March 2004
- by Carol Standish
- Three books for the Cruising Sailor -
Book Cover The Cruiser�s Handbook of Fishing by Scott Bannerot and Wendy Bannerot (International Marine/McGraw Hill, 418 pp, $18.95) has been decribed as �definitive� which is certainly the right one word description. The handbook is encyclopedic�covering almost everything you never knew you wanted to know about fishing while cruising.

The book covers the uses and maintenance of all types of gear, tackle, traps and nets. Techniques such as trolling, fishing at anchor, from a dinghy, wading, diving, even fly fishing are described and illustrated with photographs and diagrams. A chapter is devoted to modifying your vessel for fishing and another to �processing� or cleaning your catch. Especially useful is a detailed guide to edible fish and invertabrates. Practical attention is paid to the real possibilities of medical consequences to fishing from your boat (hookings, slicings, poisonings). Your own fresh food, the good will you inspire by giving a fresh fillet to a neighboring boat and above all the fun of fishing, the author insists, will grow on you. And then there are the recipes.

Bannerot holds a doctorate in fisheries biology and has worked as a research scientist, charter fishing captain and commercial fisherman since 1976. Wendy Bannerot has worked as a professional fisherman and diver. They live aboard the 41� sloop Elan. They are definitively into it.

However, the flip side of definitive is daunting. And this work is also that�at least to the neophyte. Neverthless, I am happy to have the book as a reference in my boat library and who knows, I might just plop a hook over next summer.

Book Cover The Practical Encyclopedia of Boating by John Vigor (International Marine/McGraw Hill, 356pp, $29.95), on the other hand, while encyclopedic, is by no means definitive. Arranged in alphabetical order, 500 entries cover seamanship, boat handling, maintenance, design and building, as well as �how-to� advice and sea lore.

Many entries, such as basic knots, seacocks, rudder types, sailboat rigs, cleats, exhaust lines, for instance, are accompanied by excellent diagrams and/or illustrations. There is a four page color insert illustrating the two major buoyage systems. The problem of deciphering lights at night is dealt with in the form of an exceptionally informative series of diagrams. Types of cloud formations are illustrated with three pages of black and white photographs. Dispersed among all this practical information are odd little bits on rum punch, sun exposure, whistling (as in whistling up the wind), horse latitudes, boat color and renaming boats, for example.

In the effort to cover the waterfront alphabetically, author Vigor has combined technical and cultural information, deadly serious subjects like survival tactics with fluff�which is a bit disconcerting, but that is the nature of an encyclopedia. You get cocktail party patter along with an introduction to the more complicated aspects of boating. Unlike most encyclopedias, though, this book has a voluminous bibliography that will lead you to more advanced and thorough information.

Book Cover All in the Same Boat by Tom Neale (International Marine/McGraw Hill, 376pp, $12.95) was originally published in 1997. The revised 2004 edition is not significantly updated. But then, on the subject of living aboard with children, it hardly needs to be. The book remains a classic on the subject. Neale and his family have lived aboard since 1979 and they �have no plans to stop.� Neale is a cautious, hard-working individual whose primary concern is the health and safety of his family and since living on a boat and cruising is by definition living in harm�s way, his account of this unique experience and the resulting advice is supremely practical and detailed. Even if you have no intention of adopting the life-style the book makes good reading. It feeds your your most idyllic fantasies and also provides advice and tips you can adapt to your own style of boating.

New information is provided on technical subjects, gear and electronics and so forth and the last chapter called �Sequel� catches us up on the changes in the family since �97. Both daughters are in college and Neale and his wife, Mel have bought a new boat�moving from their home of 19 years, a Gulfstar 47 to a Gulfstar 53. The practical rationale: the girls will need more privacy when they come �home� to visit. Neale and Mel need more office space and �when the kids leave home, and home is a boat, you add bow thrusters.�

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