boatLUV's Reading List
Sailing Books for Women Sailors

Adventure, danger, serenity and how-to’s! We are always building our sailboat library looking for those stories of inspiration, boat maintenance manuals and  books about all-things-sailing (and videos!) with a special focus on books and videos about and for women sailors! Please, feel free to email me with your recommendations! Or message me on facebook or instagram with what you are currently reading!

Some of the titles below are available on Amazon. Click the photo and be re-directed.

Women Sailors


Alone Around The World

by Naomi James ** James was the first woman to have sailed single-handed around the world via Cape Horn, the second woman to have ever sailed solo around the world. She departed Dartmouth, Devon on 9 September 1977 and finished her voyage around the globe on 8 June 1978 after 272 days, thus improving Sir Francis Chichester's solo round-the-world sailing record by two days. A wonderful mix of technical text, and personal reflection.


Taking on the World : A Sailor's Extraordinary Solo Race Around the Globe

by Dame Ellen MacArthur ** At only 29 years old,​ she held the solo record for sailing non-stop around the world beating the previous record set by French sailor Francis Joyon by 1 day, 8 hours, 35 minutes, 49 seconds. The journey took just under 72 days. Read her account of this amazing challenge in her own words.



by Dame Tracy Edwards and Tim Madge ** In 1989, at only age 27, she skippered the first all-female crew in the Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race, becoming the first woman to receive the Yachtsman of the Year Trophy and was also awarded an MBE honor. On their fully restored vessel the team of 12 won 2 out of the 6 legs coming in 2nd in their class over-all.

Watch the “Maiden” documentary or order the DVD on AMAZON


Maiden Voyage

by Tania Aebi ** Born October 7, 1966 Tania is an American sailor who completed a solo circumnavigation of the globe (via the Panama Canal) in a 26-foot sailboat between the ages of 18 and 21, making her the first American woman and the youngest person (at the time) to sail around the world.


One Girl One Dream

by Laura Dekker ** In 2012, at the age of just 16, Laura Dekker became the youngest sailor ever to single-handedly circumnavigate the globe. She began her journey at 14! In realizing her long-held dream, she had not only braved the wild oceans and long weeks of solitude at sea, but also the doubts and sometimes hostile resistance of officials. In this remarkable account of her incredible journey on her 40 ft two-masted ketch named Guppy.

Watch “Maidentrip“, a self-recorded video diary of Laura Dekker’s remarkable sailing achievement. On AMAZON.


True Spirit

by Jessica Watson ** Told in Jessica’s own words, True Spirit is the story of her epic voyage of being the youngest person (at the time) to sail solo, unassisted, and nonstop around the world. True Spirit is an inspiring story of risk, guts, determination, and achievement that ultimately proves we all have the power to live our dreams—no matter how big or small.


Taking The Helm

by Dawn Riley & Cynthia Goss ** By the time the U.S. Women’s Challenge had completed the first leg of the 1993-94 Whitbread Round-the-World Race, the crew was riven by dissent, financial problems, and personal conflicts. Only a new captain could save the all-women’s team from mutiny and lead them to a successful finish.

Against the Flow Paperback

by Denise "Dee" Caffari ** In 2006 this British sailor became the first woman to sail single-handedly and non-stop around the world "the wrong way" - westward against the prevailing winds and currents.

The Motion of the Ocean: 1 Small Boat, 2 Average Lovers, and a Woman's Search for the Meaning of Wife

by Janna Cawrse Esarey ** The humorous true story of a woman who abandons her tidy life to honeymoon across the Pacific on a leaky, old boat—only to find that sailing 17,000 miles is easier than keeping her relationship off the rocks.

Peggy: An Affair With the Sea

by Peggy Slater with Shelley Usen "Peggy: An Affair With the Sea," the adventure autobiography Peggy Slater didn't quite finish before Southern California's most famous female sailor died suddenly on Nov. 20, 1990. It was completed by Shelly Usen, with foreword by actor-sailor Hal Holbrook.

Swell: A Sailing Surfer's Voyage of Awakening

Swell: A Sailing Surfer's Voyage of Awakening

By Captain Liz Clark ** Clark spent her youth dreaming of traveling the world by sailboat and surfing remote waves. When she was 22, she met a mentor who helped turn her desire into reality. Embarking on an adventure that most only fantasize about, she set sail from Santa Barbara, California, as captain of her 40-foot sailboat, Swell, headed south in search of surf, self, and the wonder and learning what lies beyond the unbroken horizon.

The Shell and The Octopus

By Rebecca Stirling ** A story of a young girl raised by the sea, by men, and by art and literature. Circumnavigating the world on a thirty-foot sailboat with her father and his many companions and seafaring folk. A lifestyle wrought with many innocence shattering moments as she negotiates puberty and early womanhood among the working girls of the ports they visit. Click on the book cover to read more about this book on Amazon. I read it and enjoyed it very much!

Solo Sailors & Racers

Sailing Around The World

Sailing Alone Around The World

by Joshua Slocum ** Challenged by an expert who said it couldn't be done, Joshua Slocum, an indomitable New England sea captain, set out in April of 1895 to prove that a man could sail alone around the world. 46,000 miles and a little over 3 years later, the proof was complete: Captain Slocum had performed the epic "first" single-handed journey in a his 34-foot sloop, "Spray." This is Slocum's own account of his remarkable adventures during the historic voyage.


Gipsy Moth Circles the World

by Francis Chichester ** This work tells the story of solo sailor, Sir Francis Chichester (65) who set out in August 1966 from Plymouth in a 53-foot ketch named "Gipsy Moth VI". He was the first person to successfully sail around the world alone, un-aided and stopping only once in Sydney. This 28,000-mile voyage, completed in May 1967, established new records for speed and endurance and captured the imagination of the world and inspired others to follow their circumnavigation dreams.


A World Of My Own

by Robin Knox-Johnston ** Knox-Johnston was the first person to make a non-stop single-handed sailing journey around the world (1968) on his ketch "Suhaili". A World of My Own is Robin's gripping, uninhibited, moving account of one of the greatest sea adventures of our time. An instant bestseller, it is now reissued for a new generation of readers to be enthralled and inspired.

The Long Way Moistessier

The Long Way

by Bernard Moitessier ** The Long Way is Bernard Moitessier's own incredible story of his participation in the first Golden Globe Race, a solo, non-stop circumnavigation rounding the three great Capes of Good Hope, Leeuwin, and the Horn. For seven months, the veteran seafarer battled storms, doldrums, gear-failures, knock-downs, as well as overwhelming fatigue and loneliness. Then, nearing the finish, Moitessier pulled out of the race and sailed on for another three months before ending his 37,455-mile journey in Tahiti.

A Voyage For Madmen

A Voyage For Madmen

by Peter Nichols ** In 1968, nine sailors set off on the most daring race ever held: to single-handedly circumnavigate the globe nonstop. It was a feat that had never been accomplished and one that would forever change the face of sailing. Ten months later, only one of the nine men would cross the finish line and earn fame, wealth, and glory. For the others, the reward was madness, failure, and death.

Stream or buy the Documentary about this race. “Deep Water” starring the fated Donald Crowhurst and his competitors. Available on AMAZON.


Ancestor: A Carriacou Sloop's Voyage to Vancouver

by Jon Van Tamelen ** ANCESTOR is the story of a Carriacou sloop, an engineless, locally-built sailing vessel purchased and refit by the author while living and sailing in the vicinity of the islands of St. Vincent and Grenada in the Caribbean Sea. The author then set about refitting the vessel and sailing it from Grenada in the southern Caribbean, visiting the San Blas Islands of Panama, then transiting the Panama Canal. Once, in the Pacific Ocean, he set sail to tour the Galapagos Islands and Hawaii, then eventually to Vancouver, British Columbia.


The Improbable Voyage

by Tristan Jones ** The Improbable Voyage is the account of master sailor and storyteller Tristan Jones' 2,307-mile voyage across Europe in an oceangoing trimaran, Outward Leg. Continuing his round-the-world journey, Jones traveled from the North Sea to the Black Sea via the rivers Rhine and Danube. Battling ice and cold, life-threatening rapids and narrow defiles, German bureaucrats and Romanian frontier police, the indomitable Jones made his way through eight countries and emerged triumphant, if battered, bruised and penniless, at the Black Sea.

Lost! A Harrowing True Story of Disaster a Sea

by Thomas Thompson ** For seventy-two days, the trio was lost at sea. Challenged by nature and compromised by a bitter rivalry, their courage and will to live was put to the ultimate test. Jim, the owner and skipper of the boat, was a devout fundamentalist whose recognition of God’s will in every event brought him into increasing conflict with his brother-in-law. As the two men battled to take control of a dire situation, Linda kept a secret that would lead to heartrending tragedy.

Adrift: A True Story of Love, Loss, and Survival at Sea

by Tami Oldham Ashcraft ** Young and in love, their lives ahead of them, Tami fiancé Richard set sail from Tahiti under brilliant blue skies, with Tami’s hometown of San Diego as their ultimate destination. But the two free spirits and avid sailors couldn’t anticipate that less than two weeks into their voyage, they would sail directly into one of the most catastrophic hurricanes. Richard tethered himself to the boat and sent Tami below to safety, and then all went eerily quiet.

Watch “Adrift” on AMAZON

Special Interest


Sailing A Serious Ocean: Sailboats, Storms, Stories and Lessons Learned from 30 Years at Sea

by John Kretschmer ** After sailing 300,000 miles and weathering dozens of storms in all the world's oceans, Kretschmer has plenty of stories and advice to share. John tells you what to expect when sailing the oceans and shows how to sail safely across them. His tales of storm encounters and other examples of extreme seamanship will help you prepare for your journey and give you confidence to handle any situation―even heavy weather. Also includes a good list of his blue water sailboat recommendations.

Heavy Weather Sailing 8th Edition

by Martin Thomas & Peter Bruce For over 50 years Heavy Weather Sailing has been regarded as the ultimate international authority on surviving storms at sea aboard sailing and motor vessels. In this book, former Commodore of the Ocean Cruising Club Martin Thomas brings together a wealth of expert advice from many of the great sailors of the present, including fresh accounts of yachts overtaken by extreme weather, from Ewan Southby-Tailyour, Alex Whitworth and Dag Pike to Larry and Lin Pardey, Matt Sheahan and Andrew Claughton.

Storm Tactics Handbook

by Lin and Larry Pardey The fear of storms has kept many otherwise competent sailors from venturing into the open ocean. This book explores the myths that have sprung up about ways to bring small boats through storms and shows tried and true methods that work for all types of sailing vessels. Special sections explain storm sail design, sea-anchor technology and tips for preventing gear failure at sea. Included are a series of check lists designed to help potential voyagers chose, then outfit their boat for safe voyaging plus others to prepare them as a storm actually approaches and reassure them once they are in the midsts of heavy winds and seas.

Storm Tactics DVD (video)

by Lin and Larry Pardey

Little Sailors


Oddgodfrey: The Mostly True Story of a Unicorn That Goes To Sea

by Leslie Godfrey, Becky Graff (The Oddgodfrey Early Readers' Adventures) ** Oddgodfrey represents the “unicorn soul” we all have inside. He is the weird part of our hearts that pushes us to do crazy things we never thought we could. This round, fuzzy, soft and blue unicorn is dropped in a place he never thought he'd be. Harboring a dream to cast off to sea, he enlists a group of friends to help him find his way.

Sailing For Kids

Sailing For Kids

by Steve Kibble (Author), Tim Davison (Author) ** Sailing for Kids is aimed at children aged 8-15 who are taking their first steps into the fantastic world of sailing. Packed full of color photographs and diagrams, this straightforward and easy-to-understand guide is the perfect introduction to the sport.​

Navigation Publications & Links

Chart No. 1

by NOAA ** The United States Coast Pilot® consists of a series of nautical books that cover a variety of information important to navigators of coastal and intracoastal waters and the Great Lakes. Issued in nine volumes, they contain supplemental information that is difficult to portray on a nautical chart.

VIEW or DOWNLOAD the digital PDF of NOAA’s Chart No.1 


Coast Pilot Publications

by NOAA ** The United States Coast Pilot® consists of a series of nautical books that cover a variety of information important to navigators of coastal and intracoastal waters and the Great Lakes. Issued in nine volumes, they contain supplemental information that is difficult to portray on a nautical chart.

VIEW or DOWNLOAD the digital PDF versions of NOAA’s Coast Pilots

Boater's Guide To Federal Requirements For recreational Boats

Issued by United States Coats Guard. Everything you need to know to keep you and your crew safe on the water; from approved life jackets to fire extinguishers to equipment and more.

VIEW or DOWNLOAD the digital PDF versions of Boater’s Guide

Sailboat Maintenance & Learn To Sail Books


The American Practical Navigator 'Bowditch' 2017 Edition - Volume 1 & 2

by Nathaniel Bowditch and National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency **

Download a digital publication of “Bowditch” from the NATIONAL GEOSPATIAL-INTELLIGENCE AGENCY


Chapman Piloting & Seamanship 68th Edition

by Chapman (Author), Jonathan Eaton (editor) The boater’s essential reference celebrates its 100th anniversary! For a century, Chapman has been an indispensable, trusted resource for boating under power and sail. It has sold millions of copies, and is a must-have for virtually anyone who puts a craft on water. Featuring 1,500 color photos, this updated edition covers new technologies, maritime laws and regulations, safety tips, and maintenance, as well as complete discussions of weather, tides, currents, and navigation. From anchors and knots to sailing theory and sail-handling systems, Chapman Piloting and Seamanship explains absolutely everything you need to know.

Annapolis Book of Seamanship

by John Rousmaniere 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.


Navigation Rules and Regulations Handbook: Updated to LNM and NTM 7-18 Paradise Cay Version

by Department of Homeland Security and United States Coast Guard ** UPDATED TO INCLUDE LNM & NTM 7-18 This is the Paradise Cay Version of Nav Rules/Colregs, and it is the best version. They include the latest Notice to Mariners at the time of printing. This version is in color, so you can use it properly to identify light patterns.

Davis Waterproof Boating Quick Reference Cards

A must on any boat! Davis Waterproof Boating Quick Reference Cards Bundle - Navigation 125, Coastal Piloting 126 & Procedures 128 (3 Items)


Boatowners Mechanical and Electrical Manual

by Nigel Calder ** The maintenance bible for boatowners is fully updated and better than ever! If it’s on a boat and it has screws, wires, or moving parts, it’s covered in Boatowner’s Mechanical and Electrical Manual. When you leave the dock with this indispensable resource aboard.


The Ashley Book of Knots

by Clifford W. Ashley ** This is the definitive book on knots. Approximately 3900 different knots, from simple hitches to “Marlinspike Seamanship.” He tells when they appeared, something about their history, and what they are good for.

Maneuver and dock your sailboat under power_nauticed

Maneuver and Dock Your Sailboat Under Power: NauticEd

by Grant Hefinen (NauticEd) ** The experts at NauticEd offer a painless solution with this concise series of practice exercises using real maneuvering techniques—with clear explanations on how you can always be in full control or your boat in the marina. Once you master these exercises, you will confidently maneuver your sailboat in any marina in the world under whatever conditions are thrown at you.

for some great educational resources online NauticEd can’t be beat! Get certified! Visit to see what courses are best for you!

art of anchoring

Happy Hooking: The Art of Anchoring

by Capt. Alex Blackwell and Capt. Daria Blackwell ** Loaded with valuable information on anchoring tackle, anchoring technique, tying up and rafting, anchoring etiquette, as well as the occasional anecdote - simply stated a must have for any boater or sailor!​

Sailing Movies

Maiden (DVD and Streaming) The story of the first all female crew to sail the Whitbread Round The World Race with Skipper Dame Tracy Edwards

Deep Water (DVD or Streaming) The story of the first Golden Globe Race in 1968-69 focusing on the ambitious and fateful journey of Donald Crowhurst 

Adrift (streaming) is the story of Tami’s miraculous forty-one-day journey to safety on a ravaged boat with no motor and no masts after capsizing in 140 knot winds of of Tahiti.