The Trailer Sailer Owner’s Manual
by Gregg Nestor
A Book Review by Tony Green

“Another book on trailer sailing?” my wife asked. Her sentiments echoed mine when I first picked up The Trailer Sailer Owner’s Manual, by Gregg Nestor. But knowing Mr. Nestor’s reputation as a boating author, I gave his new book a chance and was very glad that I did.

The Trailer Sailer Owner’s ManualSeveral chapters and a surprising amount of new information made this book stand out from others in my library. There are sections on buying and selling a boat and a very thorough discussion on the often-neglected trailer. After all, “trailer sailer” begins with trailer, Nestor points out. The weather primer is excellent, as is the list of Amish cleaning supplies; simple, inexpensive and environmentally friendly compounds for any boat cleaning job. There also are the expected topics on anchors, knots, batteries, outboards and the like that are informative and thorough.

The short, focused chapters provide for easy reading and make it easy to skip a chapter without losing continuity. There are a few obscure topics that will likely be skimmed by most, such as reducing electrical noise interference and blocks and tackles. Knowing the difference between a Gun Tackle and a Luff Tackle may be salty, but isn’t practical knowledge for the average trailer sailer, in my opinion. Likewise, I found the section on sealants and adhesives to be very helpful, but you’ll need to sift through a lot of specialty chemical jargon to answer the question “what should I rebed my cam cleats with?” I found the discussion on acrylic polymer latex versus vinyl polymer latex interesting, but suspect that many readers won’t. If this is you, just skip to the recommendations list at the end of the chapter.

There are several chapters alone that are worth the price of the entire book. One is the section on float plans; specifically the recommendation to leave a copy under the windshield wiper of your tow vehicle at the launch ramp. I’ve since adopted this practice and always do it when solo-sailing in order to expedite search and rescue efforts if ever necessary. And the final chapter consisting of 11 pages of checklists is also priceless. Using these lists could pay for the book many times over from one avoided mishap.

Another book on trailer sailing? Yes, but I’m adding this one to my library.

Publisher: Paradise Cay
Publications, Inc.
Arcata, California
Copyright 2008

Tony Green has been boating since 1985, including eight years on U.S. Navy nuclear submarines. He currently teaches for Northern Breezes Sailing School and sails with his wife and two daughters on Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis, on the St. Croix River and on Lake Superior.