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Design & Theory

Index History Design Practical Stories

Principles of Yacht Design Lars Larsson

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Some of you may have Skene's in one or other of its editions. This is the successor. If you want to know about the engineering that underpins boat design, this is the current book.

The Best of Uffa Uffa Fox

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I dread to think how many times I have referred to this book. It really is the best of 5 books written in the 1930's by a remarkable - and remarkably fair-minded - observer.

Aero-hydrodynamics of Sailing C.A. Marchaj

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Marchaj's greatest work on sailing craft, a bit fearsome at first sight, but accessible if taken in bite sized pieces

Sail Performance: Theory and Practice C.A. Marchaj

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I lent my copy of the first edition to someone about 10 years ago, and have missed it ever since. I must get this updated edition.

High Performance Sailing Frank Bethwaite

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Why is this book in the list? Because it is a great exposition of the development of modern lightweight boats and rigs. Because it is very good on using weather to your best advantage whether racing or cruising. Because it is one of the best expositions on weather conditions that I have come across. A remarkable book.

Sailing, Seamanship and Yacht Construction Uffa Fox

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Uffa Fox's books of the 1930's are re-printed every so often, and rightly so. Much of what we call classic now was state of the art then, and so viewed without sentimentality by a clear eyed observer. Keep your eyes open for his other books.

Yacht Designing and Planning Howard Chapelle

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It may be old, but in many ways this book has never been outclassed as an exposition of what makes a proper boat.

American Small Sailing Craft Howard Chapelle

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An absolutely essential reference work for anyone, anywhere with an interest in small craft. Will never date.

Sensible Cruising Designs Francis Herreshof

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Some of his best designs described in detail here - and he reckons the double-paddle canoe is the best of all!

Elements of Yacht Design Norman Skene

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Now overshadowed by Larsson's "Principles of Yacht design" this book was one of the seminal works in this area. I have to confess to preferring McKinney's update published in 1974 to the original, but you should have a copy.

The Wood and Canvas Canoe : A Complete Guide to Its History, Construction, Restoration, and Maintenance Jerry Stelmok, Rollin Thurlow

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The standard work in this field.

How to Design a Boat John Teale

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John Teale sometimes approximates to an English Phil Bolger - a fine boat designer with the intellect and wit to challenge received wisdom. And this is a very clear explanation of what goes into the design of a boat.

The Rudder Treasury Tom Davin (Ed)

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How it used to be - and could still be if you want. Not quite but nearly the equivalent of the best of Uffa.

Practical Junk Rig Hasler & McLeod

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The definitive work - though I have to confess I'm not a fan of the rig.

Boats with an Open Mind: Seventy-Five Unconventional Designs and Concepts Phil Bolger

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This should bring a few preconceptions into sharp perspective. Love it or loathe it, it is a provocative book.

John G. Alden and His Yacht Designs Robert W Carrick, Richard Henderson

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Dated, perhaps, but heavily laced with common sense.

Yacht Rating Peter Johnson

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Rating rules have that funny attribute of being the next best thing when new, becoming universally reviled as designers find the loopholes to create some very silly craft, leading to the next rule. This is a very clear guide through the history of rating rules and their effect on yachts - good and bad.

Albert Strange on Yacht Design, Construction and Cruising Jamie Clay, Mark Miller

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It is hard now to agree with some of his theories, but the yachts, a surprising number of which still exist, bear testament to the skill of the man. I wonder when someone will do the same book for George Holmes?

Seaworthiness: the Forgotten Factor C.A. Marchaj

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This is a good book which comes into its own after a particularly disastrous Fastnet or Sydney/Hobart race, if only to remind us that extreme hull forms might come a cropper in extreme conditions. But where his other books seek to advance the art - or science? - this one seems a bit regressive in its approach. It doesn't really provide a way forward through the trade-offs of speed, weight and seaworthiness. That said, it is still well worth reading.

Designs to Inspire Anne & Maynard Bray

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I haven't read this yet, but if Andrew Wolstenholme reckons it is a "cracking book" (Watercraft No 34), that is good enough for me.

Swatchways and Little Ships Maurice Griffiths

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You really should have some of Maurice Griffiths' work on your bookshelves. It doesn't so much set the world on fire as make it seem a better place.

Fifty Wooden Boats WoodenBoat Magazine

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Dream on..

Thirty Wooden Boats WoodenBoat Magazine

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....and on

Forty Wooden Boats : A Third Catalog of Building Plans WoodenBoat Magazine

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...and on