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Product Description

Completely revised and updated to address changes in technology and safety standards, this new edition is the definitive guide to the art and science of sailing.

“The art of sailing, maneuvering, and preserving a ship or a boat in all positions and under all reasonable circumstances.” With the addition of the words, “and some unreasonable circumstances, too,” this definition of “seamanship” is as valid today as when the first edition of this book was published in 1983. The aim remains to advise you the sailor on essential gear, skills, and behavior that enhance your pleasure and safety.

This edition of The Annapolis Book of Seamanship is an extensive update. Much of the text is new or revised, and there are many new photos. Throughout, the book stresses the skills and attitudes that comprise what the author calls “The Seamanship Ethos.” The first four chapters cover the boat, basic sailing skills, sail trim, and weather, with the first of many “Hands On” sections with their tips.

The topics of health (including seasickness) and on board safety follow, with lessons learned from on-water tests and studies of boating accidents. We look closely at the elements of piloting, navigation, and electronics, including Digital Selective Calling, the US Coast Guard’s emergency communication system.

Moving on to the arts of traditional seamanship—anchoring, heavy weather, and emergencies there is much on modern equipment and skills, again based on experience. The book ends with boat maintenance and the traditions that make sailing the beloved pastime it is. Appendixes include best practices for protecting the marine environment and bringing up children under sail.

Review

The Annapolis Book of Seamanship is an essential book for every mariner, and a must-read reference for every seasoned or first-time sailor. I keep one copy at home and another on my boat. Every topic is easy to find, and the graphics and pictures are extremely helpful. John has had a remarkable career as a top small boat sailor, blue water racer, and adventure cruiser and is one of America''s most acclaimed experts on safety at sea.” -- Gary Jobson

“There is no other book as comprehensive or as readable as The Annapolis Book of Seamanship, and this 4th edition sets a new benchmark. Completely revised sections, including safety, heavy weather, electronics, health, emergencies and more, make the book more than 50% new. This is the one book that should be on every sailor’s bookshelf.” -- Chris Caswell ― editor of CharterSavvy,author Greatest Sailing Stories Ever Told

“Since the first edition, The Annapolis Book of Seamanship has been the definitive source for sailing and seamanship. The new 4th edition brings this essential reference up to date with the latest in equipment and sailing technique. There is nothing else like it. Clear and concise, yet complete; The Annapolis Book of Seamanship covers this vast topic with a clarity in organization, language, and presentation to allow thorough understanding, and with enough depth and detail to provide real substance. This is the book I go to, and the one I recommend to sailors of every experience level.” -- Bill Gladstone ― Director, North U, co-author The Instant Handbook of Boat Handling, Navigation, and Seamanship

From the Author

New material in The Annapolis Book of Seamanship (page xi)


The 4th edition of The Annapolis Book of Seamanship is an extensive update and development of its predecessors. One-third of the text is new, and so are many photos (almost all of Mark Smith''s brilliant drawings remain). Through all this, the book''s mission has not changed. The aim for 30 years has been to advise you the sailor on essential gear, skills, and attitudes that will enhance your pleasure and safety wherever you sail, in whichever boat you sail. Among the things haven''t changed are that Chapters 1 and 2 continue to provide basic knowledge to help you get started, with much more detail in subsequent chapters. There are more "Hands On" sections with their tips and checklists. A continuing theme is that while modern equipment is a fine thing to have and use, some traditional skills and methods remain important.

Equipment updates run throughout the book. The chapters on the boat, sails, rigging, and heavy weather include many new developments in gear and in methods, but the sections that have undergone the most change are the ones on electronic instruments and on safety.

The early 21st century has seen the introduction of three GPS-enabled systems: locator beacons, the Automatic Identification System (AIS), and Digital Selective Calling (DSC), which is the backbone of the U.S. Coast Guard''s Rescue 21 system that have transformed the ways in which we communicate on the water.

The chapters on health, safety, heavy weather, and emergencies have been completely overhauled to take account of new knowledge about seasickness, hypothermia, fatigue, and other crucial health issues, along with new developments in planning for and managing emergencies and calling for assistance.

This edition features a considerable amount of knowledge acquired from four sources with which I have been extensively engaged for many years. Many lessons have been learned in these reviews, and they are reported here.

1. On-water tests. I helped organize and wrote the report for the Crew Overboard Rescue Symposium, held on San Francisco Bay in 2005. This was a significant four days of testing a vast range of safety equipment and methods used in cruising and racing monohulls and multihulls, and in powerboats. Later, when safety concerns turned to sailing dinghies and other small boats, I participated in and wrote the report for tests of sailor retrieval, capsize recovery, and entrapment hold on Long Island Sound in 2012.

2. Hanson Medal reports. Nearly 200 sailors have been awarded the Arthur B. Hanson Rescue Medal by the Safety-at-Sea Committee of U.S. Sailing Association (U.S. Sailing). Each announcement contains a detailed report on the accident. I have served as coordinator of the Hanson Medal program and as a member of the Safety at Sea Committee for many years.

3. Safety seminars. Since speaking at one of the first large safety seminars, held at the U.S. Naval Academy in January 1980 (my subject was lessons learned from the 1979 Fastnet Race storm), I have moderated or spoken at more than 100 of these events, ranging across the country as well as in Canada and England. They include Safety at Sea seminars sponsored by U.S. Sailing, Cruising and Seamanship seminars sponsored by North U (the educational arm of North Sails), and Suddenly Alone and other yacht club safety training events.

4. Inquiries into incidents. I sailed in the stormy 1979 Fastnet Race and wrote a book, Fastnet, Force 10, about it. My later storm book, After the Storm, concerns accidents and their consequences in maritime history. More recently there have been highly detailed reports of inquiries into seven accidents: the fatal grounding of PriceWaterhouseCoopers off Australia (2009); the fatal capsize of a 420 dinghy at Annapolis, Md. (2011); the fatal capsize of WingNuts in a race on Lake Michigan (2011); the capsize of Rambler 100 off Ireland (2011); the fatal grounding of Low Speed Chase off San Francisco (2012); the fatal grounding of Aegean off San Diego (2012); and the evacuation of a sailor from Seabiscuit during the Newport Bermuda Race (2012). I wrote or co-authored the reports on the dinghy, Wingnuts, and Newport Bermuda Race incidents.

All this should not be read to mean that there are more accidents today than in past maritime history. Rather, many sailors are working harder to learn from accidents - which is a good sign that the future may be healthier and safer for all of us who go to sea for pleasure and challenge.


John Rousmaniere

About the Author

John Rousmaniere, a devoted sailor since youth, has some 40,000 miles of blue water behind him, including ocean passages, nine Newport–Bermuda Races, and other major races in small and big boats.

In 2013 the US Sailing Association honored Rousmaniere’s work in boating education, including The Annapolis Book of Seamanship, by presenting him with its Timothea Larr Award, which recognizes “a person whose vision and guidance have made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of sailor education in the United States.”

He has spoken at more than 100 safety seminars and clinics across North America and served on the Safety-at-Sea Committees of US Sailing and the Cruising Club of America, the Bermuda Race Organizing Committee, and review panels of boating accidents. He is a member of the Cruising Club of America, the New York Yacht Club, and US Sailing, and serves on the selection committees of the National Sailing Hall of Fame and the America’s Cup Hall of Fame.

He coordinated the US Sailing Association’s Arthur B. Hanson Rescue Medal program, which recognizes mariners who make rescues. John’s videos include The Annapolis Book of Seamanship DVD Series. In 2014 Mystic Seaport presented him its W.P. Stephens Award for contributions to yachting history.

Rousmaniere is a chronicler of the pastime he loves. He has written books about sailing history, yacht design, the America’s Cup, maritime photography, and storms. His book Fastnet, Force 10 was hailed as “A narrative worthy of the best sea literature.” Stuart Woods said about After the Storm, “No one writes about the violence of the sea better than John Rousmaniere.”

Descended from a French soldier who fought in the American Revolution, Rousmaniere lives in New York City with his wife, Leah Ruth Robinson. He takes special pleasure racing in classic wooden boats, cruising across the Gulf Stream in more modern ones, and exploring marshes with his grandchildren in a small catboat.

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Customer reviews

4.8 out of 54.8 out of 5
361 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Jane Public
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
The Go-To for Images of Old White Guys Sailing
Reviewed in the United States on December 6, 2020
4th edition, it’s terrific to see they’ve updated beyond thoughtless male centered mythology by including images of actual women skippers (gasp!) at the helm (oh my!) directing their crew(wow!) Oh Wait! — Never-mind, they ‘updated’ the book, but not their fragile little boy... See more
4th edition, it’s terrific to see they’ve updated beyond thoughtless male centered mythology by including images of actual women skippers (gasp!) at the helm (oh my!) directing their crew(wow!) Oh Wait! — Never-mind, they ‘updated’ the book, but not their fragile little boy oblivious egos.
6 people found this helpful
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Wind Singer
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A book that should be required reading for any boater ...
Reviewed in the United States on November 17, 2014
A book that should be required reading for any boater. I didn''t have any friends that could teach me how to sail and could not afford someone to teach me but believe it or not I learned (even thou through trial and error) how to sail just from the information in it. I''m not... See more
A book that should be required reading for any boater. I didn''t have any friends that could teach me how to sail and could not afford someone to teach me but believe it or not I learned (even thou through trial and error) how to sail just from the information in it. I''m not a race sailor but I''ve sailed the gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic so I guess one could say I''m an accomplished sailor.
49 people found this helpful
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John Yeary
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A recommended read for anyone interested in Sailing from a novice to a seasoned sailor.
Reviewed in the United States on September 28, 2017
This is the third purchase I have made over time of this book. My previous copies were dog eared and falling apart from usage. It is very well written and informative. It has been considered "the book" for learning sailing. I have been away from the sport for a long... See more
This is the third purchase I have made over time of this book. My previous copies were dog eared and falling apart from usage. It is very well written and informative. It has been considered "the book" for learning sailing. I have been away from the sport for a long time, and got the book as a refresher. It has served me well from the time I was a Sea Scout through Maine Maritime Academy and beyond. A recommended read for anyone interested in Sailing from a novice to a seasoned sailor. I seem to learn something every time I read it.
10 people found this helpful
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Chris G.
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
My download did not come with the illustrations.
Reviewed in the United States on March 5, 2019
The price of the book was fairly expensive so the fact that my download did not include illustrations make this purchases totally worthless. It could be that The download went wrong. I would like to try again but as I’m offshore getting internet access is pretty sketchy. I... See more
The price of the book was fairly expensive so the fact that my download did not include illustrations make this purchases totally worthless. It could be that The download went wrong. I would like to try again but as I’m offshore getting internet access is pretty sketchy. I have a hard copy of the book which is great. This without the illustrations. Not so much.

UPDATE - I downloaded the book again and it came through with the illustrations.
4 people found this helpful
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Lana C. Reigart
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
This was a requested gift
Reviewed in the United States on January 22, 2021
My husband specifically asked for this book for Christmas. He is a life long sailor and constantly reading. We have both participated in sailing skills classes at Annapolis Sailing Academy. He has not had complaints. However there was a printing error in the book. One... See more
My husband specifically asked for this book for Christmas. He is a life long sailor and constantly reading. We have both participated in sailing skills classes at Annapolis Sailing Academy. He has not had complaints. However there was a printing error in the book. One of the pages was folded over and misprinted. It was quite a pricey book for this type of error.
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Motorhead
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
I had the first edition and it was a priceless source of information when learning to sail!
Reviewed in the United States on September 11, 2017
Bought it for my son, I had the first edition. Found it to be what I consider, the authoritative source for written information when learning to sail!
3 people found this helpful
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Kurazy Dad
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
I''ll read it several times
Reviewed in the United States on January 29, 2017
Definitely worth the read for the newer sailor. Not the first book you should read if you''ve never sailed, but once you know what a luffing sail means and the difference between a tack and a gybe you can start to appreciate a lot of what this book has to offer. It will... See more
Definitely worth the read for the newer sailor. Not the first book you should read if you''ve never sailed, but once you know what a luffing sail means and the difference between a tack and a gybe you can start to appreciate a lot of what this book has to offer. It will help you understand how to take your sailing experience to a higher, more skilled level.
5 people found this helpful
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Skygonzo
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A Wonderful Resource
Reviewed in the United States on March 3, 2021
This is quite possibly the best book ever written on the topic. Seemingly complex sailing concepts and maneuvers are masterfully broken down and brought to the reader with such precision and grace one''s solid grasp is almost guaranteed. A fantastic resource for newbies and... See more
This is quite possibly the best book ever written on the topic. Seemingly complex sailing concepts and maneuvers are masterfully broken down and brought to the reader with such precision and grace one''s solid grasp is almost guaranteed. A fantastic resource for newbies and veterans alike. Buy two, one for the boat and one for the house...unless your boat is your house...which in that case just buy one. :-)
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Top reviews from other countries

Anil
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
This book was recommended to me by a more experienced sailor who happens ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 3, 2016
I''m a new sailor. My knowledge is very basic and I know little about the intricacies of sailing. This book was recommended to me by a more experienced sailor who happens to also be my friend. At under £30, it''s a steal and the wealth of knowledge this book contains means...See more
I''m a new sailor. My knowledge is very basic and I know little about the intricacies of sailing. This book was recommended to me by a more experienced sailor who happens to also be my friend. At under £30, it''s a steal and the wealth of knowledge this book contains means you will definitely learn a great deal. But to those who are not interested in EVERY aspect of it, don''t bother buying this. There is a lot of detail and can get overwhelming at times. My only issue with this is that the pictures are not in colour and with sailing being such a beautiful sport, I really would have loved to see high quality images (happy to pay the higher price for such quality).
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Hawkir
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Sailing clearly explained
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 25, 2018
Very well explained book on all things sailing. Author makes it easier to visualise that what is being described. A well written manual to help the reader successfully grasp the content and to get familiar with all these boating terms. I need to know this before going...See more
Very well explained book on all things sailing. Author makes it easier to visualise that what is being described. A well written manual to help the reader successfully grasp the content and to get familiar with all these boating terms. I need to know this before going anywhere near a sailboat ⛵️ !
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Manuel Carlos de Mello
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A must have for Blue Water Sailors.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 12, 2021
Definitely the bible that every ocean skipper should have and go trough. For those who have experience in blue water sailing, the book systemise all aspects of proper boat and crew preparation increasing safety and comfort in sailing.
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pamir payzanoglu
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 19, 2014
excellent book for the purpose thanks.
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Maria, Greece
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 1, 2015
Great book!
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