The Voyager’s Handbook

Beth Leonard’s first edition was a jewel — the second edition is more than twice as good! When folks ask us what books to read, we say “if you can only have one or ten, be sure that first you buy The Voyager’s Handbook: The Essential Guide to Blue Water Cruising“. Beth Leonard and Evans Starzinger circumnavigated the globe aboard their Shannon 37, Silk, from 1992 to 1995. Back in the “real world” both are management consultants. Their systems analysis methodology is evident throughout this book. Beth & Evans are currently cruising high latitudes in their custom built 47-ft “Hawk”, designed by Van de Stadt of Holland. Beth’s second book Following Seas has now been published, and is another read not to be missed.

John & Amanda Neal’s Mahina Expeditions

John and Amanda have converted many armchair cruisers into sea-going salts. Steve & Dorothy have both attended the Neals’ offshore cruising seminars, and found the time investment very worthwhile for soon-to-be cruisers. Dorothy sailed aboard Mahina Tiare III from New Zealand to Tahiti specifically because she wanted to get some heavy weather experience. She gives a very high recommendation on the experience.

Helmut & Meryl on Fallado

Fallado and her feisty crew have circumnavigated by the four Southern Capes aboard their beautiful custom-built 45-ft catamaran. Helmut was a successful German businessman who had The Dream. Like Steve & Dorothy, Helmut decided to retire early and “just do it”. Meryl, originally a non-sailor, calls herself a “travel-aholic”. Fortunately for Helmut she joined him in the Canary Islands in 1991- the rest is history. That they are cruising in style you can infer from the photo below, taken during their Patagonia cruise.

You’ll find the Fallado website full of useful resources, and more remarkable photos – enjoy!

Latitude 38

When we sailed around the east coast of the USA, we had never heard of Latitude 38. When we shifted to San Francisco in 1980, we discovered this magazine within a few hours of joining the San Francisco Yacht Club, where we found free copies of this rag. We continue to read a number of sailing/cruising print magazines, which reach us a couple of months late via our mail drop. But the one we really look forward to is the next issue of Latitude 38. The editor Richard Spindler, AKA “The Wanderer”, consistently publishes the most useful (and entertaining) publication we know of relevant to the interests of cruising yachties.

Latitude 38 has a bit of West Coast USA bias, as that is their homebase and primary readership. But their contributors are ranging all over the planet, and many have useful and important comments. Some very smart people send in letters, articles or Changes in Latitudes reports. Both letters and Changes are now available on-line.

Steve & Linda Dashew’s SetSail Site

The Dashews’ site is an excellent resource, like their many useful books. We haven’t attempted to build a comprehensive tabulation of cruising resource links here, because the Dashews have already done that. Follow the navigation bar link to Sailors Logs – there you’ll find “reports from the field” by a number of cruising yachts. You will of course find information on all of the Dashews’ great books. We own them all, recommend them highly, so go to the site and see for yourself.

Seven Seas Cruising Association

Many cruisers belong to SSCA, as we do, so naturally there is good info here – and there is a useful discussion forum, and of course info on how to join. Be advised that SSCA bulletins are available on CD-ROM from 1995. It isn’t all that practical to carry all the back issues aboard, but there just might be some useful info that you need when planning or nearing a particular port or cruising area. Aboard Adagio we have all the available back issues on the Mac, all content-indexed by Sherlock so we can quickly find anything relevant. The downside to this method is that so far the graphics aren’t included in the diskette version – e.g., a chartlet showing an uncharted hazard will not be found.

Just one word to the wise regarding the SSCA Bulletin information – remember that these are not “peer reviewed” articles. The articles are written by ordinary folks like us, each of us having our own world-view, priorities and biases. So when someone writes that area-X is a dog’s breakfast, just keep that in mind and continue to seek out all the sources you possibly can, attempting to extract the “reality” from the anecdotal reports.

The Cruiser’s Handbook of Fishing

This book by Scott & Wendy Bannerot is the only fishing related book that made the weight allowance cut to be allowed aboard Adagio. We have at least a dozen excellent books on salt water fishing – this book is way ahead of the competition – we’ve never seen anything like it. You can survey the content & reviews easily on the web. Our short summary is this is a detailed guide to harvesting dinner no matter where you are cruising.

From the jacket: Scott Bannerot, Ph.D., holds a doctorate in fisheries biology from the University of Miami. He has worked as a research scientist, charter fishing captain, and commercial fisherman since 1976. Wendy Bannerot has worked in professional fishing and diving since 1987, managed a small tropical aquaculture company, … Since 1995, Scott and Wendy have lived aboard and voyaged full time in their 41-foot aluminum sloop, Elan…


While Sailnet wants to sell you boat stuff, their site is a useful resource. This link points you to the section of the site where they are collecting reports from cruisers, organized geographically. The quality varies of course, but you’ll find a number of reports from Hawk posted there – so there is quality content – you just have to apply your own quality control.

Noonsite and World Cruising Routes, by Jimmy Cornell

This site is by Jimmy Cornell, author of World Cruising Routes. We’ve not included a link for the book, as we couldn’t find a book site that looks like a stable link, so fire up Google and search for it. As of July, 2001 this is a new site, so we’ll have to see how it evolves. At present it looks pretty useful, in that the information can be kept more current that feasible for new editions of the book.

We recommend the book, with the reservation that it is impossible to publish a compilation of this much detail about ports, formalities, piracy, …, that is 100% up to date and accurate. We have also noted that the book has a rather USA-centric approach, and doesn’t always reflect the way that, for example, South Pacific-based yachts look at routes. We have sometimes found it a bit difficult to locate the info we need – e.g., whilst studying options for routes around the southern end of South America. Steve has a background in GIS, so naturally he thinks what is really missing from Noonsite is a map-based user interface – to facilitate access routing options. But at present it doesn’t look like Jimmy Cornell wants to compete directly with his book.

Kasten Marine Design, Inc.

“What is that special characteristic that makes a boat beautiful? What allows a boat to behave well under way? To return to port in good shape after a long passage? What makes the crew comfortable? What provides the speed that makes an owner smile?” These introductory comments on Michael Kasten’s website summarize succinctly why so many clients engage Michael to design their dream. Sail or power, luxury yacht or work boat, Michael’s designs reflect his committment to truly understand the clients requirements, rather than trying to convince the client that he wants Michael’s vision.

Our friends Charles and T.C. Vollum retained Michael to undertake one of the more challenging design briefs we know of – an ocean-voyaging, trailerable, trawler. See the Vollum’s website for the story of this remarkable little vessel.

Also be sure to visit Michael’s page of useful articles, where you’ll find discussion and answers to many of the questions thoughtful skippers must address when undertaking a design/build project, or the preparation of an existing vessel for ocean voyaging. E.g., how to estimate construction costs, overseas building options, pros and cons of various materials options, and a brief on “How is a new yacht design created?”. And don’t miss the links to Michael’s articles on marine metals which he wrote for the Metal Boat Society’s Metal Boat Quarterly during his tenure as editor – most likely you will want to keep these aboard for reference.

Trawler World

The Trawler World mailing list forum can be an excellent source for systems technical information, as well as cruising related topics (most of the members are US-based and are coastal cruising). The link at left shows you how to sign up. The list archives contain all sorts of useful information – skippers of trawlers pay a lot more attention to diesel engines than do most sailors.

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