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Accidental Sailor, The

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17806
Heikell, Rod
Paperback
978-0-9575849-0-7
Taniwha Press UK
2013
200
J46
In Stock
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Review Date: 
16/05/2013

I looked forward to reading this, the latest offering by the renowned sailing author and it did not disappoint. Rod Heikell, known as “Rod the God”, will be familiar to anyone who has sailed in Mediterranean waters for his very comprehensive and well researched Pilot books.

I thoroughly enjoyed this easy to read book recounting two passages that he took in the 70s and 80s with a companion. The first one was in an old 20 foot boat Roulette, which was sailed from the UK to Greece. One wonders how they managed with no electrics or battery and with a Tilley lamp for light and heat. A lead line was used to measure depth and there were no navigation lights or modern navaids. The second passage was on an equally old but smaller 18 foot Mirror Offshore boat Rozinante, which they managed to navigate along the length of the Danube to Turkey; this boat was also minimally equipped.

Both trips are described in a way that takes the reader there and the many amusing anecdotes are a delight. It is interesting to read about the mistakes he made and the problems he encountered. The one that I remember best is when he first left the UK and went the wrong way in the Channel despite taking regular compass readings. This showed the perils of installing a steel tiller bracket too close to the compass and not realising it voided the deviation card which had been completed prior to the bracket being installed. Rod also describes the seasickness he suffered when he started sailing, which gives me hope!

The help he got from locals in most places he visited on these passages was truly amazing even down to making a new stern tube for free in Czechoslovakia. His experiences in Romania were an eye opener to him as to how the people existed under Ceausescu when they had so little. There are a few black and white photographs but these are in keeping with the era.

His description of being an ‘accidental sailor’ sprung from a visit to the River Danube which fuelled a lifelong passion for that river and after these two passages, for sailing in general.

This is a recommended light read for anyone with an interest in sailing.

 

Sue Long

Taniwha Press UK; £9.50; 2013

Yachtmaster for Sail and Power

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17807
Noice, Alison
Book
978-1-4081-7811-9
Adlard Coles Nautical
2012
241
3rd
D1
In Stock
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Review Date: 
16/05/2013

Alison Noice was for a long time at the heart of the RYA training programme, organising the syllabi and compiling exam papers.  This being so it is not surprising that this book, well established and now into this it’s third edition, exactly captures the substance and spirit of the Yachtmaster teaching programme.  It's all here in the RYA style: traditional and electronic navigation, weather, revision of the colregs, safety and all the other elements that go to make up the course.  There are self test questions at the end of each chapter to make sure that the reader keeps up to speed.

When evaluating training material I, as a long time RYA instructor, go to the weather section.  This, in particular the science behind how weather works, is generally agreed by trainers to be the hardest part of the course to deliver and in my experience it is the part least well dealt with by published texts.  Here I think it leans towards the better end of the genre.  It's pretty well all there though I would like to see more on exactly what, for example, is the relation between stability and cloud type and why the tropopause forms.  In another chapter, Passage Planning, I'd like to know why lee bowing works rather than just that it does The associated diagram on this subject in fact misleads one because the essence of the matter i.e. the difference between true and apparent wind in a cross tide, is not explained.  Perhaps a bit more is needed on the subject of why

These however are relatively minor matters and overall the book can be recommended to the student as providing comprehensive, detailed and accurate coverage of the Yachtmaster syllabus.                

Mike Ferro

Adlard Coles Nautical, 3rd ed; £25.00; 2012

Learn To Sail

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17805
Hore, Tim
Paperback
978-1-119-95276-3
Wiley Nautical
2012
252
J1
In Stock
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Review Date: 
16/05/2013

This is a basic book for beginners to sailing, written by an acknowledged expert. Although the title does not include the word ‘dinghy’, it lives up to its sub-title of    ‘The Simplest Way to Start Sailing’. The text is concise and a distinctive element of this publication is the numerous colour photographs on just about every page. The book is supported by the publisher’s website containing a range of good quality video clips with clear commentary which are referred to in the course of the narrative.

Key teaching features include Top Tips, which are offered sporadically throughout the pages on virtual post-its. These include such advice as ”practice reefing ashore until you are completely familiar with the steps involved” and “ensure you take a land mark on the part of the beach that you leave from”. This latter point might strike a chord with those of us who have hired a dinghy on a Greek Island and glanced at the shore in horror when nearly a mile out. 

This is a comprehensive book which takes a conventional approach to learning how to sail a dinghy, starting off with boat basics, elementary knots, safety and rules of the road. Later chapters illustrate points of sailing, launching, capsize and recovery of a dinghy, and a section on using an asymmetric spinnaker.

There is a useful glossary at the end of the book, although it does not have an index, which would enable the newcomer to easily look up specific aspects of dinghy sailing. Despite this, the book will be a useful reference guide for beginners and improvers alike; one’s children and grandchildren spring to mind.

 

David Long

Wiley Nautical; £12.99; 2012