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Cruising Catamaran Communiqué
By Charles E. Kanter AMS®
Cruising Catamaran Communiqué is the latest book from the pen of Charles E. Kanter AMS®. It begins where his record-setting Cruising in Catamarans leaves off. Adding new introspection to older vessels and adding an entire new horizon to the newer vessels, Kanter reflects upon the global reach of the industry and his survey experiences with the burgeoning green (hybrid power) revolution.
The last decade ushered in a paradigm shift in yacht design, consumer demand, and government regulation. Kanter addresses much of that as he describes his experiences with various new offerings on the market. His surveyor’s mallet and critical eye provide you with a most readable, articulate text, punctuated with a myriad of diagrams and photographs.
The book theme of “virtues and vices” clearly states all sides to controversy both real and contrived. Handling large catamarans is well covered as is his penchant for appropriate anchoring technique for modern light-displacement vessels and catamarans based upon his personal professional research as well as research from other sources. There is a huge bibliography and a glossary worthy of a book in its own right. Know before you go may be a common cliché, but Kanter explains how you can evaluate a boat, no matter how many hulls it has, for your own purposes.
Kanter, or “Chuck” as his friends address him, began his sailing life back in the 1960s on Chesapeake Bay. By 1970 his avocation and enthusiasm for sailing, and a career move to Long Island, New York, introduced him to multihull guru Bill Symons. He quickly became a part-time make-ready and delivery specialist for Symons. By 1980, Chuck left his executive “day job” as a Training Director to work full-time at his passion: sailing! He became a delivery skipper, charter operator, sailing instructor, race chairman and yacht surveyor. Chuck did professional equipment testing and numerous boat and book reviews. The 1990s saw him as a full professional with portfolio. He is a SAMS Accredited Marine Surveyor, member of The Society of Marine Architects and Marine Engineers (SNAME) member of BOAT/US Exchange for Marine Professionals, has a USCG-100-ton license with Sail endorsement.
Cruising Catamaran Communiqué was formally introduced to the sailing public at the Strictly Sail International Boat Show at Oakland, CA on April 18, 2007
#470 – Cruising Catamaran Communiqué, by Charles E. Kanter AMS®, 416 pgs, 8.5 x 11, Perfect bound... Eur 37,50
by Charles E. and Corinne C. Kanter
(reviewed by Charles K. Chiodi)
As they say, the third time is a charm. Two previous attempts by the Kanters didn’t make our book list, but “Cruising is Contagious” has enough merits so that we can recommend it. Their casual style of describing the carefree cruising that they have done over the years make for entertaining reading, with an occasional lesson learned by neophytes (Webster describes as beginners), and by frugaphiles (a word invented by Kanter), meaning frugal cruisers.
The book is fascinating enough that it is hard to put down even for a seasoned reader and critique writer as myself, which should sell a lot of copies. And if they do, the authors may be able to hire an editor and a proofreader for the next edition, for this first attempt, as good as it is in storytelling, it is burdened with wrong punctuation, misspellings (don’t ever rely on a spell checker on your computer) and, frankly, the book could use a good editorial going-over.
Now that I’ve got all the negative impressions out of my system, let’s read about what’s good in the book.
First, Chuck does a good job poking fun at himself, which makes the stories more believable and the author more humble, a virtue seldom found nowadays. Although the chapters jump around a bit, after a paragraph or two, you get right back into the groove and realize who is writing: Chuck or Corinne.
Second, after you’ve finished reading this book, there is no doubt in your mind that multihulls are the only sensible vessels to go cruising in. The Kanters, admirably, didn’t brag about their own boat even though privately they are convinced that there is nothing better.
There is a lot you can learn about what makes a good, serviceable cruising boat: what you need, absolutely; what is nice to have; and what is absolutely not needed. Heed their advice. They have been trekking around the ICW and to the Bahamas on a regular basis, have crossed the Caribbean a few times, and know the ropes about how to live aboard comfortably and economically. They are the real “frugaphiles.” Even if you are not a liveaboard as the Kanters are, you live aboard for the duration of your cruise, which can be months.
There is a lot of humor in this book, which makes it so much more delightful – The Admiral Tizzie story, for instance, or Charlie the Tuna. The cartoons by Creighton Henry and the late Joe O’Brien are hilarious, but some of the photographs taken by the Kanters could easily have been enhanced on their computer for better printing quality.
Their trip to Cuba as journalists is enlightening. I just wish Chuck had left out his political analysis. Anyone who has never lived under communism has absolutely no idea about how to judge such regime. Even though I agree that the US Government’s attitude towards Cuba hurts the people, changing policies would support Castro, just what we don’t want to do. This book is not a political forum, so enjoy the multihull sailing wisdom Chuck and Corrine share with you. Considering what book prices are today, the cost of Cruising is Contagious is bearable.
#393 Softcover, 206 pp, b/w photos & illustrations …Eur 18,70
by Chris White
(reviewed by Charles K. Chiodi)
A comprehensive book on the subject of multihulls, written by a multihull designer/sailor, addressing the newcomer as well as the seasoned multihull sailor! In his assessment of advantages and disadvantages of multiple hulls, White is quite honest: He calls a spade a spade, and he neither pulls nor throws punches ‑ until he comes to the intolerable narrow-sightedness of some conventional sailors. To this reviewer’s delight, he takes on long-time multihull foe Donald Street when he writes: “Contrary to Donald Street’s opinion, all boats can be holed. Even the strongest have gone down from gaping wounds ‑ remember the Titanic? A multihull can indeed be torn open by floating debris, but the boat won’t go to the bottom because of it.” He then goes on to explain why not. At the end of that paragraph he boldly, and quite convincingly, declares: “I have a challenge for Mr. Street. You drill a hole in the bottom of your boat and I’ll drill a hole in the bottom of mine, and we’ll go sailing – no patching allowed.”
White points to another misconception: multihulls “don’t point and they can’t tack.” Anybody who watched the 1988 America’s Cup races and saw Stars & Stripes out-point and out-tack KZ-I would also laugh at this kind of statement.
The book is primarily written for sailors who want to go cruising on a multihull. Chapters on Trimarans and another on Catamarans explain the pros and cons of each. Subsequent chapters reveal the methods of Resisting Leeway, the peculiarities of multihull Rudders and Steering: Rigs; and Auxiliary Power.
Since multihulls are designed and built differently from monohulls, it is quite appropriate that White has a chapter on Specifics of Multihull Construction. In Appendix A, he provides a Catalog of Production Multihulls.
Although there are quite a few illustrations of his own boats, and two of his own designs are featured in Appendix C, Chris White is fair in mentioning other designers and their creations, and providing a list that is complete with addresses of best-known multihull designers worldwide (in Appendix B).
When it comes to the subject of capsize, the author is quite candid about it. Nothing is hidden or avoided. He approaches the subject from the different causes of wind capsize vs. wave capsize, and has suggestions for how to avoid them. Reading his explanations and convictions is confidence-inspiring, to say the least.
He addresses the capsize aftermath in real life, and has advice on how to right a capsized multihull. Other multihull seamanship chapters are on man-overboard recovery, safety nets, routine anchoring, and the use of the parachute anchor in survival conditions.
The Cruising Multihull is the best book written to date for people new to this type of sailboat and for those who want to have one of their own. White’s guidelines on ‘how to select your multihull’ are found in a chapter that starts out with the question: “What Kind of Cruiser Are You?” It is the intelligent way to select a boat, because there is wisdom in his words: “Cruising means different things to different people.”
Some sailors get more seasick than others, so there is a chapter on why fewer people get sick aboard multis. Some people want to build their own boat, while others want to buy one from a factory. The differences are well presented in a segment titled: Judging Production Boat Quality.
And, if you are still not sure… there is a very convincing chapter titled: Why A Multihull?
#311 Softcover, 7" x 10", 267pp, photos and line drawings …Eur 27,50
by Gwenda Cornell
Sailing is one way to help a child depend on himself, and to teach him respect for the power of nature. There are problems and worries in taking children to sea, but they can be overcome by careful planning.
Children aboard a cruising yacht often become bored and are unable to cope with the environmental confines of life afloat. Parents, too, can have a cruise ruined by concern for family safety and how to occupy youthful energy. Cruising With Children contains practical advice on many problems that coastal or deep-sea cruising parents encounter with children of all ages.
The book details the benefits to be gained by sailing as a family, safety at sea, and health aspects, which are likely to be encountered. Projects and crew duties are suggested for long and short voyages, while particular mention is made of the care of babies and infants.
The Author: Gwenda Cornell holds a first-class honors degree in pharmacy from London University and worked in medical research as a pharmacologist. Later, she earned the post-graduate certificate of education. She taught her two children (5 and 7 years old at the outset) during a 6-year-long circumnavigation with husband, Jimmy; and successfully reintegrated the children into the educational system on their return.
#339 Softcover, 6" x 9", 110 pp, many photos & illustrations …Eur 20,75
by Victor Shane
This is a book dealing with offshore safety. Victor Shane’s interest in drag devices stems from three experiences he had in 1976 in the Santa Barbara Channel where he was sailing his 24' trimaran. When the wind came up suddenly, he was lucky enough to be able to tie the boat to deep-water moorings. The immense feeling of relief he experienced once the boat was secured and safe started him fantasizing: “Wouldn’t it be great if the Coast Guard built a grid of deepwater moorings all over the oceans?” As he knew that this wasn’t about to happen, his thoughts moved on to a portable mooring, i.e., a sea anchor. When his trial of a cone-type sea anchor did not produce the desired result, a friend suggested that he use a parachute. He bought a 9'-diameter ‘drop chute’ from a surplus store, put a swivel on the terminal and, when he tried it… the three bows came right up into the wind. He was sold!
After many years and passages, Mr. Shane is doing a good job of spreading the word about the usefulness of this safety device to other offshore sailors.
DDDB (which stands for Drag Device Data Base) has the purpose of documenting, cataloging, and publishing accurate information about sea anchors and drogues. It is in its fourth edition, it has been completely revised. The book has seven sections:
1. Heavy Weather Tactics Reviewed: After Fastnet ’79;
2. Sea Anchors used off the Bow;
3. Drogues used off the Stern;
4. Evolution of the Drag Device Data Base;
5. Fifty Documented Case Histories;
6. Preliminary Analysis & Lessons Learned: Sea Anchors; and
7. Preliminary Analysis & Lessons Learned: Drogues.
Theory is kept to a minimum and the pages are filled with graphics and computer illustrations. The documented case histories are divided into 7 sub-sections: 4 are about the use of sea anchors off the bow (for monohulls, trimarans, catamarans, and power vessels); the rest are about using drogues off the stern (monohulls, trimarans, and catamarans).
From the section on the use of sea anchors for trimarans comes this endorsement from the 42' Cross design, Gold Eagle: “My sea parachute is one of the few items I bought which performed as advertised and had no defect or surprises..” From the catamaran Catherine Estelle, (36' Kelsall): “The sea anchor definitely saved the boat and, I’m sure, our lives.”
Our own Seamanship Columnist, Earl Hinz, writes this:
“The Fourth Edition is a fine book which I can highly recommend to blue-water sailors who want to buy real insurance, and not simply the kind printed on paper.” The book has lists of: other books to read; route forecasters; producers of drag devices; hardware ratings; chain and rope strengths, meteorological events; offshore checklist; multihull capsize protocol, and much more.
#372 Softcover, 8 1/2" x 11", 196 pp, illustrations, index, appendix of producers of drag devices …Eur 39,95
A Boatowner’s Guide to Operation and Maintenance
by Leo Block, P.E.
If the owner of a diesel engine wants it to run smoothly, efficiently, and reliably, and wishes to minimize expensive repairs, then proper operation and maintenance are essential. This book focuses on those all-important areas, except repairs and overhauls which the average owner can’t, doesn’t want to do, or shouldn’t tackle anyway.
The first chapter presents a non-technical overview of fundamental diesel operating principles, and identifies the separate systems (cooling, fuel, etc...) whose dependable operation is requisite to good performance.
In subsequent chapters, each of these systems is explained, and the required maintenance tasks are presented in checklist format. Safety precautions are stressed and explained. A separate chapter is devoted to engine operation: warm-up, normal running mode, and shutdown. The appendices include such subjects as winter shutdown, what to expect from an engine survey, and troubleshooting.
Numerous illustrations and step-by-step instructions are all part of the author’s clear, well-organized presentation. The boatowner need not be an experienced mechanic to perform routine maintenance chores – and special tools are not required.
#327 Softcover, 6" x 9", 136pp, many illustrations …14,95
by David Burch
This is a detailed account of how to find your position anywhere on the world’s oceans after your electronics fail and you lose your sextant, watch, and almanac, but that’s really only the beginning. The book is chock-full of good sound navigational techniques and principles that will serve you well regardless of where and under what conditions you are sailing.
Burch presents detailed discussions on finding time and place at sea; determining direction; steering by the wind and swells; steering by the stars; steering by the sun; and steering by other objects in the sky. You will also find chapters on steering under conditions of reduced visibility; piloting in currents; dead reckoning; latitude and longitude; and no instrument piloting. A final summary tells you what to do in any situation with what you have available at the time.
#130 Softcover, 7” x 10”, 248pp, many illustrations, charts, and diagrams …Eur 21,20
Fatal Storm –
The inside story of the tragic Sydney-Hobart Race
by Rob Mundle
The sailors aboard the one-hundred-and-fifteen boats in the Tasman Sea were prepared for ordinary gales, but what Nature dealt out was anything but ordinary...
The annual race from Sydney, Australia, to Hobart, Tasmania, is one of the world’s three great ocean-racing events. The 630-mile course takes competitors across the notorious-ly rough waters of the Bass Strait and the Tasman Sea.
A freak, unseasonal storm in the pre-dawn hours of December 27, 1998 brought hurricane-force winds, waves six stories high, and the worst sailing disaster in recent history. Seven boats were abandoned and five of those sank. Fifty-seven sailors were rescued, but six were lost.“Mundle’s portrayals of courageous sailors and heroic rescuers fighting for their lives are as vivid as any I have read.” John Rousmaniere, author of Fastnet,Force10.
Here is a story only Rob Mundle could have written. An Australian journalist, and sailor who has covered the Sydney-Hobart Race 30 times (and participated in it trice), Mundle knew many of the participants. He knew the rescuers. He interviewed 124 survivors, family members, rescuers and race officials.
He reported the unfolding drama on Australian television. The images in this book will haunt you: what is it like to be trapped beneath an overturned sailboat in the height of the storm? The bewilderment and disbelief when the ocean cracks open the deck beneath which you huddle and starts pouring in!
Skillfully interwoven by Mundle, the firsthand accounts of the storm are vivid and unforgettable. The scream of the wind, the roar of the waves, the last sight of a crewmember floating face down while his boat is swept away... It is a story of the awesome power of the sea.
#390 Hardcover, 6” x 9-1/2”, exclusive color photos, b&w map …Eur 27,20
by Ken Hankinson, N.A.
This is a ‘must’ book for anyone contemplating the construction of a fiberglass boat, or for those who simply want to learn about the subject. It is practical, ‘how-to’, especially written for the beginner. Yet, it’s also ideal for the more experienced who wish to branch out into the field of fiberglass construction.
The book covers all aspects of fiberglass boat construction, with emphasis on the proven, practical methods suited to the amateur or limited-production professional. It tells how to build your own fiberglass boat by using cost- and labor-saving methods, while avoiding common pitfalls. By following the easy-to-read and understand text, you can make your boat equal or superior to one made in a factory.
It was written in non-technical language by a naval architect who has specialized in boat design for amateurs for nearly 20 years.
Some of the subjects are: how to make parts & components from fiberglass; complete details for hull & deck construction using the latest materials & processes, including C-Flex fiberglass planking, Ferro-Glass and str-r-etch mesh, Airex & other non-cross-linked PVC foams and endgrain balsa core; how to use the new high-modulus materials & specialty reinforcements, including S-Glass, Kevlar, carbon fiber, aerospace unidirectionals, biaxial and triaxial fabrics; sandwich core materials and principles in female- and male-molded hulls; paints & coating application techniques.
#133 Hardcover, 8 1/2” x 11 1/4”, 392pp, indexed, appendices & bibliography, many photos, drawings, illustrations, charts and graphs …Eur 44,95