Sailboat Electrics Simplified
Sailboat Electrics Simplified
"This book is good for a brief introduction, but a much better choice would be Nigel Calder's electrical and mechanical book."
Radar for Mariners
Radar for Mariners
"The operating manual that came with your radar is sufficient for most people's needs, but this book is both interesting and has a wealth of information that goes way beyond what the operating manual is going to tell you.  Essential for us geeks, but maybe not for everybody else."
World Cruising Routes: Sixth Edition (Hardcover)
World Cruising Routes: Sixth Edition (Hardcover)
"This hefty volume is essential if you are planning on doing much ocean-crossing.  If you are just staying coastal, or popping down to the Caribbean and Bahamas, you won't need it, although it is still interesting."
Offshore Sailing: 200 Essential Passagemaking Tips
Offshore Sailing: 200 Essential Passagemaking Tips
"Essential.  This slim, unpretentious book has some of the best suggestions for preparing your boat for sea I've seen anywhere.  Humorously written and succinct, this is one of the most referred-to books I have."
Storm Tactics Handbook: Modern Methods of Heaving-to for Survival in Extreme Conditions, 3rd Edition
Storm Tactics Handbook: Modern Methods of Heaving-to for Survival in Extreme Conditions, 3rd Edition
"This book is another classic on heavy-weather sailing, written by a couple who have been cruising around since the 1960's.  A very good book to have and read, but if you have to make a choice, I'd go with "Adlard Cole's Heavy Weather Sailing" by Peter Bruce."
The Practical Mariner's Book of Knowledge: 420 Sea-Tested Rules of Thumb for Almost Every Boating Situation
The Practical Mariner's Book of Knowledge: 420 Sea-Tested Rules of Thumb for Almost Every Boating Situation
"Essential.  I list this book as essential because it is small, inexpensive, and full of always fascinating and often useful information.  It is arranged like a dictionary, alphabetically by topic."
Navigation Rules: International - Inland
Navigation Rules: International - Inland
"Essential.  This book is essential because if you operate a boat 12 meters (39 feet) or more in length, you are required to have a copy aboard.  Actually, most people opt for some form of a "quick reference" card, but I like to have the source material."
Emergency Navigation: Improvised and No-Instrument Methods for the Prudent Mariner, 2nd Edition
Emergency Navigation: Improvised and No-Instrument Methods for the Prudent Mariner, 2nd Edition
"Essential.  At least, I consider it essential.  I know, however, that most people are content to simply switch on the GPS.  Decide for yourself, but if lightning hits close enough to fry my electronics, I still want to be able to find my way home."
Your Offshore Doctor: A Manual for Medical Self-Sufficiency at Sea
Your Offshore Doctor: A Manual for Medical Self-Sufficiency at Sea
"Essential.  You need a good reference on basic and more advanced first aid if you plan to sail out of sight of land."
National Audubon Society Field Guide to Tropical Marine Fishes: Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, Florida, Bahamas,  Bermuda
National Audubon Society Field Guide to Tropical Marine Fishes: Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, Florida, Bahamas, Bermuda
"If you're going to live on a boat, you might as well get in the water and meet your aquatic neighbors."