Skip to main content


Lessons from a


In the 1990s Gregory Newell Smith completed a 3-1/2-year circumnavigation, visiting more than 20 countries along the way. But the book about his voyage, “The Solitude of the Open Sea,” (Seaworthy Publications, 2005, $15.95) is a cruising story with a difference, according to the author.

“The book differs from typical sailing narratives in that it is not a chronological account of my journey, but rather utilizes episodes from my travels to illuminate the themes of my work,” he writes. “ ‘The Solitude of the Open Sea’ is intended [for] … reflective readers who value travel and the insights it provides in helping us understand our place in the world.”

The book is made up of 17 narrative essays, reflecting Smith’s experiences and philosophies developed on his journey, and years of sailing aboard Atlantean, his Fast Passage 39.

Smith has written for various nautical magazines, including Cruising World, and Latitudes and Attitudes.

Contact: Seaworthy Publications, (262) 268-9250.

Updated reference book

on ships and the sea

A new coffee-table book from Oxford University Press answers just about every question you might have about boating and the oceans, according to the publisher.

The second edition of “The Oxford Companion to Ships and the Sea,” edited by I.C.B. Dear and Peter Kemp (December 2005, $65).

This reference book was first published in 1976. Its 2,600 articles cover various aspects of boats and bluewater including shipbuilding, diving, yachting, piracy and mar-

itime literature, according to the publisher.

The updated version includes articles on oceanogra-

phy, marine archeology, environmental issues and marine wildlife. There are also pieces on underwater vehicles, tsunamis, warfare at sea, marine pollution, the Economic Exclusion Zone, and ship preservation.

The 720-page hardcover includes 260 illustrations.

Contact: Oxford University Press, (212) 726-6057.

Become your own

weather forecaster

Mike Harris again helps boaters turn symbols on a weather chart into information they can use on the water, in the second edition of “Understanding Weatherfax” (Sheridan House, September 2005, $19.95).

“Armed with ‘Understanding Weatherfax’ and a current Weatherfax chart

you have all of

the essentials for making your own forecast, no mat-ter where you are in the world,” according to the publisher.

The book explains the sources of weatherfax images, the kinds of charts, worldwide weather patterns, personal forecasting and how to interpret synoptic chart features.

In the second edition the author has added information on satellite images, and how to receive information from satellites; how to interpret early warning signs of storms from satellite images; and case studies on the “perfect storm” of 1991, and the 1998 Sydney-Hobart race.

Harris is an ocean sailor who owns a 45-foot steel cutter and produces navigational software for small boats. He is the author of “Communications at Sea,” also from Sheridan House.

Contact: Sheridan House,

Help in finding

your next boat

The 2006 edition of “PowerBoat Guide” (American Marine Publishing, 2005, $79.95) offers pictures, specifications, prices and reviews for more than 1,700 boat models. The boats range from 27-80 feet, and include motoryachts, trawlers, sportfishermen and express cruisers.

The guide, first published in 1988, is written by yacht brokers, and used as a reference by dealers, surveyors and lenders, as well as boat buyers.

Each listing offers factory photos, specifications (including hull type, transom deadrise and production year), and at least one floor plan diagram. There is also a short review for each boat, which covers the production history, model updates, the author’s comments and real-world performance information. The guide also lists prices calculated from market surveys and staff research, and high-low pricing by model year.

Contact: American Marine Publishing, (231) 933-0827.

Turn your crew

into first-responders

There’s not a lot of marine-specific information in “The Boat 911 Emergency Info-Book” (Vantage Point Books, 2005, $11.95), but the first-aid book does have it where it counts: easy-to-follow instructions on what to do in case of 12 serious injuries.

The 911 info-book series is designed to place first-responder information in the hand of the people on the scene before professional help arrives. The book has illustrated, step-by-step procedures in case of choking, unconsciousness, halted breathing, a stopped heart, heavy bleeding, poisoning, severe burns, shock, heart attack/stroke, head injury, diabetic reactions and electric shock.

Though boaters — especially offshore cruisers — should consider pairing this book with a more-detailed marine-specific reference. But for a “quick-hit” and instant response, “Boat 911” has all the basics covered.

Contact: Vantage Point Books, (888) 680-9061.