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The Annapolis Book of Seamanship

The Annapolis Book of Seamanship

Fourth Edition

Illustrated by: Mark Smith
“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 U.S. Coast Guard’s emergency communication system.

Moving on to the arts of traditional seamanship— anchoring, heavy weather, and emergenciesthere 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.
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  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 416 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451650198 | 
  • January 2014
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About the Author

John Rousmaniere

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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