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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.

Please feel free to comment, disagree, recommend other books or whatever.