Boat Books: great repair, maintenance, routing and preparation books (and some courses)

The first eight times I took my trimaran “The Shadow” sailing, I hit logs or other debris that did small to moderate damage to the boat. One repair to the centerboard was $800 so I quickly learned I needed to do repair and maintenance tasks myself.

When I was preparing my Catana 431 for our trip across the Atlantic, I attended every course I could find and did extensive research on the best materials and reference guides so that we could keep the boat (and crew) functioning regardless of the issue or accident. From celestial navigation to single sideband radio repairs, engine and watermater servicing and emergency sail repairs, I had resources on board for every emergency I could anticipate. Following is a list of resources, with the latest volume identified so you get the most current information. One good news – many of these books are available in Kindle format, which means you can download them to a reading device, tablet or laptop. So instead of carrying the hundred pounds of books I had onboard, you can have a few copies on multiple devices you already have onboard.

Boat repair and maintenance:

Nigel Calder has been contributing incredibly valuable information to boaters for decades. One of his most useful is his Mechanical and Electrical Manual. Finding you have an electrical problem on the boat is common. Finding the source and how to fix the problem is where Nigel steps in…

Note that the link here is for the prior version. Nigel is releasing a new version on July 10, 2015. I will update the link as soon as the new version is available. Calder’s Mechanical and Electrical Manual

Marine Diesel Engines

I was motoring through the Gulf Islands in Canada one windless day, with only an hour left until we reached Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. I checked the fuel level and the gauge showed 1/4 tank left, which should be plenty to make it. I considered using the spare diesel I had in a container in our dinghy, hanging from our aft davits, but was concerned I would either drop the container overboard while untying it and moving it to the fuel filler, or I would make a huge mess while trying to pour it into the fuel filler. So I left the spare diesel container in the dinghy, checked the gauge again, and happily motored along. Until I felt a strange vibration and the engine stopped.

I spent two hours below deck (after filling the fuel inlet with the spare diesel), bleeding the injectors and using the manual fuel pump on the engine to prime the fuel supply circuit and remove air. Fortunately I had Nigel’s diesel engine book onboard and I had also attended a diesel maintenance and repair workshop in Seattle. I heartily recommend Nigel’s Marine Diesel Maintenance book.

Marine Diesel Engines: Maintenance, Troubleshooting and Repair

 Boating courses:

In preparation for our Atlantic crossing my crew and I took David Burch’s celestial nav class and weather classes at Starpath School of Navigation in Seattle. Highly recommended, and it appears that David has brought additional instructors on to upgrade the materials and expand the course offerings. Celestial pretty much melted my brain, and there were a ton of additional materials needed to perform the calculations. If you take a celestial class from David’s team I suspect you will find it easier than when we took it 15 years ago.

The US Power Squadron courses introduce boaters or would-be boaters to some of the intricacies of launching, docking, weather and navigation so we all become better boaters. My wife had no boating experience and took the Power Squadron course at one of the high schools near our home. She found it really helpful, and graduation earned us a reduction in our boat insurance, a surprising benefit.

More coming – stay tuned…

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