Ocean Sailing:

The Offshore Cruising Experience with Real-life Practical Advice

Our love affair with the sea and the mystery held just beyond the horizon has inspired countless numbers to surrender their worldly possessions,

Take command of a vessel, and venture to find out what lay out of sight and mind.

Since Joshua Slocum and his refitted Spray departed Boston on the morning of 24 April 1895,

The notion of voyaging—not for commerce but for pleasure—has taken hold of many an armchair sailor and coastal cruiser alike.

A would-be voyager could spend several lifetimes on web searches alone for recommended reading, be it the highly technical,

like the many works of Nigel Calder, or the anecdotal storytelling such as Slocum’s Sailing Alone Around the World.

Enter into this paper (or digital) maelstrom Ocean Sailing:

The Offshore Cruising Experience with Real-Life Practical Advice.

While clearly written from the perspective of those who fly the Blue Ensign, Ocean Sailing has a universal accessibility, and readers on this side of the pond should not be dissuaded.

The author does an admirable job of blending valuable technical advice with the comforting tone of a trusted mentor:

encouraging and supportive, but never dismissive of the seriousness that planning an offshore voyage entails.

The book weaves its way through topics ranging from weather routing to boat selection, with particular attention given to two subjects that are worth highlighting:

the financials of world voyaging on a variety of budgets, and examining whether or not to cruise with children.

One thing which sets Ocean Sailing apart from many other similar books on the subject is the author’s frequent inclusion of substantive contributions from world voyagers who have their own perspectives to share.

As one glaring example, one contributor suggests cruisers stow liferafts below decks.

That said, the bulk of advice given in the book resonates with sound best practices and an interwoven theme of preparedness and redundancy that are the hallmarks of well-found ocean voyages.

The collection of photographs printed in the book aptly illustrates the diversity of watercraft and types of individuals who have successfully completed major ocean passages, including world-circling voyages.

It suffers, however, from the absence of illustrations and diagrams that could have simplified otherwise cumbersome descriptions such as global wind patterns, or added significantly to the safety of the vessel, like an example of a through-hull diagram or safety plan.

In this instance, pictures would have done a better job than a thousand words.

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