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Book notes

New edition of

the ‘cruising bible’

For many cruisers “Sell up & Sail” by Bill and Laurel Cooper has been the cruising bible since it was first published in 1986. Now Sheridan House is releasing the fifth edition of this classic (March 2006, $34.95).

In “Sell up & Sail” the Coopers write about their decision to quit the “rat race” and live their lives at sea. In addition to telling their own tale, the couple dispenses practical advice about the cruising lifestyle.

They cover topics like choosing a boat, provisioning and maintaining successful crew relationships. The authors also include a “test” they designed to help readers decide if this lifestyle is right for them.

Updates to the new edition cover changes in navigation, electronics, communications and government regulations, according to the publisher.

Contact: Sheridan House,


Trying to fathom a wreck and a massacre

Nearly 300 people were aboard the ship Batavia when it wrecked in 1629 off the west coast of Australia. Most of them escaped from the wreck of the Dutch East India Company ship, only to become the victims of a madman. “[The] visionary psychopath, who, with the help of a dozen followers, organized a methodical massacre of this hapless community,” according to the publishers of “The Wreck of the Batavia,” by Simon Leys (Thunder’s Mouth Press, January 2006, $20).

The incident, much talked about in its day, saw a revival 40 years ago when the wreck was discovered. Leys traveled to the site of the disaster, only to find an environment that could easily have supported the survivors.

The book also includes Leys’ essay “Prosper,” about a summer he spent crewing on a tuna boat.

Contact: Thunder’s Mouth Press, (212) 981-9919.


Expanded edition

has 150 more pictures

Tidewater Publishers has re-released “Chesapeake Sailing Craft: Recollections of Robert H. Burgess,” edited by William A. Fox (Tidewater Publishers, 2005, $34.95), originally published in 1975.

The book is a photographic record of Chesapeake Bay from 1925 to 1975, and the vessels that sailed on it.

“From log canoe to four-masted schooner, Robert H. Burgess’s photographs show the vessels in all phases of their activities on these waters, including loading and unloading cargoes, under sail and in port, in shipyards, details of rigging, fittings, and decks, interior views, as powerboats and abandoned hulks,” according to the publisher.

Burgess’s photographic record of the Bay chronicles the changes taking place in the region. For some of the vessels, his pictures are the only place they’re preserved.

This expanded edition of “Chesapeake Sailing Craft” includes the original photos, plus 150 new images selected for inclusion by Burgess before his death in March 2003.

Contact: Tidewater Publishers, (800) 638-7641.


A comprehensive

maritime reference book

Jeffrey W. Monroe and Robert Stewart’s “Dictionary of Maritime and Transportation Terms” (Cornell Maritime Press, 2005, $19.95) is a reference book meant for every mariner’s bookshelf. The 440-page book is as complete a maritime dictionary as has ever been available, according to the publisher.

Terms include:

• Fanning the willows — Boat running close to the bank.

• Lease custody transfer — The transfer of produced crude oil and/or condensate, after processing and/or treating in the producing operations, from storage tanks or automatic transfer facilities to pipelines or another form of transportation.

• Rain locker — Shower aboard a vessel.

Monroe is master mariner and director of the Department of Ports and Transportation for Portland, Maine. Stewart is chair of the business administration department at the CaliforniaMaritimeAcademy.

Contact: Cornell Maritime Press, (800) 638-7641.


Up the creek

with a sense of humor

Tony James’ journey begins in landlocked Derbyshire, England, and — by way of the Caribbean — ends at the bottom of a swimming pool. He chronicles this odd journey in the humorous “Up the Creek,” (Sheridan House, February 2006, $14.95).

“On the way, [James] gathers a motley crew of unforgettable eccentrics and maritime misfits, brought to hilarious life by his acute observations of the ridiculous and by his wry acceptance that whatever happens at sea, things can only get worse,” according to the publisher.

James is a freelance journalist and author of more than 20 books. He currently lives in Britain.

Contact: Sheridan House,