The Art of Seamanship: Evolving Skills, Exploring Oceans, and Handling Wind, Waves, and Weather

The Art of Seamanship: Evolving Skills, Exploring Oceans, and Handling Wind, Waves, and Weather

by Ralph Naranjo


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Wind, waves, weather, and water demand the practiced art of seamanship

"Planning and reacting to the unanticipated are the flip sides of seamanship. This blending of pre-voyage preparedness with effective on-the-water response is learned rather than inherent--together they define the art of seamanship." -- Author RALPH NARANJO

Each time a sailboat casts off its docklines the sailor enters a marine realm that demands knowledge, preparedness, vigilance, and coolheadedness--these qualities are the foundation of good seamanship. Both an art as well as a science, seamanship is also the mastery of numerous practical details, from the best choice of line for a jib sheet to an accurate assessment of the passage of a deep low-pressure system.

Around-the-world sailor Ralph Naranjo--technical expert, ocean racer, former Vanderstar Chair at the U.S. Naval Academy--delivers a priceless reference for anything that comes up while on the water, sharing all the knowledge today's sailors need to "hand, reef, and steer"--an enduring reference to the collective skills of the bluewater sailor. Naranjo's vast knowledge is supported by real-life examples of sailing mishaps, sample itineraries, vibrant photos, as well as first-hand accounts and sidebars from top sailors and marine experts, including Shelia McCurdy, Chuck Hawley, Lee Chesneau, and Paul Miller, N.A.
Seamanship is a dynamic art, demanding full attention from the sailor amidst a constant flow of information and knowledge.

The Art of Seamanship will improve your problem-solving skills, whether daysailing around the harbor or voyaging around the world.

You'll learn:

  • The attributes of a good skipper and crew—including physical and mental agility, effective communication, and knowledge-based decision making
  • Fine-tuning your voyaging with the seaworthiness of your boat and the capability of your crew in mind
  • Using weather information and routing resources to lower risks and raise rewards
  • Developing advanced boat-handling skills—including heaving-to, towing a drogue, reefing, setting storm sails,
    and kedging
  • Lines, line handling, and rigging--making sure the right strings are attached, including an in-depth look at modern rope construction
  • Anchoring--the art of staying put--with a realistic look at tackle from lunch hooks to storm anchors
  • Sails, modern sail material, sail trim, sail handling, and hardware, from hanked-on headsails to the latest top-down furlers
  • Navigating in the satellite age, including paper and digital chartplotting, how to best use the new equipment, plus understanding the role of celestial navigation as a fail-safe
  • Sailboat design and dynamics, including the role of vessel structure and stability and a look at what your current boat has to offer and what to look for in a new boat
  • Sharing crowded waters and understanding the reasons behind the "rules of the road"
  • How to be ready for any emergency, including fire, crew overboard, a flooding bilge, or the need to abandon ship
  • Establishing reliable communication, including VHF, AIS, SSB, satellite phones, and beacon signaling (EPIRBS, PLBS)

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780071493420
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing
Publication date: 09/12/2014
Pages: 544
Sales rank: 1,244,900
Product dimensions: 8.70(w) x 11.00(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

RALPH NARANJO has been an authoritative voice in the marine community for more than 30 years. He continues his sailor advocacy as technical editor to Practical
and is a regular contributor to Cruising World magazine. During his 10 years at the U.S. Naval Academy he helped guide safety and seamanship training and played a key role in the development of the navy's new 44-foot sail-training sloops. His sailing background includes a five-year family voyage around the world, which was documented in his book Wind Shadow West. He and his wife, Lenore, have made two other lengthy cruises aboard their 41-foot Ericson sloop, Wind Shadow. During the past 15 years, he has moderated US Sailing Safety at Sea seminars across the country, and he is now an adjunct lecturer at the Annapolis School of Seamanship, where he is helping to develop a new line of courses tailored to cruising sailors.

Table of Contents

CHAPTER 1: The Art and Science of Seamanship

The Safety Triangle

Seamanship by the Boat

The Safety Triangle in the Era of Offshore Rallies

What Is Seamanship, by Sheila McCurdy

Chapter 2: Planning Is Seamanship

Are You Prepared

Preparing the Boat

Preparing the Crew

Preparing the Itinerary

Avoiding Harm's Way

Preparing the Boat

Preparing the Crew

Turning a Plan into a Good Plan

Bermuda and Hawaii

Sample Itinerary for a One-Year East Coast Adventure

Chapter 3: Evolving as Skipper or Crew

Attributes of a Good Crewmember

Attributes of a Good Skipper

What Cruisers Can Learn from Racers

Training Opportunities

Evolving as Crew, by Lenore Naranjo

Hands-on Training Opportunities

Chapter 4: Boat Handling

Contingency Thinking

Boat-Handling Factors and Techniques

Performance Tweaks

The Boat-Handling Routine

Special Maneuvering Situations

Chapter 5: Lines, Line Handling, and Rigging

Line Selection

Line Handling

Running Rigging Leads and Hardware

Putting away the Lines

Knots to Know

Chapter 6: Anchors and Anchoring

Not-So-Serene Irene

Ground Tackle Sizing

Anchor Types

Anchor Performance in Tests versus the Real World

Anchor Rodes and Connecting Hardware

Ground-Tackle Connections

Ground-Tackle Handling Gear

Anchoring Tactics

Chapter 7: Sails and Sail Handling

Sailing Science

Masthead versus Fractional Rigs

Sail Technology

Shaping Sails Underway

Managing the Mainsail

Managing Headsails

Sail Repair

Material Choices

Chapter 8: Navigation

A Navigator's Day's Work at Sea

A Day’s Work Now

Piloting with Paper Charts and Ship's Compass

Navigation Publications

Electronic Navigation

Celestial Navigation

A Final Plea to Avoid Blind Faith in Electronic Fixes

Chapter 9: Sharing Crowded Waters

The Navigation Rules: An Overview

A Tour of the Rules

Making Landfall

Chapter 10: Reading the Sea and Sky

Living-Room Learning

The Flying Colours Incident


Surface Weather Systems

500-Millibar Charts

Tropical Weather Patterns

Weather Predictions

Professional Weather Services

Climate and Weather Cycles

Oceanographic Impacts on Wind and Sea

Unlocking the Mystery of the 500 Mb Chart, by Lee Chesneau

Chapter 11: Handling Heavy Weather

The Heavy-Weather Threshold

Coastal Waters and Seeking Shelter

Preparing for Heavy Weather at Sea

Storm Canvas

Storm Tactics

Chapter 12: The Boats We Sail


So What Kind of Boat Do You Want

Capable Cruisers of 40 to 44 Feet

Inspecting a Boat

Chapter 13: Staying Safe

Preparing Your Boat for Sea

Safety Gear

Emergency Gear

Crew-Overboard Recovery

Fire Afloat

Bottom Line

PFDs and Life Jackets, by Captain Kip Louttit, USCG Retired and Auxiliary

The Wingnuts Tragedy Revisited

Responding to a Steering Failure, by Chuck Hawley

Chapter 14: Communications

Ocean Zones and Communications Equipment

Wi-Fi Afloat


Rescue 21

Automatic Identification System (AIS)

Radio Talk

Making Choices


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