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Book Notes

"With my hands on the wheel and my feet planted firmly on deck, I waited as the immense sails were hoisted. The anticipation of the upcoming sail made the moment special. We live for these days.”

— Classic Yachts

Capturing the majesty of classic yachts

Powerboaters and sailors can agree that one of the most beautiful sights on the sea is sails against a clear blue sky, allowing the bow to cut effortlessly though the rolling waves.

The new photo book “Classic Yachts” ($75, Abbeville Press, 2008), which hits bookshelves in October, compiles more than 280 full-color photos of 14 beautifully restored classic yachts, including Cambria, Shamrock and Bona Fide, taken by renowned photojournalist Gilles Martin Raget. Francois Chevalier provides additional architectural renderings and information on the history of each vessel, filling out this cloth-bound oblong hardcover keepsake. Many of Raget’s stunning photographs are printed across two pages, capturing the majesty and beauty of each vessel.

Yachtsman and ESPN sailing analyst Gary Jobson provides the introduction to the book, and, starting in September, will contribute a regular blog and sailing videos to, the publisher’s Web site. For information, call (212) 366-5585.

Sailing a cutter while falling in love

Ramona S. Stone’s book “A Year in the Sun” ($18.95, Bookstand Publishing, 2008) is the tender story of how two people looking for companionship on a trip through the Intercoastal Waterway and down to the Bahamas in 1986 fell in love. In an effort to recover from the sudden loss of her adult son, she met Dick Stone and spent a year with him aboard a Voyager 26 traversing the ICW and then into the ocean. Through various emotional upheavals and frustrations together, they ultimately found what they needed in each other. Upon return to land, they married and have been together ever since. This is their love story.

Stone, 75, has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of North Carolina-Charlotte with a minor in English and a concentration in writing. The couple lives in the mountains of North Carolina and own Drifter, a British-built motorsailer they bought in 1995.

Find your way home when equipment fails

With all the technological advances in boat navigation, it’s easy to rely on a GPS to find your way back to port. But what if you lose power or the equipment malfunctions?

In its second edition, “Emergency Navigation” ($19.95, McGraw Hill, 2008) by David Burch helps any mariner find their way in the toughest of places. Giving a fresh face to the 1986 edition distributed by International Marine, Burch gives readers an overview of what emergency navigation is, preparation for such emergencies, and how to steer by stars, wind, swells and sun, to name a few. It reviews what to do when the weather is overcast, how to make a magnetic compass, and coastal piloting without instruments. This book is invaluable to any boater who wants to stay safe and get home — no matter what the weather may bring.

Burch is the founder and president of the Starpath School of Navigation ( ) based in Seattle. He is the author of nine books on navigation, including “Radar for Mariners” and “The Fundamentals of Kayak Navigation.” Burch has more than 70,000 miles of ocean sailing experience, sailing across the Pacific 12 times and three times navigating winning yachts in the Victoria-Maui Yacht Race. His articles frequently appear in various marine publications.

The voice of experience from a master angler

Whether one is a seasoned fisherman or a newbie to the hook and line, Capt. Mark Wisch’s book “Lessons from a Lifetime on the Water: Eight Essential Rules to Live By” ($23.95, Pacific Edge Press, 2007) provides invaluable knowledge for bringing home a prize-worthy fish.

Mixing stories of his own life growing up saltwater fishing with practical tips, Wisch’s book gives readers an easy and enjoyable read. He explains how timing, patience, positioning and determination are some of the key ingredients to landing the best catch. He also devotes a chapter to the details, such as knowing how to put a reel on the rod correctly, and having baits and lures arranged properly for whatever fish one plans to chase.

Wisch owns and operates Pacific Edge Tackles in Huntington Beach, Calif., where he manufactures a line of live bait tanks. He writes regular columns for Western Outdoors and calls in a weekly fish report to a local radio show called “Let’s Talk Hookup.” Wisch lives with his wife, Chris, and their dog, Emma, with whom he regularly goes fishing on Pacific Edge, his 35-foot Parker powerboat.

A fictional tale grounded in real life

Vanished crew, creepy cargo and a haunted ship. Who could ask for more in a nautical thriller?

Wright Gres describes his tale, “Macedona Passage: Dangerous Cargo” ($24.95, Riverhouse Books, 2007) as “a modern day sailing adventure with a touch of Balkan politics and a hint of romance.”

The story revolves around Capt. Frank Brown, who takes control of a supposedly cursed schooner, Belle Tata, whose original captain and cook vanished without a trace. As the schooner makes its way from the Caribbean to the island of St. Maarten, a daring Turkish intelligence agent, Nevser Akayya Chase, joins Brown in an adventure that leads them into unknown territory and has them questioning who to trust — and wondering how to stay alive.

Gres bases much of the book on his own experiences sailing for six months as a deckhand aboard the Marie Pierre, a 108-foot German-built wooden schooner, in 1983, visiting such far-flung locations as Alicante, Spain; Corfu, Greece; and Istanbul, Turkey. He grew up boating in Tampa, Fla., and has sailed one-designs from Windmills to Hobie Cats and has spent several years delivering yachts along the East Coast and in the Caribbean. He now lives in southeast Georgia on the AltamahaRiver and splits his time between writing and captaining a tugboat based out of Savannah.