Five Essential Books for the DIY Library

New sailors frequently want to know which reference books should be in their onboard and in home libraries. While the internet is ripe with websites, blogs, and forums, not all of the information is reliable or accurate. Having access to a basic library that has been vetted by publishers provides a standard against which the other sources can be measured. The books cited here have stood the test of time. The authors are well known and respected in the field.

Marine Diesel Engines: Maintenance, Troubleshooting, and Repair

         Boatowners Mechanical and Electrical Manual 4/E

Boats have system, plumbing, electrical, propulsion, and electronic systems. For solid, technical information Nigel Calder's books can not be beat. Calder is a well respected sailor who approaches sailboat systems with the eye of an engineer. He writes for both professionals in the marine industry, often publishing articles in professional publications as well as the boating public. The Boat Owners Electrical and Mechanical Manual 4thEdition will serve you well as foundation. If your boat has a diesel, then add Marine Diesel Engines: Maintenance, Troubleshooting, and Repair.

Boatowner's Illustrated Electrical Handbook

Charlie Wing's Boatowner's Illustrated Electrical Handbook delves more deeply into AC and DC electrical systems. As you were told from childhood, electricity and water don't mix. DC wiring is different from AC wiring, and boat wiring is different from residential wiring. Keep your boat safe and follow Wing's guidance.

 The New Get Rid of Boat Odors: A Boat Owner’s Guide to Marine Sanitation Systems and Other Sources of Aggravation and Odor

If your boat has a head or water tanks, then Peggie Hall's book, The New Get Rid of Boat Odors: A Boat Owner’s Guide to Marine Sanitation Systems and Other Sources of Aggravation and Odor is a must have. This book is invaluable when dealing with a chronic problem onboard, foul smells. The book is authoritative, informative, short, and reasonably priced.

The Complete Rigger's Apprentice: Tools and Techniques for Modern  and Traditional Rigging, Second Edition

Keeping the mast pointed skyward and keeping lines attached where they should be are major concerns for sailors. The definitive book on the subject is Brion Toss's The Complete Rigger's Apprentice: Tools and Techniques for Modern and Traditional Rigging, Second Edition. Whether you are want to understand the forces and dynamics of keeping a mast vertical or to simply splice and eye into three strand rope, Toss's book is the answer. While the book often deals with highly technical issues, he presents information in an easily read and understood manner. He knows his stuff and he helps the reader know it too.

That's it, five foundational books.

Warm Winter Reads

This morning's paper reported that Syracuse had been subjected to 66 straight hours of snow accumulating nearly 20 inches as the result of a massive storm that moved up the east coast last week. It is on days like this that thoughts of warm Caribbean islands occupy my mind.

Coping with winter storms is easier with stories of warmer climates. This winter follow the adventures of Norman Paperman when he buys a down island resort. Herman Wouk's Don't Stop the Carnival Don't Stop the Carnival: A Novel

 tells his tale of trials and tribulations as Norman follows his dream. Listen as Jimmy Buffett tells Norman's tale in the musical version of Don't Stop the Carnival. 

Paperman's story is fiction, of course, however Mary Caldwell's story is true. John and Mary Caldwell set sail in the 1950s, finally settling on a small island off Grenada. Mary's Voyage Mary's Voyage: The Adventures of John and Mary Caldwell - A Sequel to Desparate Voyage

tells the tale of their voyage and efforts to develop an island resort. Lest you think that Paperman's woes are fiction, Mary's story will convince you otherwise. Together the books portray life in the islands a half century ago.

Both books are great nautical reads for cold winter evenings. Stay warm!

Welcome to Nautical Reads

Welcome to Nautical Reads. offers a curated listing of books for sailors that are available on Amazon. See a book you like, click on the buy button and you'll be taken to Amazon where you can purchase the book. is just leaving the dock, so all the features may not be up and running just yet, so check back often. In addition to more book offerings, we'll be adding a newsletter, visitor reviews, recommendations, themed collections, and maybe more.

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