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Book Notes January 2007

Trouble-free boating the DIY way

Filled with pictures, diagrams and step-by-step instructions, Jean-Luc Pallas’ two maintenance and repair manuals, “Marine Diesel Engines” and “Outboard Motors” (Sheridan House Inc., 2006, $29.95 each), aim to help readers experience trouble-free boating.

“Marine Diesel Engines” is divided into four parts: engine theory, worksheets and checklists for efficiently maintaining your engine, common causes of breakdowns and how to prepare your engine for winter. The maintenance topics are further broken down as simple, technical or complex, depending on skill and experience level needed.

The color photographs accompanying each step are particularly useful for the complex tasks, as are the important tips inserted in the instructions: “If the engine doesn’t start right away [after you’ve replaced the head gasket], the high pressure lines have to be bled by unscrewing the lines at the injector one quarter of a turn.”

“Outboard Motors” is divided into the same four parts with valuable visual aids. For example, the book provides five photos and descriptions for reference when checking the spark plugs: normal (the insulator is light brown in color); worn-out electrodes; dry (black deposits indicating a too-rich fuel mix); oily deposits; and burnt electrodes (an overheated spark plug).

Pallas — who has raced open ocean Formula 28s, worked with the engines of Open 60s, and repaired the engines of a wide variety of everyday cruising boats — is a professor of Recreational Marine Mechanics at La Rochelle Technical College in France.

Contact:Sheridan House, (914) 693-2410.

Updated cruising guide to the Keys

From the Managing the Waterway series comes a new and bulked-up version for the “Biscayne Bay, FL to Dry Tortugas, FL” edition by Mark and Diana Doyle (Semi-local Publications, 2006, $24.95). Based on reader feedback from the first edition, this version has a new Land & Sea Navigation section, featuring more than 90 pages of annotated NOAA charts along with annotated county land maps. Instead of text-based instructions the authors use visual aids to point readers to Key destinations, just one of the book’s “varsity-level” navigation enhancements.

Packed with useful information, the guide provides details on more than 300 marine facilities, moorings and anchorages, 520 GPS waypoints, NOAA weather towers and enough charts and maps to satisfy even the most adventurous sailors. The guide strives to entertain the reader with historical facts, local oddities (why you should avoid poisonwood, for example) and which native animals are to be trusted (the “good-luck” Anoles) and avoided (rays can and will sting).

Contact:Semi-local Publications, (612) 729-4411.

New for 2007

“Nauti-Benders, The Boater’s Calendar 2007”

$13.95, Penchant Publishing,

Boating trivia accompany full-color illustrations in this day-by-day desk calendar. Example: A barometric pressure fall of ___ inches or more per hour indicates bad weather for the sailor. (Answer: 0.05 inches)

“Atlantic Cruising Club’s Guide to Chesapeake Bay Marinas (7th Ed)”

$32.95, Jerawyn Publishing Inc.,

This comprehensive guide features 253 marinas reviewed and rated, with practical information such as medical services, transportation and entertainment for each marina. A CD-ROM (Windows-only) is included.

“The Mariner’s Book of Days 2007”

$13.95, Sheridan House Inc.,

Record your important appointments in this day planner, which also features illustrations, facts, quotes and anecdotes about sea fact and folklore. “Sailors, with their built-in sense of order, service, and discipline, should really be running the world.” — Nicholas Monsarrat

“Power ’07 (Calendar, 12th Ed)”

$12.99, Penchant Publishing,

A year’s worth of powerboats, including cruisers, trawlers and runabouts, is displayed in full-page glossy photos for each month; dates are printed over maps of sailing spots such as Cape Canaveral, Fla., and Cape Lookout, N.C.