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Practical Guides & Techniques

Index History Design Practical Stories

The Complete Rigger's Apprentice: Tools and Techniques for Modern and Traditional Rigging Brion Toss

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Brion Toss' greatest ability is to take the best of the old and the best of the new and combine it into a coherent whole. This is the book on rigging at moment. 

Boat-owner's Mechanical and Electrical Manual Nigel Calder

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Every time I have had a problem to solve with "systems" on a boat, I turn to this book, it is in the index, and I then turn to the information, which proves to be correct. I'd buy it if I were you.

The Handbook of Knots Des Pawson

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There are lots of books on knots - I like this one because it is simple, clear - great illustrations - and comprehensive enough for most ordinary mortals. It is also written by Des Pawson; there are few people who know more about this subject, and few who are so much fun.

The Ashley Book of Knots Clifford W Ashley

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Now you are getting serious, but this is the definitive work.

Marlinspike Sailor Hervey Garrett Smith

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A beautiful book. Doesn't look much when you first open it, but the text is fun, the drawings wonderful - and the rope ladder (all made from rope) is a work of genius. Get it while you can.

Building Classic Small Craft John Gardner

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John Gardner was as instrumental as any in demonstrating how traditional boat types could come within the scope of amateur builders. This book is a great mix of inspiration and advice.

Devlin's Boatbuilding: How to Build Any Boat the Stitch-and-glue Way   Sam Devlin

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OK I know the purists don't go for stitch and glue, but it has got a lot of people into wooden boats. As a guide, this is as good as any. 

Boatbuilding : A Complete Handbook of Wooden Boat Construction Howard Chapelle

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Maybe old, but still one of the best

Details of Classic Boat Construction Larry Pardey

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There are plenty of books of this ilk, I just happen to like Larry Pardey's approach.

Clinker Boatbuilding John Leather

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The only one you will need on this method of construction. Some nice designs in the back, too. Get it while you can.

Ultralight Boatbuilding Thomas J Hill

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The title is slightly misleading, in that it actually covers, and very well, the process of epoxy clinker/lapstrake boatbuilding. Very strange cover photo, though.

Hand, Reef and Steer Tom Cunliffe

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Tom Cunliffe is a great writer, with a great turn of phrase - "don't tighten the leeward shrouds, tack and then tighten the opposite set. If you don't understand why not, don't buy a wooden boat." - This boat is packed with practical advice on rigging and handling traditional craft. He and I are in different camps when it comes to the necessity of weight in a gaffer, but it takes all sorts.

Metal Corrosion in Boats Nigel Warren

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Unsurpassed in its field, though not the most exciting read

The Complete Book of Yacht Care Michael Verney

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Sound advice on maintaining all kinds of boats

Classic Boat Seamanship Martin Tregoning

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To an extent overlaps "Hand, Reef and Steer" in the sense that both cover nominally the same ground. That said, I find it useful to compare and contrast the two - after all there is rarely one answer.

Canoe Rig : The Essence and the Art : Sailpower for Antique and Traditional Canoes Todd Bradshaw

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Whether you are considering a new set of sails for your small yacht, thinking about a leeboard or just want ideas on how to steer a boat, this book contains all the information you need to make sails, build spars, leeboards or centreboards all backed up with measurements.