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Book Notes

Meanwhile the Allies had landed in Normandy, the Russians were approaching the German border and German Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg had tried to assassinate Adolf Hitler. All that seemed far away — for a few days.”

— A Perfect Lady

From war prize to nautical icon

Through text and more than 280 images, pulled mostly from private collections, the 70-plus-year history of the U.S. Coast Guard Barque Eagle is told in Tido Holtkamp’s “A Perfect Lady” ($19.95, Flat Hammock Press, 2008).

The ship was originally built in 1936 at the GermanNavySchool to train future soldiers for the German Navy, but was awarded to the U.S. after World War II as a war prize. In 1946 her name changed from Horst Wessel (named after a martyr in the Nazi Party) to Eagle, and she made the voyage from Bremerhaven, Germany, to her new home in New London, Conn. She got her nickname — the title of the book — during this trip, from Coast Guard Capt. Gordon McGowan, who said that the ship handled extremely well and reacted to all commands like “a perfect lady.”

Since becoming an American sail training vessel for the CoastGuardAcademy, the Eagle has led parades, conducted search-and-rescue missions, and undergone major renovations to keep her in shape.

Tido Holtkamp served aboard the Horst Wessel in 1944 as a German naval cadet, and after 1944 he emigrated to the U.S. and settled in Connecticut.

Contact: Flat Hammock Press,

The trawler rally across an ocean

Doug Seaver was a retiree, and the chance to participate in a trans-Atlantic rally appealed to his life-long interest and experience in boating. His account of that adventure is laid out in his book, “Four Across the Atlantic” ($21.95, Nautical Publishing Company, 2007).In 2004, 18 captains and crew set sail from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for Gibraltar in the Nordhavn Atlantic Rally, organized by the trawler manufacturer.

His book is composed of Seaver’s personal diary entries and e-mails, beginning with recruiting the original crew, to working to qualify for the rally and ending with the six-week voyage crossing the Atlantic Ocean. His narratives detail not only the monotony of spending entire days aboard a small vessel, but also the dangers encountered at sea; for example, being rammed by a large fishing vessel, but luckily sustaining no lasting damage: “The fishing boat hit us right on the metal gun rail and slightly scraped our hull.”

Doug Seaver retired at 55, and when not cruising, lives with his wife in Essex, Conn.

Contact: Nautical Publishing Company,

Boating basics for the young

A sequel to their earlier publication, “Boating Fun,” Mike and Dee Pignéguy’s “Boating for All” ($23, Reed Publishing NZ, 2007) targets 12- to 16-year-olds with two goals: to make boating understandable and do-able for young people, and to introduce ideas and activities in which the entire family can participate. The diagrams are colorful and explicit, and serve to further explain topics like How to Stop Your Boat; Calculating Your Speed Without Any Electronic Equipment; and Food on Board, which includes recipes.

The book also includes fun and practical exercises to not only increase skill levels, but increase “together time” as well.

Mike is a professional skipper and works with delivery voyages, crew training and hazard identification at sea. His wife Dee, in addition to her extensive boating knowledge, is an expert in coastal flora and fauna.

Contact: Mike and Dee Pignéguy,

Cruising stories and nautical adventures

Jimmy Cornell’s personal memoir, “A Passion for the Sea: Reflections on three circumnavigations” ($60, Noonsite, 2007), aims to appeal to both weekend sailors and ocean navigators as they plan their own nautical adventures in offshore cruising. It mixes the practical with the personal, detailing both technical matters like engines, weather and autopilots, as well as Cornell’s third circumnavigation (2001-2006) and his voyage to Antarctica, followed by a trans-Pacific passage from Antarctica to Alaska. The hard-cover book features 300 color photographs from Cornell’s personal collection.

The author of 27 books, Cornell ran the World Cruising Club for 15 years, and in 2000 launched www.noon, a Web site used by cruising sailors in search of unbiased reference and info.

Contact: Noonsite,

A pair of boating operation manuals

Promising info for cruisers and bass boaters looking for help to meet ABYC safety standards or to learn more about boating operation and maintenance, Ken Cook Co. presents the “Cruiser Operator’s Manual” ($14.95, Ken Cook Co., 2007) and the “Bass Boat Operator’s Manual” ($5.95, Ken Cook Co., 2007). Each illustrated booklet measures 5.5-by-8.5 inches and covers Boating Safety, Controls and Indicators, Care and Maintenance, Troubleshooting, Storage, and Trailering, among other topics.

Ken Cook Co. is a single-source provider of product documentation, training programs and custom solutions for marine manufacturers and business around the world.

Contact: Ken Cook Co.,