More

Voyage Filters

Inspiration

Our Bookshelf

Great Reads, Reference Books and Relevant Research for Your Next Adventure.

“When I was your age, television was called books.”

This sentiment from the opening of the unbeatable Princess Bride is as true for the internet age as it ever was for TV. Here at Classic Sailing we are dedicated bookworms. Even if the pages get salt-stained and soggy, a book will outlast both your Kindle battery and the wifi coverage for your phone, and you can swap a paperback with a fellow crew member much easier than trying to set up sharing on your Audible account.

Our Bookshelf is an ever growing and evolving collection of volumes for the die-hard adventurer and armchair sailor in all of us. We’ve brought together great reads from our Classic Sailing Book Club (sign up to our Newsletter to read along and let us know your thoughts), fantastic reference books and volumes relevant to specific sailing grounds to help you get the most out of your next voyage.

If you have any recommendations for books you’d like to see on the Shelf, get in touch!

Some of the links below will take you to online second-hand book sellers. We are in no way affiliated with these companies, but we like to support the second-hand books market wherever possible. If you have a local second-hand book shop, make sure to patronise them.

The Classic Sailing Bookshelf

Relevant Reads for Your Next Adventure

Western Europe

NORTH IN A NUTSHELL Rozelle Raynes: 60s sailing exploration in a Norwegian folkboat, going across the channel from Dover, then along the Belgian coast, through the Dutch canals to Heligoland, the Kiel Canal, Danish Islands and then North to Bergen. Beautifully written and observed.

England & Wales

COASTING Jonathan Raban : A single-handed 4000 mile voyage around Britain in 1982, musing not just on the coastline but on the current state of Britain (under Thatcher).

Scotland

ISLAND GOING Robert Atkinson : The author spent 12 years from July 1935 on an ornithological search for the rare Leach’s Fork-tailed Petrel. The search took him and his partner to many of the remote and deserted islands in the Hebrides, including North Uist, the Monarch Isles, St Kilda and North Rona. The book is an incredibly detailed and emotive description of the wildlife and landscapes of these beautiful places.

SEA ROOM Adam Nicolson : The author inherited the wild Shiant islands off the coast of Lewis when he was 21. This book is his love letter to the islands, their history and the half a million puffins that live there.

THE SILVER DARLINGS Neil M Gunn : A tale about the dawning of the herring fisheries in North Eastern Scotland

Polar Regions

Antarctica

ANTARCTICA: A GUIDE TO THE WILDLIFE Tony Soper : A small and handy booklet on the most common birds, seals, whales and penguins.

SOUTH Sir Ernest Shackleton : The astonishing memoir of Shackleton’s last voyage from 1914 to 1917.

ANTARCTIC OASIS: UNDER THE SPELL OF SOUTH GEORGIA Tim & Pauline Carr : A travel account of South Georgia with excellent maps and photographs.

Greenland

TOPSAIL & BATTLEAXE: A VOYAGE IN THE WAKE OF THE VIKINGS Tom Cunliffe : English sailors follow the Viking route from Norway to Newfoundland with sagas in between.

THE GREENLANDERS Jane Smiley : A wonderful novel about the mysterious disappearance of the Medieval Norse settlements in Greenland.

GREEN SEAS & WHITE ICE Miriam MacMillan : The wife of Arctic explorer Donald MacMillan voyages to Labrador and Greenland with him.

Iceland

THE SAGAS OF THE ICELANDERS Jane Smiley : Packed full of exciting tales to add to the Icelandic experience.

INDEPENDENT PEOPLE Halldor Laxness : A portrait of the eerie Icelandic landscape by a Nobel prize winner.

The Baltic

TO THE BALTIC WITH BOB, AN EPIC MISADVENTURE Griff Rhys Jones : Amusing account of three middle-aged amateur sailors setting out for Russia. Funny and heartfelt, and a great holiday read.

Caribbean

THE MIDDLE PASSAGE V S Naipaul : A portrait of Trinidad and the surrounding islands full of history, society, personality and vividness.

A CARIBBEAN DOZEN John Agard & Grace Nichols: A glorious anthology of poetry featuring thirteen Caribbean poets.

The Americas

VOYAGING SOUTHWARDS FROM THE STRAIT OF MAGELLAN Rockwell Kent : the memoir of sailing a small boat in Tierra del Fuego by an adventurous American artist in the 1920s.

Oceans & Seas

LAST OF THE WIND SHIPS Alan Villers : One of Debbie’s favourites to get you in the mood for sailing a tall ship in the Southern Ocean.

North East Atlantic Islands

HISTORIA, HISTORIA: TWO YEARS IN THE CAPE VERDE ISLANDS Eleanor Stanford : A beautiful ode to this Atlantic archipelago from a young poet in the Peace Corps.

South Atlantic Islands

BETWEEN THE MOUNTAIN AND THE SEA Gill Kimber : Memories of a childhood on Tristan da Cunha, the world’s most remote inhabited island.

Pacific Islands

SAILING THE PACIFIC Miles Hordern : An inspirational (and often hilarious) account of sailing a 28-foot Twister from New Zealand to Chile, followed by cruising through the archipelagos and making for Easter Island.

Colourblind sailor and jumped-up cook

More Inspiration

Sailing Morgenster in the Caribbean

14/03 Inspiration

Experienced Sailor? Push Yourself

Where will your next sailing adventure take you? However long you spend at sea, there is always something more to learn and somewhere new

Read More
! DO NOT USE (Europa) ! taking a sun sight on a sextant

12/12 Inspiration

Learn Real Skills

What is a ‘Real Skill’ You can watch countless instructional videos on how to bring a yacht alongside a quay but until you actually

Read More
Sail Cargo - whisky and rum as deck cargo on Grayhound

28/10 Inspiration

Voyages with a Purpose

‘Sail Training’ for Adults When we use the term ‘sail training’ we don’t just mean ‘learning to sail’. Across the world many vessels use

Read More

Related Voyages

Twister

North Sea City Break TW181024

Embark

Fri 18-10-2024

London

Disembark

Mon 21-10-2024

Amsterdam

Sailing Holiday from Amsterdam

From

€620

Twister

North Sea City Break TW151024

Embark

Tue 15-10-2024

Amsterdam

Disembark

Fri 18-10-2024

London

From

€620

Eye of the Wind

Baltic Sea Tall Ship Taster EYE25/16

Embark

Wed 21-05-2025

Kiel, Germany

Disembark

Tue 27-05-2025

Eckernforde, Germany

sail on eye of the wind with classic sailing

From

€2100