Bookstore Might Have the Perfect Gift

Water Ways
Honolulu Star Bulletin (12/13/97)
By Ray Pendleton

Do you have boating enthusiasts on your shopping list? There are only 12 more days until Christmas and I know how hard it is to find just the right thing.

Buying something for someone else's boat is like trying to help them accessorize their house. It is a personal thing, where one person's necessity is another's complete waste of space.

One place I have always felt safe in finding gifts for most boaters is at the book store, or the book section at one of our marine hardware stores, like West or Ala Wai Marine.

Book selections in the "how to" variety range from seamanship and navigation, to carpentry and cooking. Then there are the great sea stories like Melville's "Moby Dick" or Conrad's "Mirror of the Sea" and biographies like Darwin's "Voyage of the Beagle" or Dana's "Two Years Before the Mast."

For any boater, one of the most enduring and useful of the "how to" books is the "Ashley Book of Knots" by Clifford W. Ashley. First printed by Doubleday in 1944, and showing some 3,900 different knots, this is the definitive work on knot-tying and marlinspike seamanship in general.

A new book about boats in general is "The Nature of Boats," by Dave Gerr. Offering "insights and esoterica for the nautically obsessed," it covers just about everything you ever wanted to know about how a boat works. Topics include hull shapes, displacement, and trim; engines and propellers; and the nature of sail power.

Following the lead of the high-tech world, there is now a bright yellow book out called "Sailing for Dummies," by J.J. and Peter Isler. As a guide to those newly bit by the boating bug, it gives all the basics and more.

The art of maintaining a boat's brightwork, a.k.a., stripping, sanding, oiling and varnishing wood, may be the antithesis of high tech. But, Rebecca Whitman has written a beautiful, heavily illustrated book, "Brightwork, The Art of Finishing Wood", to help those who care for their boat's fine points.

For the fiberglass boat owner, there is the humorous "This Old Boat," written by Don Casey. This book covers all that is needed to know to maintain or rebuild nearly any boat constructed of fiberglass.

Because medical emergencies can happen at any time, perhaps one of the best gift books available is "The Onboard Medical Handbook" by Dr. Paul G. Gill, Jr. This comprehensive guide covers, in laymen's terms, virtually every medical situation that might arise at sea.

Whether your sailor is planning on cruising the Pacific, or just dreaming about it, it would be hard to find a better book than Earl Hinz' classic "Landfalls of Paradise, a Cruising Guide to the Pacific Islands." It is seamanship, culture, history and geography all rolled into one very readable text.

For a true sailing adventure story, I can think of none better than the 100-year-old tale, "Sailing Alone Around the World" by Captain Joshua Slocum, the first person to ever make a singlehanded circumnavigation. Slocum's vivid descriptions draw fascinating pictures of his sailing experiences at the turn of the last century.

In contrast to Slocum's book, I would also recommend John Jourdane's "Icebergs, Port and Starboard," a story of his experiences in the 1989 Whitbread Round the World Race, the 33,000-mile "Mount Everest of yachting."

Good shopping, and I hope this list will help.

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