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Good Resource Books to have aboard?

By The Ithaka - Published May 05, 2006 - Viewed 1659 times

Good Resource Books

Reece F., from Southampton, England, wrote "My wife and I are at our eight-month countdown. The house is for sale, the boat is almost ready, and so are we. What practical books have proved to be the most valuable for you as ongoing resources?

From Douglas: The first two are by Nigel Calder. His encyclopedic Boatowners Mechanical and Electrical Manual, which is found on most cruising-boat bookshelves, is, for those of us who didn't spend our previous lives working full time in boat yards ( I sometimes wish I had), the most complete discussion of every major system on your boat. Calder goes into how they're designed, the theories on which they're based, what the regular maintenance needs are, how to perform them, what breaks most often, how to troubleshoot and diagnose problems, and how to fix them.

I find Calder and his book both overwhelming and invaluable. How CAN one man know so much? He's the guy I first turn to when something needs attention and I'm not sure how to go about it. His pictures and drawings are a godsend when trying to figure how something you took apart "ought to look" as you attempt to re-assemble it. Sometimes I've had to read sections a dozen times to grasp them, but that's just the reality of learning new material. Nigel's dry as dust, so go elsewhere for your high-octane reading, or think about each project as if you're the knight on a quest for the mechanical grail.

Refrigeration for Pleasure Boats, also by Nigel Calder, is nothing less than the Bible, Talmud, Koran, Book of Tao for refrigeration systems. When we moved aboard Ithaka, what I knew about refrigeration wouldn't have filled one cube in an ice tray, but Calder made it possible for me to understand enough about refrigeration to risk, finally, tackling the job of fixing a dead unit. That alone is a colossal endorsement for any book. He takes you step-by-step through every kind of refrigeration system. While this is not the kind of book I ever would have bought in our land lives, now I actually enjoy reading through it. Such is the nature of how things change. If you want to work on your own fridge, this book is a necessity. Because we had it on board, now we have cold food again.

Kathy Parson's Spanish for Cruisers: Boat Repairs and Maintenance Phrase Book is a practically laid out and tabbed manual that's far more poetic than its modest, utilitarian title suggests. This book is packed full of what almost all reference books lack, wit and perspective. In addition to essential phrases for everyday chit-chat, she's divided this handy gem into 25 sections that cover in detail every mechanical system or part on your boat: propane, stove, refrigeration, engine parts, structural terms, basic conversation with officials over the radio, getting along with workers in a boatyard. As a further commentary on how life has changed, I sometimes use her book to practice sentences and questions with Bernadette before going into a town to find parts. And I always take Kathy Parson with me in the knapsack, because once ashore, even if I mangle the words, I can point to her drawings and translations. She's been cruising for many years and before that was a Spanish teacher. For my money, she still is. You can order it from Aventuras Publishing Company, Rt. 4 Box 180, Hallettsville, Texas 77964, or you can contact the author by email or phone: Kathy@spanish4cruisers.com (361) 798-4159.

NOTE: Since writing the answer above in 2002, we'd add two more books: One, Kathy Parsons now has a brand-new book called French For Cruisers: Boat Repairs and Maintenance Phrase Book. And two, we've come to rely on the wisdom in Scott and Wendy Bannerot's The Cruiser's Guide to Fishing-- these two know more about fishing while cruising than anybody else on earth.

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