Book Review: How to Sail Around the
World : Advice and Ideas for Voyaging Under Sail
Author: Hal Roth
Reviewed by Mike Bastin
Most sailors I know have "the Dream", the dream to one day sail around
the world or at least do some extensive sailing to various remote parts of
it. I am no exception to that. Get to 60, retire comfortably and hit the big
blue! At least that was the plan, and then I had the fortunate experience of
reading Hal Roth's book 'How to Sail Around the World'.
Roth brings a lifetime of experience to his writing and the book reflects
this. It is well researched and comprehensive but not in a stuffy textbook
way. From choice of hulls to sea safety he covers everything that an
aspiring blue water sailor would want to know while using language and
anecdotes that would keep even armchair sailors enthralled.
His writing style is one that creates an enjoyable read, counter pointing
caution with seizing the day such as advising readers to maybe start small
with short sails that push the comfort levels without committing to a life
at sea. If you enjoy it on the one hand, donít wait for retirement, get out
there younger. He backs up a lot of his points with real life stories, such
as the one about the sailor who commissioned a beautiful new sailboat only
to find out his wife hated sailing on their first time on the water.
I was particularly interested in the chapters on hull choice, boat size and
rig as there never seems to be a definitive answer on what works best out
there. Of course Roth doesn't categorically say what to choose either but he
does weigh the pros and cons of each area with often brutal honesty and
leaves the decision over what is best to the reader. As he points out
repeatedly in the book, it really comes down to each reader's personal
situation and preferences.
The biggest problem with planning for offshore cruising is knowing where to
start, and how to make the right decisions to avoid financial or emotional
ruin. This book takes the reader on an informative fun narrative that covers
every aspect of extended cruising under sail. It will make you think
carefully about your choices but the positive tone won't dissuade you
unnecessarily from your dream.
Even those whose aspirations are a little more restrained will find the book
useful. Most of the advice contained in it is just as pertinent for day
sailors or weekend cruisers as for long distance blue water cruisers and the
language, illustrations and anecdotes make it all very easy to understand
even for novice sailors.
I still have the dream, but after reading Roth's book I think I'll start a
little smaller, a little earlier and definitely a little smarter. This book
is a must read for aspiring blue water sailors and for those who just dream
and has become a permanent part of my reference library.
Marine/Ragged Mountain Press
Mike Bastin is an ASA Sailing Instructor who sails and teaches for
Northern Breezes Sailing School in Minnesota. Mike was born in Australia and
has been sailing since he was 7.
All contents are copyright (c) 2006 by
Northern Breezes, Inc. All information contained within is deemed reliable
but carries no guarantees. Reproduction of any part or whole of this
publication in any form by mechanical or electronic means, including
information retrieval is prohibited except by consent of the publisher.