The Voyager’s Handbook: The Essential Guide to Bluewater Cruising. Second Edition
By Beth A. Leonard International Marine, Camden, Maine/McGraw Hill
Who is it that picks up a book titled The Voyager’s Handbook? Is it the coastal cruiser planning to make a first bluewater voyage? Is it the experienced offshore sailor looking for a reference guide to keep on board? The answer is both. This guide will also inform latecomers to recent upgrades in GPS, satellite communication, watermakers, solar panels and battery systems. “These pages contain everything I wish I had known when we first set sail,” Beth Leonard writes. “I hope they will help you cast off the docklines and begin a new life.”
A new life: A bold possibility belonging to those who aim offshore and cruise the world. Leonard also hints at the likely gains of increased self-sufficiency, a willingness to make do with less and an ability to entertain oneself, alongside a deepened sense of self-discovery. Although the bulk of planning and maintenance may revolve around the mechanical details related to your boat, Leonard continues to return to the human element as the core of the experience. In other words, it’s all about you.
She explains to would-be voyagers that “Voyaging is not even primarily about sailing … voyaging is a way of life.” This humanistic approach to the offshore life can be seen in her choice for a first chapter titled “Your Crew” that focuses on the fundamental need for an enthusiastic and willing crew in order to succeed. Alongside a willing crew, a sturdy boat and a bit of money are the basics for getting started. The multiple tables scattered throughout the handbook distill the immense quantity of information from a comparison of on-board weather resources to provisioning by type of port.
As a resource, The Voyager’s Handbook is a must. It’s great for reading on a long passage, excellent for cross referencing anytime and a must for the new life of a bluewater sailor.