The following list of books, videos, and software is mostly for entertainment, though some of them are have teriffic off-the-water instructional value.
All the books listed here have been read by one or more of the BCB's board, and we highly recommend them for young sailors. There are also a few sailing references suitable for young people who want to supplement their hands-on instruction at home.
All of the listed books and videos here are available for secure online purchase by direct link to Amazon.com. We have not listed prices as these are subject to change. Some of these books are out of print but are available used from Amazon.
If you don't find what you want from Amazon, try abebooks.com, another great used book resource.
These books are listed roughly by the age group they are best suited for starting with books for the youngest sailors.
The Man (as Henry calls him) takes the Kid out on the ocean for a day of sailing. Initially annoyed to find Henry aboard, the Man changes his mind when Henry saves him from drowning. A storm breaks, the Man falls overboard, and the Kid (who was in the cabin at the time) must find his dad in the rough waters and steer the sailboat toward him with only Henry as his guide.
Robert McCloskey is best known for his books Make Way for Ducklings, and One Morning in Maine. Follows the activities--including sailing--of two children spending their summer vacation on an island off the coast of Maine.
Sarah's Boat: A Young Girl Learns the Art of Sailing
by Douglas Alvord
Part fiction and part basic sailing manual, this book combines the best of both. Sarah's story is engaging, the story illustrations are beautiful, and the detailed instructional illustrations in the fundamentals of rigging and maneuvering a sailing dinghy are clear and easy to understand.
Wind in the Willows
by Kenneth Grahame
When Kenneth Grahame first entertained his son with letters about a petulant character named Toad, he had no way of knowing that his creation—together with his friends Mole, Rat, and Badger—would delight children for nearly 100 years. Here they are once more, pursuing adventure in boats, gypsy caravans, stolen sportscars, and prison, but always returning to their beloved Wildwood. And although Grahame’s characters are unmistakably animals, they remain endearingly human in their eccentricity, folly, and friendship.
Swallows and Amazons
by Arthur Ransome
Sailing adventures of 6 children and two dinghies with a bit of mystery thrown in. For middle-school-aged kids and up.
For those who enjoy Swallows and Amazon's (and who wouldn't!) these Ransome sailing novels are also available (he wrote more but many are out of print):
A Storm Without Rain
by Jan Adkins
List Price: $3.95
This book is not-to-be-missed by anyone who loves sailing and Buzzards Bay. Masterfully written by Jan Adkins, it is the story of 15 year old Jack Stone, a resident of Marion, MA. His adventure begins the day he decides to go off alone in his boat to Penikese Island... and awakens from an afternoon snooze to find that he is in another time.
The Sacrlet Sail
by Betty Cavanna
Teenaged Andrea is spending the summer on Cape Cod and gets a Turnabout with a red sail for her birthday. At first she thinks she will never be able to learn to sail it, but... you'll have to read it to find out how she finds success! Girls will love this one. This book was published as a cheap paperback in 1959 and is only available used.
by Robin Lee Graham, Derek L. T. Gill (Contributor)
In 1965, 16-year-old Robin Lee Graham began a five year, 33,000 mile, solo around-the-world voyage from San Pedro, California, in his 24-foot sloop, Dove. Those of us who were in our teens at the time, followed his story avidly as it unfolded in a series of articles in National Geographic magazine. The book fills in the details of the personal struggle that went along with the pleasant, scenic adventures shown in the magazine. This book is a must-read for those of all ages who love sailing and crave adventure.
by Tania Aebi, Bernadette Brennan
Tania Aebi was a very troubled eighteen-year-old with no idea of what she wanted to do with her life. As she herself put it, "The only thing you could count on me to finish was a meal." She was going no where until her father offered her a choice of challenges: either a college education or a twenty-six-foot sloop in which she had to sail around the world alone. Even though she had little sailing experience, she chose the boat, and for two years she negotiated weather, illness, and fear, learning skills out of necessity along the way. Ultimately, her voyage became a spiritual quest that brought her home--to herself.
by Robery Manry
In the early 1960's, Robert Manry of Cleveland, Ohio bought a 13 foot sailing dingy for some family fun with his wife and children. Then one winter he built a tiny cabin on it, and eventually decided to sail across the Atlantic Ocean alone in it. An incredibe true-life story every sailor small boat sailor will love. This one has long been out of print. Get a used copy. Or read it as a free online ebook.
The Winner's Guide to Optimist Sailing
by Gary Jobson, Jay Kehoe
If you are only going to buy one reference book for Optimist sailing, this is the one. Contains all the information young sailors need to rig, learn to sail, and race their boats safely.
Start Sailing Right
by Derrick Fries, Burt Bilbrey (Illustrator)
This is the standard sailing text book recommended for young sailing students in United States Sailing instructor training and certification courses. We use the material in this book at the Buzzards Sailing School, so this book is most compatible with the hands-on instruction a student gets in our program.
Sailing for Kids
by Gary & Steve Kibble
A basic sailing book specifically for those who will be sailing the International Optimist Dinghy. It is profusely illustrated with diagrams and photographs, and written in clear non-technical language. This one is out of print and only available used.
Learn to Sail! with Multimedia!
by Linda S. Cullum
Buy from Amazon
This is a fabulous interactive sailing training CD-ROM program for Windows (sorry no Mac version), and we highly recommend it--the content is very complete and its also a lot of fun to use. Please note that it is not a sailing simulator. It is an interactive sailing "textbook" with over 450 megabytes of narration, animation and digital video clips demonstrating all aspects of sailing, such as wind theory, the points of sail, how to predict the weather, read charts, use a compass, and tie nautical knots. There are also interactive quizzes that allow the student to test his/her knowledge in any area. Kids love these quizzes! Left to play with the program on their own, they zero in on these quizzes immediately.
You can also get this program directly from the publisher, Little Pines Multimedia which is on Cape Cod in Truro. Visit their Web site for extensive information on the program and to order securely online--usually at a lower price than Amazon's.
Sailing : A Parent's Handbook for Junior Sailing
by Susan D. Artof, Joni Palmer, Paul Artof (Illustrator)
As the title implies, this one is for parents, particularly for parents with little or no sailing experience of their own. Out of print. Only available used.
This is the 1937 award-winning, black and white version of Kipling's classic starring Spencer Tracy and Freddie Bartholomew. This film was made on location just a few years before a major hurricane all but wiped out the Gloucester schooner fishing fleet. The footage of this fleet is amazing, and we are fortunate that this film was able to capture the essence of the sailing schooner fishing experience before it disappeared into the past. The story is also quite compelling. It is about a spoiled rotten brat who falls off a cruise ship and is rescued by a Portuguese fisherman and how the experience transforms his life. Kids need to be encouraged to sit and get into this one. They are at first put off by the old style of the film and the fact that it is black and white, but once they get into it, they get caught up in the ever relevant story of a kid trying to figure out how he fits into the world.
The Dove (1974)
Movie version of Robin Lee Graham's story. (Same as the book listed above.) Scenes of his tiny boat sailing totally alone over HUGE ocean swells, and as an unmoving spec in a flat calm hit you square in the face with the realities of ocean cruising. In spite of the fact that the acting is a little rough around the edges, this is well worth seeing.
Matthew Modine and Jennifer Grey star as experienced sailors determined to win the America's Cup back from Australia. This film is worth seeing for the spectacular sailing footage alone. It is unlike anything seen in documentary films --it puts you right into the action. While those who know sailing boat racing well will be annoyed by some of the technical inaccuracies and plot impossibilities of the story, it is still a fun movie and an inspiring one for kids as they watch determined young people work hard to achieve their goals.
Three movies based on Arthur Ransome's books (above) shot on location in England by the BBC.