by Des Ryan
While many many things have changed in the last 31 years in sailing since this book was first published, nothing has changed about the value of good seamanship, an eternal skill, not aided by the most dramatic of technological breakthroughs. This is why the 'Annapolis Book of Seamanship' no matter which version, will never be truly out of date. That doesn't mean that the extensive update by author John Rousmaniere is not worth while.
Good seamanship is not something that relies on technology
'The art of sailing, maneuvering, and preserving a ship or a boat in all positions and under all reasonable circumstances.' With the addition of the words, 'and some unreasonable circumstances, too,' this definition of 'seamanship' is as valid today as when the first edition of this book was published in 1983. The aim remains to advise you the sailor on essential gear, skills, and behavior that enhance your pleasure and safety.
This edition of The Annapolis Book of Seamanship is an extensive update. Much of the text is new or revised, and there are many new photos. Throughout, the book stresses the skills and attitudes that comprise what the author calls 'The Seamanship Ethos.' The first four chapters cover the boat, basic sailing skills, sail trim, and weather, with the first of many 'Hands On' sections with their tips.
The topics of health (including seasickness) and on board safety follow, with lessons learned from on-water tests and studies of boating accidents. We look closely at the elements of piloting, navigation, and electronics, including Digital Selective Calling, the U.S. Coast Guard’s emergency communication system.
Moving on to the arts of traditional seamanship— anchoring, heavy weather, and emergencies—there is much on modern equipment and skills, again based on experience. The book ends with boat maintenance and the traditions that make sailing the beloved pastime it is. Appendixes include best practices for protecting the marine environment and bringing up children under sail.
If you can't get the newest version in your local marine book supplier, you can purchase it online by clicking here