What could be better than relaxing on deck with a good book? Or want something to get you warmed up before you embark on your next adventure? In this article, we run down our top five sailing books of 2019. From riveting biographies to gripping memoirs, this list has something to keep every avid sailor occupied on calm seas.
Top 5 sailing books for 2019
1. Maiden Voyage by Tania Aebi
In 1988, Tania Aebi – an 18-year-old bicycle messenger from New York – became the youngest person to sail solo around the world. “Maiden Voyage” is a breezy account of her adventure, drifting between the thrills of solo sailing and her complex personal relationships. Aebi discusses the various challenges in depth, including the rough seas, her lack of experience, and temperamental equipment. The book also includes an account of her relationship with a sympathetic French-Swiss vessel that occasionally tailed her yacht. The book is compelling and well-written, making it a joy for any sailing enthusiast or autobiography lover.
2. The Lonely Sea and The Sky by Sir Francis Chichester
“The Lonely Sea and The Sky” charts the journey of Sir Francis Chichester, the first (and fastest) man to circumnavigate the globe solo. At just 18, Chichester moved to New Zealand to work in various jobs, including a shepherd, lumberjack, boxer, and gold prospector. Ever the thrill-seekers, Chichester soon qualified as a pilot and flew solo from England to Australia. However, he wasn’t going to stop there; despite a cancer diagnosis, Chichester sailed the globe from west to east via the great capes in 1967. This book tells his story first hand, combining gripping descriptions of his adventures and emotional accounts of his experiences.
3. Left for Dead by Nick Ward
Of all the sailing books in this countdown, “Left for Dead” is perhaps the most nailing-biting. “Left for Dead” is the thrilling story of Nick Ward’s encounter with the deadliest storm in the history of modern sailing. Ward was part of the crew of the Grimalkin, a vessel participating in the Fastnet Race in 1979. For the first two days of the 600-mile course, the conditions were ideal. However, on the second day, an enormous storm ripped through the Irish Sea, claiming the lives of fifteen men. Ward was left alone on his boat to face the storm – and “Left for Dead” is his harrowing and inspirational account of how he survived that fateful night.
4. Godforsaken Sea by Derek Lundy
The Vendee Global Race is infamous for its treacherous route across the Southern Ocean. “Godforsaken Sea” tells the story of the 16 competitors who embarked on this epic journey in 1996. Traversing light-hearted anecdotes to hair-raising encounters with the might of nature, “Godforsaken Sea” is a gripping tale of the spirit of the men and women who’ve pushed themselves to the outer limits of human endeavor.
5. Sailing Alone Around the World by Joshua Slocum
“Sailing Alone Around the World” documents the journey of Joshua Closum, the first person to sail around the world alone. This book has become an important influence for avid sailors the world over, proving that with courage and determination, any dream can become a reality. Slocum’s account is entertaining, informative, and full of interesting contextual and historical information – making “Sailing Alone Around the World” one of the best sailing books of all time.
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