by Des Ryan
If you are thinking of sailing to Bermuda any time soon, there is a book you need to have on board - ‘The Bermuda Boater: A Comprehensive Guide to Piloting and Seamanship for Boaters around the Waters of Bermuda’. It was first released in 1992, but has just been updated by its author, Ralph Richardson - not a British actor, but a Bermudan sailor of some repute. It will be out in April/May next year and, as they sell quickly, you can order now.
The guide, already referred to as the 'Bermuda Boating Bible' has gone through two editions and sold 4,000 copies
since it was first introduced.
Mr Richardson told Bermuda's Royal Gazette that while hundreds of yachts sail into Bermuda every year, they generally don’t stay very long. But with the latest edition of his book, he hopes to entice them to stay longer and discover what Bermuda has to offer.
Ralph is a past commodore of the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club and taught marine navigation courses for more than 20 years and Royal Yachting Association courses for four. He says he originally wrote the book out of necessity.
'The main function of this book, initially, was just so that I would have a text book for my course because there was no book that taught navigation using Bermuda charts,' Mr Richardson said.
His updated version will be released next April or May, just in time for the start of boating season.
'The books last about ten years and people keep them on their boats,' he said. 'Ninety percent of our purchasers are people who just bought a boat and they don’t have an awful lot of experience.'
The older editions of the book teach boating basics like water safety, ‘rules of the road’ and how to moor a boat or get away from a dock. Mr Richardson plans to add more for visiting yachtsmen interested in cruising around Bermuda and seeing more than just the marina or yacht club.
'What we do know is lots of yachtsmen come to Bermuda and they are looking for resources,' he said. 'In the 2004 edition, we added a section called ‘A Brief Yachtsman’s Guide to Bermuda’. It talks about Bermuda, making an approach, approaching by sea. We list the sailing clubs and marinas and their numbers. And if you want to get repairs, who to call, how to clear customs, basic information. That is what we really want to beef up because I think that there’s a real opportunity there.'
In the latest edition of the book, Mr Richardson says he’s going to relay the experiences of 30 or so American yachtsmen who travelled to Bermuda in June 2011 for an 'around the Island five-day cruise' and show how others can do so too.
All members of the Cruising Club of America, many of the yachtsmen had been travelling to Bermuda for 20 or 30 years, but never considered it a cruising destination. Mr Richardson was determined to show them interesting and unique bays and inlets that they didn’t know.
'The CCA has some of the most travelled sailors in the world, I can tell you. They’ve sailed around the world and done cruises everywhere, but they didn’t know. The commodore of the CCA did that trip with us last year and she said, ‘Ralph, we’ve been coming to Bermuda for a long time and we’ve never seen any of these places — we never knew this existed.’'
To order, visit, www.bermudaboater.com.