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Born in Southern Ireland to single mother in 1942, John Mahon went on to become a steward on some of the largest post-war liners. But as the title hints, life was not a bed of roses. Frequently kept from school and of slight stature, John was orphaned at the age of 11. His foster mother can only be described as a devil; although the very rough life he learnt to live stood him in good stead when he had to earn a living. Initially achieving success as a steward, his alcoholic downfall came from the phrase of the title. Becoming a full alcoholic, John hit rock bottom, and managed to save himself eventually.

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This is a very interesting and readable overview of everything you need to think about when embarking on your first Transatlantic circuit. Buchan covers not only the obvious subjects such as choosing and preparing your boat, the best routes to take, and the best timing for these passages, but also a few things that you might not have thought of. For example, have you thought about the best way to handle bureaucracy in the Caribbean? Or have you budgeted landing fees?

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Coastal Turmoil attempts to explain the effects of wind, currents, seabed contours, and storm swells on the seas around our coasts and estuaries. It is very well illustrated with photographs and diagrams.

There are some fascinating and not well known facts about waves, including a table of wave lengths and wave speeds in knots which one can find by timing the waves hitting a boat in seconds. Long waves travel faster than short ones, sometimes surprisingly so (One at a period of 20 seconds being 624 metres long and travelling at 61 knots!).

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This is almost an academic study into the lives of the privateers and buccaneers who plied their trade during the latter part of the 17th century. It is scholarly work which made this subject somewhat less entertaining than might otherwise have been the case. For those who have a keen interest in this flamboyant time of seafaring it will provide a very comprehensive read, for those who have a passing interest in the life and times of pirates it is less interesting as the descriptions and exploratory dialogue border on the minutiae.
This is a good reference book but is somewhat less good as an entertaining read as the writing tends to be rather dense.
 

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At the age of 32, in spite of never having sailed before, Emma Pontin gave up a successful career in the City to become a professional sailor. Four years later, by now an ocean-racing skipper and instructor, she faced a new challenge when she was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. Hear Emma talk at the Club 19 April and read  Caroline Quentin's review of her book here

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A book that should be aboard every yacht fitted with a DSC VHF radio. For those with older radios, DSC stands for Digital Selective Calling, making the VHF radio more akin to a mobile phone, having its own unique number. A book to guide the student or act as an aide-memoire to the more experienced; it's all there. Two minor niggles are that the Foreword refers to the "Morse system of the 1980s” which should be “1890s”, and the hope expressed that handheld VHF DSC sets with GPS may become available,

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It is a testimony both to the breadth of coverage and the excellence of the material that this 1993 reprinting is only the second British edition of this monumental work on knots since it first appeared in 1944, with over 3,800 knots inc

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A pedigree yachting publication aimed at all cruising categories, but with “fixed mast” yachts in mind. It is the 5th edition and is continually evolving to refine the detail and reflect the changes tacking place in the geography of the Netherlands and development of its waterways..

It starts where the North Sea pilot [also in the Club Library] leaves off, with a minimal overlap, and has a wealth of information, as good as the publishers charts but with a far wider scope. Everything is explained rather than assumed, particularly

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All cats at heart are really ships cats'. The first part of this enjoyable book is a brief history of the role cats have played since ancient Egyptian times in controlling vermin on ships.

The majority of the book tells nearly 200 stories of cats in all situations from dangerous and sad to humourous. Cats have sailed with Nelson, Shackleton and Churchill; cats got drunk on rum and cats have sleept in hammock. Whether cat lovers or not, these are stories for everyone.

SS

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The Imray English Channel Electronic Charts contains the complete set of Raster Imray Charts for the English Channel which covers the area from the Raz de Seine, just South of Brest to Orfordness on the East Coast.

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This extravagant book is mostly pictures with very little text.  Butwhat photographs!  They are the sort that will make Little Ship Club photographers give up an forget out entering "Working the Ship Category".

It is a large format production with  lot of telepohoto shots, many reproduced on foldout spreads.  Fantastic action pictures conveying the exciting drama of racing yachts.  I could smell the salt spray!

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This is a book to read if you need information about structural wear on any part of a boat.   It is aimed at would-be professional surveyors so some of the terms used will be to the ordinary reader.  It is, however, a mine of information for the cruising yacht and includes a good index.

There are numerous coloured photos of every kind of problem from osmosis (both serious and minor) to innocuous looking cracks which could cause dismasting in the next blow.  Some heartening news is included (eg that bronze sea cocks can last 50 years) and much helpful instruction about rectifying major faults.   Also to be found are references to other matters such as VAT on foreign purchases and various building safety regulations. The format is clear and it is an easy read.

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National Historic Ships, funded by the Government, is the Official Authority for the identification and registration of Historic Vessels. This the third volume in the series of "Understanding Historic Vessels" sets out the philosophies and essential principles underpinning vessel conservation.

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Having sailed as crew to the Isles of Scilly in 2005, as a boat owner I am delighted to see this fully reviewed 5th edition, now in full colour with new aerial photographs taken by Patrick Roach.

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This Book of Days is in fact a brilliant spiral bound desk diary full of interesting nautical facts and fiction. Anyone interested in boats and sailing would enjoy this diary.

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This little book gives Mike's life story, together with that of his long suffering partner, Kath's, devotion, love and forebearance of her remarkable husband.

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At 14, Mike Perham became the youngest person to sail solo across the Atlantic. In 2009, aged 16, Mike became the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe solo. Sailing The Dream takes the reader on this amazing adventure. From the search for a boat (eventually a charter from France) and the race to find sponsors, without whom the adventure could not take place, we share the joys, the frustrations, the risks, and the eventual elation of this 30,000 mile voyage.

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 Highly recommended to anyone who wishes to do better.  

This very accessible 120 page book, though specifically written with performance sailing in mind, has much within its covers to recommend it to anyone, in any sport or other venture, who wishes to to do as well as they can.            

The author, a chartered sport and exercise psychologist, takes a concise and clear trip through all the areas where mental attitude can help improve performance and offers several useful tips on how to go about things.

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If you have an interests in small boats this well structured book is difficult to put down. The Contents provides quick access to the reviews of 130 of the most popular small boats. These classified boats have been categoriazed into Dinghies, Multihulls and Keelboats. Examples are: the Lymington River Scow, the International 14, single handed Contender, multi-hulled Hurricane 5.9 and the keelboat J24.

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We need some more books reviewed before we put them on the shelves.  Contact the Librarian either in the Club or on the web if you have time to read and then write  a brief note on your impression.

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 Published in 2010 this book covers one small aspect of the last days of the Second World War, the surrender of some 160 German U- boats on active patrol in the North Atlantic in May 1945. Thirty-three of the boats were directed to Loch Eriboll near Cape Wrath an isolated, safe, deep water anchorage. A bit of an anorak’s book with lists and details of each U-boat there are however, diary extracts which underline the extreme bravery and privation endured by the U-boat crews.   MSM

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A world cruisers handbook by two of the most experienced world cruising yachtsmen.
Rod Heikell writes on cruising the warmer middle latitudes with Andy O’Grady explaining the attractions of high latitude cruising. The Introduction offers advice on how to avoid tropical storms to navigating in ice together with recommended world cruising routes and how to deal with marine perils including piracy.

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The latest edition of this excellent pocket-sized handbook has been updated to include even more valuable information and increased use of colour to good effect. There is a new section on sails and wind and extra information on tides, chart plotting, boat handling and knots. A “must” in all chart tables and for those with “maturing memories” or lack of!  MSM

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 30 dramatic accounts of yachts lost at sea.

 This was the perfect distraction from the agony of Murray vs Nadal. The comment that the match was ‘a brilliant opportunity cunningly disguising an impossible situation’ pretty well sums most of these 30 tales - too many of which, sadly, shouldn’t have ended as they did. That said, the collection prompts serious thought on the subject of risk – its nature, that taking it is sometimes justified and the retribution that can follow when it’s not. Whatever, these are accounts of superb seamanship that prevented any loss of life - but the most poignant tale of all is No 29: effectively, what most likely happened to Ouzo, but this time with a happier ending. And the lesson for all of us is: keep that good sharp knife readily accessible at all times!  EF

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What a delight to browse this book of aerial photographs of the French coast (Cap de la Hague to Cap Frehel) and to compare it to the many volumes we have of our own British shores.

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A comprehensive guide to the ports of north west Spain, covering the north coast as well as the Atlantic coast. This area is not a first choice as a cruising ground by Club members, who mostly hurry on past to the Mediterranean or sometimes to the Azores or the Canaries.

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Everyone who has used a lock will recognise the antics described in this book. There is a lesson behind nearly every story – usually that it’s best to apply common sense to the problem faced when locking up or down. But you can’t read it in public. Your snorts of suppressed laughter, usually when reading about a manoeuvre you were involved in, will attract attention. An ideal bunk-side book, or for home by a roaring fire in winter. PW

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A wonderfully humourous collection of short chapters on such diverse subjects as plumbing, anchoring and personal buoyancy. The main link is Dave and others like him, the proud owners of large craft and the author on ‘Daisy’ his ultimate miminum boat. Each chapter makes us crease with laughter while reminding us about the simple pleasures of sailing that the founders of the LSC enjoyed before the introduction of so much electronic equipment. An added bonus are Mike Peyton’s cartoons!

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This publication probably represents the 'Bible' of gaff ring in many enthusiasts eyes.

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Another very readable book from the highly experienced Dag Pike. There are 17 short, easy-to-read chapters with many interesting or even frightening photographs.

The topic is covered reasonably well for a non-academic study and is up-to-date with examples of storms and ship wrecks of this decade as well as plenty from further back.

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My first edition of Alan Watt’s book (fifth impression 1973) is priced at £1.25. Nearly forty years later, to be able to access the same wisdom at only £7.99 is a bargain.

This little book has stood the test of time as a practical guide to weather forecasting by observation, an art too little practiced.

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 My first edition of Alan Watt’s book (fifth impression 1973) is priced at £1.25. Nearly forty years later, to be able to access the same wisdom at only £7.99 is a bargain.

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Frank Bethwaite is Australia's top sailing coach. This important book collects 50 years of wisdom and rewrites the rules for performance sailing.

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It says a l ot for the sailing fraternity that this book 40 years old has never been out of print., A combination of well written narrative and extracts from his log makes it a very readable story of adventure on the high seas combined with the thrill of actually racing a number of other boats around the world non-stop in a vessel not exactly designed for such a task.

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 ISBN 978 0 964924 7 3        

Cruising the Maine CoastThis is a wonderful read, even if you never get to go to Maine. A quick glance at the preface, however, and you will wish you were going. The authors plainly love the area and everything about it and are eager to pass on their knowledge to others.

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Adlard Coles Nautical -  ISBN 4081-0126-1

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MGThis is the book that started it all.  After this Maurice became the editor of 'Yacht Sales and Charters', a magazine that was the fore runner of Yachting Monthly really.  I was lucky enough not only to find first Editions of this book that M.G. signed, but also many copies of the 'Yacht Sales and Charters' too, as with all my other M.G.

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I was taken by his meticulous detailed preparation. I enjoyed and collected most of his articles on this published by PBO, but this has the extra part he sailed through the Irish Sea from Wales to Portaferry and Glenarm in Ireland on his first circumnavigation.

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Dag Pike, 9.99 Adlard Coles Dag Pike

This is a book about practical weather forecasting, and it starts where most other books finish. Weather forecasts give you a lot of information about the weather to come but they often leave out a lot of the detail, and the timing of changes can also be vague.

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A well produced reference book by Rod Heikell, helpfully organised in geographical sequence around the Mediterranean it covers the coast lines of the entire sea from Gibraltar in the West to Lebanon and Israel in the East, from Montenegro in the North to Libya in the South.

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