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Board » General Discussion » Sailing Books

I thought it would be good to start a list of books people have found helpful - for any kind of yacht racing.
I help develop the client interface for the best online ocean racing sim there is... __/)/)_/)__
IMHO an absolute must on any sailors bookshelf is 'High Performance Sailing' by Frank Bethwaite. He has also now published his 2nd book "Higher Performance Sailing" with some chapters by his son Julian.

Some info on Frank and co:
Frank and his family have include three Olympic competitors, four World Championships, as well as several Grand Masters (over age 60) World Championships by Frank himself. Frank has been a coach on the Australian Olympic Team since 1972 and also pursued pastimes with model gliders (twice open world endurance record holder) and full size sailplanes.
Frank Bethwaite and his son Julian are probably best known for their role in developing the Australian 18' skiffs and the 49er.
However, Mr. Bethwaite's background as a meteorologist, engineer, and pilot gives him a unique perspective in analysing the sailor's wind and how to maximize performance. His studies of hull drag, sail drag, and sail drive give the serious racing sailor valuable new information on how to maximize performance in a variety of conditions.

This book focuses on high-performance sailcraft, but the lessons are applicable to almost any racing boat.

Mr. Bethwaite provides many charts, graphs, and illustrations to support his observations on maximizing performance. Although this is a technical book, it is written for the layman.

Whats in the books:
High Performance Sailing
Part One Wind
The Racing Helmsman's Wind 1
The Gradient Wind 5
The Two Surface Winds 10
Light Airs 20
The Breeze Over A Cool Surface 32
Friction And The Wind/Wave Boundaries 41
Heat And Thermal Patterns 52
Winds Near Clouds 64
Winds Near Shores 73
Wind Appraisal And The Stability Index 92
Race Preparation [Ie Predicting Wind For The Race] 102
Sailing The Wind Patterns 119

Part Two Water
Waves 147
Depth And The Warm Surface Layer 154
Currents And Tidal Stream 158

Part Three The Boat
The Quest For Speed 164
Sails 188
Rigs 220
Foils 232
Hulls 247

Part 4 Handling
Scope 277
Handling To Windward 279
Kinetics 320
Sailing Crosswind 333
Sailing Downwind 362

Index 409

Higher Performance Sailing
Part 1 Perspective,
The Origins Of High Performance 7
The State Of The Extreme Arts 41

Part Two Wind
Review Of Wind Dynamics 62
The Spectrum Of The Wind 98
The Quick Gust Peaks 101
Surges And Fades 108

Part Three The Boat
The Drive To Sail Faster 121
Hulls - The Material Revolution 129
Hulls - The Design Response 134
Hulls That Don't Baulk 146
More Power - Trapezes And Wings 163
Handicaps. Performance Equalisation And Turns Per Mile 169
Sail Forces In Steady Airflows 176

Part 4 Performance Advances 1991 - 2008
Evolution Of The B-18 Mark 201
Design Refinement For Long Course Speed 218 (by Julian)
Design Refinement For Short Course Manoeuverability 239
The 49er 243
Transition Years 257
The 29er 261
The Critical Ratios 269

Part 5 The Automatic Rig
The Evolution Of Manual Adjustment 281
The Automatic Rig 291

Part 6 The Sailing Simulator
The Evolution Of The Sailing Simulator 301
A New Way Of Thinking 306
The Simulator Printout 329

Part 7 Handling
Fast Handling Technique 333
Handling An Apparent Wind Skiff 374
Sailing The Foil Moth (By Rohan Veal) 399

Part 8 Racing At A Higher Level
Racing With Speed: 'Connecting The Dots' 407

Index 428

1st book has been on my shelf for 8 years and I must have read it 10 times virtually cover to cover, getting many new things out of it each time (it is also a great reference to take to the boat park with you!)
2nd is on its way in the mail (and I can't wait!)

--- Last Edited by Aaron Gage at 2012-01-26 08:42:52 ---
I help develop the client interface for the best online ocean racing sim there is... __/)/)_/)__

--- Last Edited by A2R at 2012-02-17 17:38:48 ---
None so blind
I recommend the book "Championship Tactics - How anyone can sail faster, smarter, and win races" written by Gary Jobson and Tom Whidden with Adam Loory-
ISBN 0-321-04278-7
St Martin's Press, New York, 1990

It is written in a narrative style that I found easy to follow (much easier than Bethwaite's book).
It also has a pew pages on polars, VMG, and VMC that should get anyone started who is unfamiliar with those concepts.

What really helped me in understanding the behaviour of our source of energy is "Wind Strategy" by David Houghton/Fiona Campbell.

This book claims (and proves) to "achieve an immediate advantage over competitors who rely on local weather lore and undigested statistics".

Fernhurst, ISBN 1 904475 12 4

After having read this book, the meaning of "Fair winds" is all clear :-)

Cheers, Arthur
If you're still in control, you're not going fast enough.
Yes that is an excellent book Arthur, and some of his methods are repeated in the Wind sections of Bethwaite's book. (Quadrant method for determining likelihood of a sea breeze developing most notably)
I help develop the client interface for the best online ocean racing sim there is... __/)/)_/)__

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