Nigel Calder's Cruising Handbook: A Compendium for Coastal and Offshore Sailors / Edition 1

Nigel Calder's Cruising Handbook: A Compendium for Coastal and Offshore Sailors / Edition 1

by Nigel Calder

"The indispensable crew. No boat should sail without Calder aboard."—Paul Gelder, Yachting Monthly

This handbook shows you not only how to select and equip a boat for coastal and offshore cruising, but also how to sail and navigate it. Covering all this in one volume is a monumental task, one not attempted since the pioneers of blue-water voyaging

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"The indispensable crew. No boat should sail without Calder aboard."—Paul Gelder, Yachting Monthly

This handbook shows you not only how to select and equip a boat for coastal and offshore cruising, but also how to sail and navigate it. Covering all this in one volume is a monumental task, one not attempted since the pioneers of blue-water voyaging wrote the first generation of cruising bibles decades ago. Since that simpler, more spartan era, the typical cruising sailboat has become faster and more comfortable, but also more complex. Even as they've made distant horizons more reachable, the marvels of modern technology have paradoxically raised the ante on the entry-level skills required for cruising. Small wonder then that books about boat handling and seamanship have little to say about the special demands of cruising, while books about cruising presuppose a mastery of the fundamentals of seamanship and navigation.

Nigel Calder's Cruising Handbookpresupposes nothing. It sifts through, organizes, and makes sense of the hundred disciplines of the cruising avocation. It will help you through your first coastal hop or your umpteenth offshore passage. Here you will find

  • Comprehensive coverage of cruising sailboat design
  • The elements of a comfortable interior and a workable deck presented in depth
  • The background you need to decide which of today's technological advancements may detract from rather than add to your cruising enjoyment
  • Thorough coverage of cruising skills, from boat handling to transoceanic voyaging
  • Fresh wrinkles for even the most experienced sailors

Compiling in one volume all the knowledge needed for successful cruising under sail, Nigel Calder's Cruising Handbook provides an inestimable service for sailors. There is nothing else like it.

"If you were shipwrecked on a desert island and could choose only one book to help get you off, this is the book."—Patience Wales, Editor, SAIL

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Product Details

McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
8.40(w) x 11.00(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

Front Matter




Part One: The Boat

Chapter 1. A Boat for Cruising

Basic Design Parameters

Length-Beam Ratio; Keel Types; Displacement Calculations; Ballast Ratio; Displacement-Length Ratio; Overhangs; Waterplanes and Immersion; Comfort Factor; Sail Area-Displacement Ratio; Stability Curves and Ratio; Capsize Screening Value and STIX Number; Maintaining Control; Speed-Length Ratio; Buttocks, Diagonals, and Aft Sections; Speed versus Comfort

Getting Down to Details

Construction Materials; Cored Hulls and Decks; Hull-to-Deck Joints; Structural Reinforcements; Keels; Rudders and Skegs; Skegs and Propellers; Bilge Water and Tankage


Chapter 2. On Deck

Rigs and Rigging

Rig Options; Masts, Spreaders, and Shroud Angles; Holding Up the Mast; Roller-Reefing Foresails; Mainsail; Odds and Ends

Cockpits and Deck Layout

Center or Aft Cockpit; Basic Parameters and the Comfort Factor; Steering; Dodgers and Biminis; Cockpit Flooding; Deck Design and Layout; Stowage

Dealing with Ground Tackle

Bow Platform; Deck Layout; Anchor Wells; Chain Locker; Windlasses

Addendum: Carbon Fiber Masts

Lightning and Other Survival Issues

Chapter 3. Cruising Accommodations: Fusing Functionality at Sea with Comfort on the Hook

General Considerations

Minimizing Motion; Keeping Things in Place; Insulation; Ventilation; Air Conditioning and Heating

Specific Spaces

Navigation Station; Wet Locker; Galley; Saloon; Forecabins, Quarter Berths, and Aft Cabins; Head Compartment


Addendum: Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Chapter 4. Electrical Systems

A Balanced System

Keeping the Load Down; The Supply Side; Supplementary Sources of Power; Defining the Limits; Miscellaneous DC Systems Issues

DC to AC Inverters

Sizing an Inverter; DC and AC Installations

Over-Current Protection and High-Current Circuits

What Size Fuse or Circuit Breaker?; High-Current Circuits; Check Your Own Boat

Low-Energy Refrigeration

Efficiency; Versatility; Insulate, Insulate, Insulate; Enhancing Performance; Effective Refrigeration

Low-Energy Lighting

Fluorescent Lights; LED Lighting; Halogen Lights

AC Systems

Safety; Corrosion; Miscellaneous AC Systems Comments

Bonding, Zinc Anodes, and Lightning Protection

Stray-Current Corrosion and Bonding; Lightning Protection


Chapter 5. The Rest of the Systems

The Engine and Propeller

How Big an Engine?; Propeller Sizing; Propeller Matters; Peripheral Systems; Living with an Engine

Fuel and Water Tanks

Metal Tanks; Plastic Tanks; Freshwater Systems; Watermakers

Bilge Pumps

Flooding Rates and Pumping Capacities; Improving Performance: Hoses and Check Valves; Improving Performance: Electrical Considerations; Float Switches; Keeping Dry Below Decks

Through-Hulls, Seacocks, and Hoses

Quality Through-Hulls and Seacocks; Hoses

Propane Installations

The Problem of Refills When Cruising

Making Equipment Choices

What Spares to Carry?

Chapter 6. Acquisition Strategies

Defining Priorities

What Size Boat?; To Build or Not to Build; Commissioning Costs

Used-Boat Market

Refurbishing an Older Sailboat; Old Racing Boats; A Survey; Go Sailing as Soon as Possible!

Cruising-Boat Questionnaire and Checklist of Desirable Features

Part Two: Cruising Skills

Chapter 7. Boat Handling under Power and Sail

Maneuvering under Power

Close Quarters Maneuvering under Power; Docking (Mooring) Lines; Docking Situations; The Mediterranean Moor; Getting in and out of Slips; Picking up and Leaving a Mooring

Sailing Skills

A Little Theory (of Sorts!); Going to Windward; Using Telltales; Adjusting Draft; Tacking; Reaching; Running before the Wind; Double Headsails; Spinnakers; Cruising Spinnakers; Weather Helm and Lee Helm; Motor Sailing

Tuning a Rig

Preparatory Measurements; Static Tuning; Dynamic Tuning at Sea

Chapter 8. Piloting, Navigation, and the Rules of the Road

Paper Charts

Chart Construction; Chart Terminology and Symbols; Chart Corrections; Other Nautical Publications

Buoyage Systems and Lighthouses

Lateral and Cardinal Marks; Lighthouses; Picking out Navigation Marks

Compasses and Plotting

Compass Basics; Compass Installation and Adjustment; Transferring Bearings to and from a Chart; Plotting Positions

Basic Piloting

Dead Reckoning; Estimated Positions, and Set and Drift; Fixes; Plotting Conventions; Tides, Tidal Currents, and Currents; Keeping a Logbook; Expanding the Piloting Repertoire; Complex Situations, Fog, and Coral

Electronic Navigation

Chart and GPS Datums; Electronic Charting; Radar Navigation

Rules of the Road

Basic Rules; Sound (and Light) Signals; Navigation Lights

In Perspective

Addendum: One Person's Ellipsoid Is Another Person's Shipwreck

Newton versus the Cassini Family; From Sphere to Ellipsoid; From Ellipsoid to Geoid; A New Age; Nautical Peculiarities; Avoiding Reefs

Chapter 9. Anchoring, Running Aground, and Kedging Off

Ground Tackle

Calculating the Load; Matching the Components; Chain Rodes; Rope Rodes; How Much Rode?; Anchor Choices


Anchoring Routine; Setting and Retrieving an Anchor under Sail; Setting More than One Anchor; Retrieving (Weighing) an Anchor

Running Aground and Kedging Off

Running Aground under Sail; Running Aground on a Rising Tide; Running Aground on a Falling Tide; Running Aground in Tideless Waters; Towing and Salvage

Chapter 10. The Ditty Bag

Modern Ropes

A Look at Construction; Caring for Ropes

Marlinespike Seamanship

Knots; Eye Splices; Seizings and Whippings; Ratlines


Materials and Construction; Maintenance and Repairs


Hard versus Inflatable; Inflatable Options; Getting a Dinghy on and off a Boat; Miscellaneous Dinghy Thoughts

Foul-Weather Gear

Features; Layering and the Extremities

Safety-Related Equipment

Life Jackets and Harnesses; Crew Overboard Maneuvers; Fire Extinguishers

Chapter 11. Weather Predictions and Heavy-Weather Sailing

Basic Theory

Adding Wind and Putting a Spin on These Processes; Pressure Changes, Isobars, and Wind Direction; Relative Humidity, Air Masses, Stability, and Instability; Frontal Systems; The Jet Stream and the 500-Millibar Chart; The Big Picture

Coastal Cruising: Putting Theory to Use

Onshore and Offshore Winds; Thunderstorms; Fog

Offshore Cruising: Putting Theory to Use

Things to Monitor; Signs of Change; Ocean Currents

Extreme Weather Situations

Hurricanes and Typhoons; Rapidly Intensifying Lows (Meteorological Bombs); Microbursts

Heavy-Weather Sailing

Being Prepared; Heaving-To; Lying Ahull; Running Off; Sea Anchors; Dealing with Flooding; Abandoning Ship


Chapter 12. Extended Cruising and Staying in Touch

Logistical Considerations

Provisioning; Ensuring Safe Water; Environmental Issues; Finding Crew; Financial Matters and Insurance; Bureaucracy; Children Onboard

Staying Healthy

Seasickness; Good Health in Tropical Climates; Diarrhea; Childhood Infections and Infestations; Avoiding Mosquito-Borne and Other Transmittable Diseases; Cuts, Scratches, Insect Bites, and Marine Hazards

Staying in Touch

Big Ship Developments; VHF Radio; Marine SSB and Ham SSB Radio; Inmarsat; Satellite and Cell (Mobile) Phones; E-Mail; Making Decisions; Snail Mail



Metric Conversions and Trademarks


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