The great legacy of wooden sailing yachts is clear. From Slocum’s Spray to the various well-known Herreshoff designs to Bermuda racers like Dorade, wooden boats led the way. Now, of course, fiberglass, carbon fiber and even more exotic materials are regularly employed in race boats and yachts. Yet, Alfie Sanford, the author of Wooden Boats for Blue Water Sailors, makes the case that wood, when allied with epoxy in the cold molding technique, is still a viable material for use in building sailboats.
Sanford begins with a short history of wooden yachts via some of the more famous examples. He follows with ideas about seaworthy boats and why wooden vessels still fit into that category, even in the age of plastic composites. More than merely a manifesto for wooden boats, though, the book also has extensive sections on design and construction concepts that demonstrate how the modern cold molded wooden vessel can be built. These sections draw on Sanford’s long experience at Sanford Boat, where he and his brother built or supervised the building of more than 29 Alerion class sloops, plus his time as part owner of Sanford-Wood Marine in Richmond, Calif., on San Francisco Bay.
In all, Wooden Boats is a beautifully designed, informative and inspirational book by a knowledgeable advocate for the wooden sailboat.