The Annapolis Book of Seamanship

Fourth Edition

Illustrated by Mark Smith
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About The Book

Completely revised and updated to address changes in technology and safety standards, this new edition is the definitive guide to the art and science of sailing.

“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 US 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.

About The Author

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.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (January 2014)
  • Length: 416 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781451650198

Raves and Reviews

The Annapolis Book of Seamanship is an essential book for every mariner, and a must-read reference for every seasoned or first-time sailor. I keep one copy at home and another on my boat. Every topic is easy to find, and the graphics and pictures are extremely helpful. John has had a remarkable career as a top small boat sailor, blue water racer, and adventure cruiser and is one of America's most acclaimed experts on safety at sea.”

– Gary Jobson

“There is no other book as comprehensive or as readable as The Annapolis Book of Seamanship, and this 4th edition sets a new benchmark. Completely revised sections, including safety, heavy weather, electronics, health, emergencies and more, make the book more than 50% new. This is the one book that should be on every sailor’s bookshelf.”

– Chris Caswell, editor of CharterSavvy,author Greatest Sailing Stories Ever Told

“Since the first edition, The Annapolis Book of Seamanship has been the definitive source for sailing and seamanship. The new 4th edition brings this essential reference up to date with the latest in equipment and sailing technique. There is nothing else like it. Clear and concise, yet complete; The Annapolis Book of Seamanship covers this vast topic with a clarity in organization, language, and presentation to allow thorough understanding, and with enough depth and detail to provide real substance. This is the book I go to, and the one I recommend to sailors of every experience level.”

– Bill Gladstone, Director, North U, co-author The Instant Handbook of Boat Handling, Navigation, and Seamanship