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The only rules-of-thumb compendium for boaters, updated with 45 new entries to delight, entertain, and most importantly, inform. These are tried and tested rules of thumb--the distilled essence of centuries of seafaring experience--providing succinct answers to the questions most-asked by boaters.

"The perfect, practical gift to give or receive." -- The Ensign

"...reads like a lively conversation with a friendly, seasoned pro." -- Lakeland Boating

"All in all it is refreshing, and it is often a giggle. But most importantly, it is always helpful--very helpful." -- SA Boating

About the Book
A concise, alphabetically organized reference for sailors and boaters. New edition includes over 460 concise entries on diverse topics such as: hull thickness, estimating distance, anchoring rights, making a rum punch, stability as assessed by roll times, and hallucinations, occurrence of. This updated to provide a new generation of boaters with an instant reference like none other. This is either the most useful boating book ever designed to entertain, or the most entertaining book ever designed to be useful.


  • Unusual, engaging, and practical collection of information not found anywhere else
  • Format is concise and trim, and packs well aboard, as a print book or ebook
  • Alphabetic organization makes navigation easy, as does the exhaustive index
  • Wit and wisdom of some of the entries ("Fear, Widespread Occurrence of" and "Useless Articles on a Boat, the Three or Four Most") combines nicely with practical emphasis on others ("Fiberglass, Drawbacks of,")
  • Comprehensive appendix of useful forms, tables, and measurements (tank capacity, rope strength, power of attorney for a cruising couple)
  • Includes Vigor's now, well-known and often referenced "Black-Box Theory"

About the Author
A journalist who has worked for major daily newspapers in Great Britain, South Africa, and the United States, John Vigor is a former managing editor of California-based Sea magazine. A certified sailing instructor and a former national dinghy-racing champion in South Africa, he has raced, cruised and written about boats for decades. He has sailed more than 10,000 ocean miles on small boats and in 1987 voyaged from South Africa to Florida with his wife and teenage son in a 31-foot sailboat. He is the author of 12 boating books, including Small Boat to Freedom (Sheridan House) and Things I Wish I'd Known Before I Started Sailing (Sheridan House), national winner of the prestigious John Southam Award , The Seaworthy Offshore Sailboat (McGraw-Hill), and The Practical Encyclopedia of Boating (McGraw-Hill). He lives in Bellingham, Washington. He writes a blog which can be found at

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