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Books and DVD's about sailboat racing, learn about sailboat racing. Learn to go faster, sailboat racing tactics and how to race the Optimist and Laser.

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Morning Light DVD
Review
Morning Light is the true chronicle of a hand-picked team of young people who are given the chance to train and compete in the Transpac sailing event, which has been Roy E. Disney's passion since the mid-seventies.

I'm not a sailor but I have run marathons and triathlons and know the feeling of those comparably small triumphs (though I'll never win -- in fact one year i was passed by a man walking his dog!) The character of the individuals chosen, their work ethic and team spirit is very sincere and a far cry from the preening, backstabbing types that infect many TV reality shows. This follows a reality show format with lots of comments from the participants as well as a selection process where several are eliminated and are left to send messages from the mainland (where the food seems to be really good).

I found it much more compelling then the current crop of Hollywood sports movies in which a ragtag bunch of can't-possibly-win team members somehow come together under a down-and-out coach and eventually win as music swells... you know what I mean. The crew in Morning Light are a very likable group of people who you find yourself routing for (parent's note: there are a handful of words that earned this film a PG rating, but not nearly the kind of language also common on many reality shows).

The photography is stunning, especially the night shots, which I'm hoping are not computer generated since they are so breathtaking (say it ain't so, Roy). The score is good too, with contemporary music, songs and even a number by members of the crew at the end of the film. Where's the soundtrack album?

There are only two extras but both are rich in rounding out the full scope of this project. Hannah Montana's Jason Earles hosts one feature about the film's production itself, which sheds more light on the camera work, training and other elements. An ESPN special focuses on the elimination, showing more of the earlier hopefuls and clearly how some with "attitudes" were wisely given a polite dismissal.

In a sea of poor role models, kids can certainly do worse then getting to know this group of youths who not only worked hard and showed integrity but also went on to promising futures in careers or continuing education.

Maximum Sail Power: The Complete Guide to Sails, Sail Technology, and Performance by Brian Hancock
Book Description
Written in concise, layperson's language and full of photographs and personal anecdotes, this book goes step-by-step through the process of creating and using sails. Provided is a definitive look at the latest developments in sails, sailcloth, engineering, hardware, and sail trim. Also offered are case studies that illustrate which fibers, fabrics, and sails are suitable for a variety of different sailing applications, from simple dinghies and day sailors to offshore racing and cruising yachts. Sailors of all levels of interest and ability will find information they can apply to their own boats and sail choices.

Captain's Quick Guides : Sail Trim and Rig Tuning (Captainís Quick Guides) by Bill Gladstone
Book Description
The essential information every boater needs--onboard and at your fingertips. On the water, when questions arise, there is no time to spend searching through an exhaustive manual.
The Captain's QuickGuides provide all the answers--fast. Drawn from the world's largest boating library, each laminated QuickGuide presents 14 colour panels of authoritative, concise information on a critical topic.
This on-the-spot reference is ideal for boaters who need a convenient, accessible, and utterly streamlined information resource.

The Mooneshine Logs by Francis Stokes
Midwest Book Review
The Mooneshine Logs is a wonderfully moving and insightful account covering Francis Stokes' modest beginnings in ocean racing to his later triumphs in his beloved Mooneshine.

Reviewer: Ronald C. Pearson from Houston, Texas
I have never had an interest in racing until I read, "The Moonshine Logs." This is an honest look at one man alone on the oceans of the world. Francis Stokes is not a superman, he is human and he tells you so. This book made me feel that I was out there in the races with the author and I loved being there. I have read it several times and intend to read it several more times. It has found a permanent home on my boat's bookshelf.
This Is Boat Tuning for Speed by Fred Imhoff, Lex Pranger
No review available
Race Winning Strategies: Smart Lessons With Deep Dakron by Tom Linskey, Tadami Takahashi(Illustrator)
SAIL Magazine, July 1996
A 15-minute dose of a chapter a day is the prescription to help whatever ails the racing program of the average club racer and to have fun while doing it. Book Description
Race Winning Strategies is an unconventional "how to race" book that introduces such wacky, but unique characters as Deep Dakron, Scratchen Sniff, Kent McBatten, and Zig Zag Brooke. Through their brisk banter, carried on in yacht club bars, sail lofts, and at races, we learn the secrets of successful sailboat racing in all kinds of weather and tactical situations.
Sail, Race and Win: Developing a Winning Attitude by Eric Twiname, Cathy Foster
Reviewer: alsarge from Bay Area, California
... as a lifelong sailor, this has been one of the best sailboat racing books I've read. More than specific sailboat racing tactics, the book discusses a whole approach to winning regattas.
Reviewer: A reader from Muncie, Indiana
Read Walker and still can't win? Twiname explores how we learn - or fail to learn - the techniques necessary for success in sailing. In a sport most of us learn without the benefit of an experienced coach, the author explains how you can be your own "sailing coach" and develope a training program to achieve your goals.
Sailor's Wind by Stuart H. Walker
Reviewer: A reader from Midwest USA
Worth at least ten places at last week's 60th anniversary Lightning regatta at Skaneateles in the New York Finger Lakes region. ( 175 or so boats in three fleets, 87 boats in our fleet)
All those little thermal downslope lifts coming off the side streams... 180 degree wind shift from downslope thermal to gradient wind right before leeward mark....just exactly as Walker described !
The Symmetry of Sailing: The Physics of Sailing for Yachtsmen by Ross Garrett, Dave Wilkie(Illustrator)
Reviewer: An Amazon.com Customer
While written some 12 years ago this book is as fresh as a daisy. Some of the topics are still breathtaking in their implications for the future of sailing such as sailing dead downwind faster than the wind.
Already practical yachts have sailed straight into the wind, and it just awaits the technology to acheive this down wind trick.
As well there are straight forward guides as to how to handle a yacht in the real world of racing, as well as sobering discussions on the effects of breaking seas.
All in all it has made me a far more aware sailor with the knowledge to plan for exciting sailing and future fun.

The Tactics of Small Boat Racing, by Stuart H. Walker, Carol H. Little (Illustrator)
Reviewer: John Flato from Houston, Texas
While there are many books on sailboat racing, this one is a real classic. My father had it on his bookshelf when he was competing in the Mallory finals back in the 1960s and it is just as relevant today. I found it a very readable book. Dr. Walker covers the basics in enough depth that those who work at appling his lessons can expect to be at the top of the fleet in most club regattas. He gives many verbal illustrations of his points using his own experience in one design and Olympic competition.

Sailing Smart: Winning Techniques, Tactics, and Strategies by Buddy and Mason, Charles Melges
Reviewer: bjm00se from San Jose, California
This book is a fast read, so it's easy to recognize (and reinforce) what you already know, while picking out the new stuff you didn't know that will help you race faster.
As an example, here are three things that I benefited from immediately. After you read the book, you'll have your own list.
1. The mental aspect of boat preparation. You have to do whatever it takes to KNOW that your boat is fast and ready to win. Otherwise, when you're going slow you'll be making excuses instead of finding what's wrong and fixing it.
2. A killer diagram showing spinnaker pole positioning for reaching. This diagram makes it completely obvious what to do, but it's TOTALLY contrary to the "prevailing wisdom" among most of the folks I sail with. But the first time I used Buddy's position, boy did we point with that chute!
3. A great description of "feathering" the boat upwind on the beat.
As always, the winning combination is read, then sail, read some more, sail some more, then repeat. If you don't go on the water to practice, no book can help you.
The downside is that the book was written before the new racing rules came into effect, so be sure you're fully familiar with the rules before taking Buddy's advice on tactics that rely specifically on rules for their validity. (For example, in one circumstance the advice to a leeward boat is to luff up quickly, and "tap" a windward boat, fouling them out of the race. You'll be on thin ice if you try this in the new rules, with their clear emphasis on the importance of avoiding collisions.)

Championship Tactics: How Anyone Can Sail Faster, Smarter and Win Races by Gary Jobson
Reviewer: A reader
This is a great reference book for any racing enthusiast. It is not really the type of book that you can sit down and read cover to cover, but rather allows the reader to consult a number of topics in the order that they choose. It is an excellent source for the fundamentals of advanced racing (if that makes any sense). Reads very easily, but there is a lot of stuff in here to absorb. I highly recommend this, it should be in every racer's home library.

Advanced Racing Tactics by Stuart H. Walker
Reviewer: An Amazon.com Customer Anyone who has read Mr. Walker's work understands that he takes a very technical and analyitcal look at the sport of yacht racing. It is definatly an effort to get through the book, and I feel that the beginner will not get much out of it. Overall, he is very thorough and on target. There is much to be learned from the book, and it will make a person a better racer. One humorous aspect of the book (and all of Mr. Walker's writing, for that matter) is that most of his examples consists of times that he has screwed up and lost the race. The reader occasionally wonders whether he should be taking his advice.... ;) However, the examples are often excellent illustrations of the point he is trying to make.

High Performance Sailing by Frank Bethwaite
Reviewer: A reader from Southampton, Hants UK
I thought I knew about meteorology, waves, boatbuilding and sailing. I have a first class Cambridge degree in physics, have sailed and raced various boats (dinghies and sailboards) for 30 years and designed one fast dinghy. I thought I was one smart dude. Words begin to fail me. Wow! I wish I had known this lot 30 years ago. It turns out that I was pig ignorant. The book is the best I have ever seen on what the wind does. It's the best ever on how to handle it. It's extremely good on rigs and how to adjust them. It's not just the best ever, it's streets ahead. Don't expect to read it quickly. There is a vast amount to take in. If you really know your stuff you might get through it in a few weeks. Better to plan on a whole winter.

Sail Performance : Techniques to Maximize Sail Power by Czesaw A. Marchaj
Book Description
Fully updated, this authoritative and richly illustrated standard reference offers the latest information on rig design, sail construction and trim, wind-sail interaction, and the structure of the wind. From his 40 years of research and wind-tunnel tests, acknowledged expert Marchaj describes how these factors affect sail power and why certain rigs are superior in power and efficiency. Accessible and nonmathematical, this major work represents the cutting-edge wisdom on sailboat performance and makes a significant contribution to our understanding of this absorbing, complex subject.

Aero-Hydrodynamics of Sailing by Czesaw A. Marchaj
Reviewer: mike_w-usa from Amherst, Massachusetts
I became a fan of Marchaj's work when my wife gave me a copy of of his Theory and Practice of Sailing. I went through it without pausing. From there I moved on to Aero-Hydordynamics and found this too to be a well written book if you have the right background to understand the material. I come from an electrical engineering and physics background and with the tools those disciplines give me, I was able to get a great deal out of the book. I'm not sure this is the right book for someone with a non-technical background but for someone with technical training, it's an excellent introduction to the principles that affect how a boat is moved through the water by the wind.

Sailing Theory and Practice by Czesaw A. Marchaj
Reviewer: A reader from Charlotte, NC
One of the most important books on saliling, sailboat racing, and boat construction published in the 20th century. Loaded with detailed (yet easy to follow) charts, graphs and illustrated diagrams. This is a book that really should be part of any comprehensive personal reference library of any serious sailing enthusiast.

Around the Buoys: A Manual of Sailboat Racing Tactics and Strategy by Michael Huck
Reviewer: Doug Goldenberg from Medford, Oregon
Pretty good, but there are some concepts that are not explained in a very clear way. Particularly, wind shifts. There are various explanations of playing the shifts throughout the book, based on the idea of predictiing shifts and acting accordingly, but they are often rather mysterious. Also, some ideas are outdated due to rules changes. A new, improved edition would be great.

The New Book of Sail Trim, by Ken Textor
Practical Boat Owner, March 1996
...it is fair to say that there can hardly be any owner whose sailing would not benefit from these articles. Because each is of modest, 'magazine', length, they form a book into which one can dip when one has ten or fifteen minutes to spare. That makes it easier to assimilate the knowledge and experience that has been presented by so many experts. It is worth its price.
Book Description
From the pages of Sail Magazine, comes the first new anthology in nearly 15 years on the popular subject of sail trim. Withh 44 articles that have never before appeared in book form, The New Book of Sail Trim provides concise, easy-to-understand instruction in every facet of sails and sail handling.

The Best of Sail Trim, by Charles Mason
Book Description
An anthology of authoritative articles from Sail Magazine. Includes ideas and practices from leading yachtsman, sailmakers, and designers concerned with all aspects of the sport from cruising to racing and dingies to keelboats.

Illustrated Sail & Rig Tuning by Ivar Dedekam
Reviewer: John Flato from Houston, Texas
This is my favorite book on sail trim. It not only explains what to do, but why to do it. It is organized well and has great illustations. It is not just for novices, but has information that more experienced sailors will find useful. For example, it has pages with illustrations showing the comparative (in percentages) sail drafts to use for various winds strengths and conditions.

A Manual of Sail Trim by Stuart H. Walker, Tom Price (Illustrator)
Reviewer: bjm00se from San Jose, California
If you've got a couple of seasons of serious sailing (racing) under your belt, and you're looking to improve your mastery of sail trim, this book can aid in understanding. This is not the most approachable read, but it's equally true that there is detailed knowledge here that you just won't find anywhere else. Another reviewer pointed out that the book is organized by sail controls, not by conditions, or shapes you want to achieve. But it's very important to point out that great information about desirable sail shapes and how they are appropriate to various conditions IS contained in the book. For instance, my understanding of how much sail twist to put in, based on wind strength and water smoothness comes from applying what I read in Walker.

Optimist Racing: A Manual for Sailors, Parents & Coaches by Phil Slater
Reviewer: Carl-Magnus Cedercreutz from Helsingfors, Finland
This is book that is good for serious sailors and their coaches. It is thorough and probably the best overall racing guidebook for optimist sailing. It's well written but so stuffed with information that it's a book to read over and over again.
For a younger audience the "The WINNER'S GUIDE TO OPTIMIST SAILING" is better. That one is not quite as comprehensive but is also well written and with substatial information. It's a book the children could read on their own.

Winning in One-Designs by Dave Perry
Reviewer: John E. Fracisco from El Segundo, California
This is a great book and I recommend it to everybody that is interested in racing sailboats. Dave Perry has competed at the highest levels of the sport, and this collection of anecdotes underscores his experiences. Compared to Stuart Walker's muddled and confusing writing, Dave Perry's examples and experiences are valuable and clear, and I am also encouraged by the fact that all of the situations are in one design sailboats.

The Winner's Guide to Optimist Sailing by Gary Jobson, Jay Kehoe (Contributor), Brad Dellenbaugh (Illustrator), Dan Nerny (Illustrator)
Reviewer: A reader from Mid-Atlantic USA
Contrary to another review, this book DOES tell a kid how to rig the boats, gives important information about doing so, as well as good guidelines for seamanship and racing tactics. An altogether readable, understandable guide for both kids and parents. If your kid is starting to sail, get them off on the right tack by giving them this book, and you as a parent should also read it. It's a sensible, easily-understood book, written with humor and plenty of information.

The Complete Book of Laser Sailing by Dick Tillman, Richard L. Tillman
Reviewer: intelligo from Boston, Massachusetts
After sailing other dinghies for a couple of years, I started sailing Lasers this summer, and picked this book to improve my technique. The book's guidance definitely improved my abilities and helped me to tame this fantastic boat, which I sail almost exclusively now. While acknowledging the benefits of the book, the authors should address the uneven quality of the diagrams and their relation to the text. In fact, after four editions it is high time for a redesign of the graphics.
For example, a basic skill for tacking and jibing is a "behind-the-back" maneuver that would best be explained with a series of pictures. There are several examples of this throughout the book, and when there is a relevant diagram or picture, the quality varies.
While I hope the authors address this criticism, there is nevertheless a wealth of information and advice that can be gleaned, espcially if one has a reasonably vivid imagination. I rate this book a worthwhile buy, especially because of the dearth of books on the Laser.
Wind Strategy by David Houghton
No review available

Championship Laser Racing by Glenn Bourke and Mark Rutherford
Reviewer: A reader from Downey, California
This short albeit complete book explains many of the basic sailing techniques and tactics that Glenn Bourke used while winning his three world championships. Some of the techniques differ from those suggested by other books (Tillman), but it is difficult to argue with his undeniable success.
A basic knowledge of sailing is assumed, and terms are rarely defined. Some of the tactics employed seem a little unsportsman-like but none really violate the letter of the law. The author's approach to winning can be summed up in his own words, "when you're out there to win you have to be totally selfish and look after number one." Although I and many other sailors wouldn't agree with his philosophy, we do understand his competitiveness and zeal to win. Employing some of his questionable tactics are thus up to the individual. Even if you wouldn't use his suggestions, you should at the very least read up on them so that you can guard against them while you race.
Aside from the questionable tactics, this book does provide you with an excellent basis on how to sail well in a laser. If you follow the many techniques he mentions you will drastically improve your sailing skills. Furthermore you get a glimpse into the life of a fairly interesting character and his take on world championship racing.

Laser Campaign Manual Masterclass by Ben Ainslie
Reviewer: A reader from UK
There is a CD included which is not mentioned by the advert. This shows Ben demonstrating 9 disciplines, such as starting and running downwind, with his voice narrating. This makes the techniques come to life and a lot easier to follow.
You can't really argue with the advice of the Olympic Gold Medallist - this book has already taken precious seconds off my times! No Laser Sailor can afford to be without this book!!!
Rig Your Dinghy Right: A Design and Installation Guide for Racing Sailors by John Hodgart (Contributor), Mark Chisnell
Reviewer: A reader from Johannesburg, South Africa
The book is fantastic. It is the first book I have found that shows all types of rigging techniques as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each. There are many pictures of the systems on different boats with a couple of schematic diagrams. I would say the book is targeted at racers primarily, be it at club or national level. Its a very useful book if you are refitting a boat, as I did.
America's Cup - Virtual Skipper, CD-ROM
Amazon.com Product Description
America's Cup: Virtual Skipper is the first true 3-D regatta simulation for the PC. The game contains three levels of difficulty for all skill levels. For those new to sailing, a tutorial is included. Water conditions include wind fields, weather, and currents. Real-time arbitration follows the international racing rules. Stretches of water include La Trinite sur Mer, Hauraki Gulf, Maria Island, and the San Francisco Bay. Two modes or regatta are included: fleet racing (up to eight players) or match racing. Captain 24- and 45-foot boats or a 70-foot racer. The behavior and responsiveness of the crafts re-create the sensations of being a helmsman.
Reviewer: A gamer from Las Vegas, Nevada
This is one of the easiest and best looking sailing program/software that I have seen. If you're in tune with the America's Cup, you'll find the graphic qualities close to what was available on line with VirtualCup. The oceanic and sailboats are smartly rendered. There is an ability to play against other players online, which is great in itself. The interface is easy to use and sailing is a cinche. I would recommend this to anyone interested in the America's Cup or sailing in general. There could be a few improvements, but its nothing that can't be overlooked.

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