Sailing adventure on minimal outlay.

Great Books To Read.

There is an absolute wealth of knowledge to be gained from sailors and innovators both alive and dead. In fact the amount of stuff that’s relevant to the shoestringsailor in older books (from the likes of Maurice Griffiths, Eric Hiscock, Fox Geen or Denys Rayner) is probably far greater, as they experienced sailing before the revolution of expensive electronic wizzardry that blights our bank accounts today. Some of the stories of “pleasure trips” taken by these chaps are hard to comprehend now with our various devices of constant communication, but the writing is so good you can nearly feel the isolation radiate from the pages. Personally¬† I get a good deal of satisfaction from knowing that I can navigate without electronics or splice old ropes rather than have to buy new. It saves me a good few pounds, it’s all part of our maritime heritage, and I find it fascinating.


Just a handful of my most useful favourites from the shelf.

These are all reference books that I’ve picked up for only a few quid from second hand bookshops or from online auctions. It’s baffling how cheap these are now, often at only 99p, and you can go back to them time after time. Makes me wonder if people actually value books as a resource at all these days. These authors have all written some great accounts of their exploits too, so a quick search by name can turn up some budget gems for those long winter evenings.


Essential night time reading. Mostly non fiction.

The above books should be considered essential reading for anyone with an interest in sailing small boats or seeking out a bit of low cost adventure. These guys are absolutely amazing in how much they’ve achieved with so little. In some cases dedicating a lifetime of hard effort to fulfill their dreams. Everyone needs a bit of inspiration now and again. Especially when the mundane, gruelling reality of making ends meet or complying with the expectations of this modern world seem to suck the spontaneous joy of existence from everything. Keep some of these little fellas tucked away on the bookshelf for when it’s a freezing cold, grey Sunday evening in January and you just can’t see any reason why you shouldn’t flog the old boat project that’s been stealing all your beer money.


  1. Steve

    March 30, 2015 at 4:33 pm

    Thanks James, will look that one up. Always grateful for a new bit of info.

  2. Hello Steve, Paul here again. I will certainly try and get some of the books you’ve mentioned here as I still prefer to read and put into practice what I’ve read and learned as much as from YouTube or discussions with more knowledgable seafarers.

    One or two other books I would also thoroughly recommend would be The Brendan Voyage by Tim Severin and The Kon-Tiki Expedition by Thor Heyerdahl. Both brilliant expeditions and really well written. My fav is The Brendan Voyage which I’ve read several times. Just thought I’d add my two pennyworth.

    Regards to all.

    Paul Lawley-Walker

    • Steve

      November 13, 2015 at 7:51 pm

      Hey Paul. Thanks for the input. Yes, both absolute classics and well worth a read. I’d forgotten about Tim Severin’s work, he’s done some amazing trips. Have a look at his “Sinbad Voyage” as well. Brilliant. Amazon is very often the best place these days to pick up a 99p classic read. It seems the second hand book dealers have all jumped on board their selling platform to offload stock.
      I’ll keep an eye out on the river for you, give me a shout next time you see me…. although I might have a different boat by the spring. How exciting.
      Regards, Steve.

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