The Complete Guide to Choosing a Cruising Sailboat
By Marshall, Roger

Do you hear the siren song of the sea? Prepare for your dream voyage--by finding your perfect sailboat. It's not as hard as you think . . . when you have a master naval architect at your side.

In this one-of-a-kind book, leading boat designer Roger Marshall walks you through the process of choosing the perfect boat for your sailing lifestyle. Along the way, you will acquire a deep understanding of the many factors that go into a boat's performance, comfort, and seaworthiness, and learn how to choose among them to meet your requirements and preferences.

Marshall takes you step-by-step as he conceives and develops five prototype sailboats with widely varying design objectives: a Weekender, a Cruiser, a Voyager, a Single-Hander, and a Cruiser/Racer. The 200 illustrations "take you aboard," showing you clearly how the choices and compromises of boat design are made and what they mean to performance.

You'll learn about the features that make for a good cruising sailboat, from the basic choices (inshore or offshore), weekend or long-term cruising, occasional racing or nonracing) all the way to the finer points of hull shape and sail plan. And you'll gain a solid understanding of your sailboat-to-be: what it will do . . . what it won't do . . . and why. Seakindliness, performance, handling characteristics of different rigs, comfort on passages or weekends--it's all here, in clear language.

Beyond the basics, you will learn how to judge any sailboat, new or used, including

  • How to pick the best keel shape for your sailing area
  • What the subtle and not-so-subtle signs of comfort are
  • What makes a cockpit pleasant and functional
  • When a pilothouse makes sense, and when it doesn't
  • How to estimate the total cost of buying a boat (not the cost the salesperson gives you)
  • Why some boats sail better under almost all conditions than other boats, and why that may not be important

Plus, you'll learn how to determine in advance how much blood, toil, tears, and sweat your dream boat will cost you in maintenance (so small thing).

Best of all, you'll find Marshall's 12-page comparison table of production sailboats from all over the world, packed with information about 130 boats--length, beam, draft, displacement, ballast, sail area, fuel and water capacities, performance ratios, capsize and comfort ratios, and more, all tabulated for convenient and revealing comparisons.

With this book's help, you will board your own "ideal" vessel, satisfied that you're familiar with your boat from the masthead down and certain that it will bring you years of sailing pleasure.


DOI: 10.1036/0070419981

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Author Biography

Roger Marshall (Jamestown, RI) is the technical editor for Soundings and the author of ten yachting books. After designing for the legendary firm of Sparkman & Stephens, he founded his own design company and has created boats from 15 to 65 feet in length.


The Complete Guide to Choosing a Cruising Sailboat
Author(s): Marshall, Roger
ISBN: 0070419981
DOI: 10.1036/0070419981

Format: hardcover, 214 pages.
Pub date: 30 Apr 1999
Copyright: 1999
$25.95 US
Product Line: International Marine/Ragged Mountain Press (McGraw-Hill)

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