Boat books

Bull City

A fine fellow
North Carolina
If you find yourself feeling a tad too cheery, read Conrad's "Secret Agent." It is one of the darkest things I have ever read. Not seafaring. There is an excellent film version starring Toby Smith.
Toby Jones


Israel Hands

Super Anarchist
coastal NC
If you've never read the "Flashman papers" series by George MacDonald Fraser, and want a few good belly laughs, then find one of the dozen or so books in the series and read it. While not "boat books," they are set in the nineteenth century wherein the protagonist often moves about on ships.
Flashman is a British officer whose cowardly and knavish behavior somehow always ends up looking like heroism in these tales of twisted historical fiction. The idea is that these books are his personal papers found after his death. He claims three "prime talents - for horses, languages, and fornication." But his best one is saving his own skin.

Kris Cringle

Super Anarchist
I read a couple books by Johnatan Raban.

He was about my favorite sailing author, even though he wasn't strickly a sailor, more a travel writer I'd say.

Died this week at 80.



Haleiwa, HI
I started reading this book shortly before doing a crossing from San Francisco to Oahu. Finished it in the first few days during the trip. Interesting read.

This is a pretty good read with lots of boat porn.


This entire series is also well worth reading while aboard your boat seeking adventure.


Kris Cringle

Super Anarchist

Fishing with John was a good read. sophisticated newyorker marries eccentric BC troller fiherman and comes to live on the 41 ft troller.

I hadn't heard of that book but thought of the obscure videos of 'Fishing With John' that were simply based on a notable person, fishing with John, the producer. Weird. Who had the title name first?


Super Anarchist
I hadn't heard of that book but thought of the obscure videos of 'Fishing With John' that were simply based on a notable person, fishing with John, the producer. Weird. Who had the title name first?
the book was firstpublished in 1988. a search just with "fishing with john", no "book" brings up the series you remember from 1991! co-inkydink!


New member
I recommend "Into the Storm, Lessons in Teamwork from the Treacherous Sydney to Hobart Race" by Dennis Perkins. Not only is it a gripping story of that 1998 tragic race, but it illustrates how important teamwork, trust, planning and execution are in sailing through dangerous conditions.

Captain Ketamine

Perth WA
If you’re interested in Napoleonic warfare, and books like those of Patrick Obrian or the Hornblower series, you might like the Trafalgar Companion. There are a couple with this title. The one I know and can recommend is by Mark Adkin. Great background on the period. He also did Gettysburg Companion, and a few others. (Waterloo, Western Front and Sharp’s companions though haven seen those). As usual some robots online appear to be asking insane prices for a copy so I suggest you shop around.

Im just working out where to store all the black powder for the cannons. I’m sure it will make racing round the cans more interesting for the competition..


Jud - s/v Sputnik

Super Anarchist
Skeletons on the Zahara

Incredible story of survival, based on/basically a re-telling/modern version ofCaptain Riley’s book (early 1800s, “Sufferings in Africa”), his account of being shipwrecked on the West African/Saharan coast, he and his crew, mostly out from Connecticut, being taken captive, attempted escape by putting to sea in their long boat and few hundred mile sail down the coast, and later literally enslaved by nomadic desert people, bought and sold as chattel, wandering (as slaves) in the desert for a few years, until finally managing to strategically craft their escape. Amazing story. (Apparently, Riley’s original book made a bit of a stir when it was published in the U.S., as it recounted the enslavement of Christian American white dudes in Africa, causing some locals to start re-thinking the practice of slavery in America.)

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Super Anarchist
That’s right, I think. And if I’m not mistaken, he also wrote in French? In any case, it’s amazing to imagine writing fiction (especially) in a second language! (I recall having to write a basic essay for a grad school program in Japanese —I’d previously lived there nearly four years and studied the language fairly intensively, but it was still a very weird and difficult experience trying to express myself in writing in that language!)

I believe English was Conrad's third language after Polish and French.