With its heavyweight feel, high quality production and beautiful photography this large format book evokes an immediate connection with the classic vessels which are its main subject. Beautifully produced and packed with clear, well composed and informative photographs it reflects the author’s background in boat building and as a former editor of Classic Boat magazine.
The author steers more towards art than science and his book would certainly find a place in the collection of anyone who values lovely photographs of beautiful objects, not just yachts. It would be useful for someone new to yachting who wanted an enjoyable and wide-ranging introduction to sailing boats and their constituent parts; or someone interested in an overview of yacht design development. It is divided into sections each describing a type of a yacht or one of its features going as far as life-saving equipment, cleats, lights and tenders - all well photographed and described.
With the title ‘The Anatomy of Sail’ I expected the book to be a detailed technical work; full of figures, tables and diagrams which would explain how a sailing yacht is put together and how it works but this book does not do that. The text is written in a conversational and subjective style. The author makes some comments which clearly reflect his own views but which others might question. This could form the basis of an interesting debate in the clubhouse but I would have liked to have seen more evidence or references to back-up some of his statements.
This is the first edition and given its quality and purpose I hope there will be more. Like most of the yachts it portrays, later editions will benefit from lessons gained from their predecessors.