Wednesday, January 20, 2010

"Heavy Weather Sailing"

I lately bought this great book by C. Adlard Coles, the British sailor who went on to found a nautical publishing house, still a fine source of nautical titles. Coles wrote Heavy Weather Sailing in 1967 and it is in its 6th edition, now with material from other authors and editing by Peter Bruce. I paid $12.00 for a 1969 first U.S. printing, not rare, just a bit less than the book's $12.50 price in 1969.

Cole's picture is below. They don't make them like that anymore.

Many books about heavy weather sailing are fun to read but reveal a dearth of experience on the author's part and bear little relevance to the way we really sail. Not so Heavy Weather Sailing. Distinguishing the book is that each chapter is about a cruise or race in which Coles got into heavy weather, concluding with the lessons learned. Chapter titles include "North Sea Gale", "Pooped for the First Time", "Three More Gales", "Bermuda Race Gale" and so on. And by "heavy weather" Coles generally means the 25 to 50 knot blows that a yachtsman may actually encounter, not the survival storms which we will probably never run into. Each chapter ends with conclusions, and the book is full of useful information about actually handling and sailing a boat in strong winds. There is material on survival storms as well, but none of it first hand.



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