Good Books to Read on a Sailing Holiday

Whether it’s been plain sailing or a little rough out there, once the hard work of reefing, tacking, navigating, and anchoring is over, and you are safely in port or anchored in a quiet bay; do you like to lounge around on deck with a good book?

Here’s our list of just a few of the many good sailing reads, for a variety of tastes.

Book a sailing holiday in Greece

books to improve your sailing skills

If you are looking to improve your sailing game, or get technical, these books will help you on your way.

1. Nigel Calder’s Cruising Handbook: A Compendium for Coastal and Offshore Sailors by Nigel Calder

Nigel Calder is a respected marine author and authority on sailing. This comprehensive book gives solid information about the key technical and practical features of modern cruising systems and equipment. Boat handling skills such as core navigational know-how; anchoring techniques; understanding the weather; heavy weather skills; and specific skills for long-term and long-distance cruising.

2. The Morrow Guide to Knots by Mario Bigon and Guido Reganozzi

Knowing your knots is useful, even for the novice sailor. Also, it’s fun for the kids if you are on a family sailing holiday. This book offers clear and easy-to-follow diagrams of all the knots you’ll ever need.

3. Boat owner’s Mechanical and Electrical Manual

Boat owner’s Mechanical and Electrical Manual, also by Nigel Calder, is the maintenance book for those interested in the inner workings of the engine and electrics. Although we’ll have you covered on a SailnDive trip, it’s useful knowledge to have if you want to learn more.

Sailing in the Cyclades

Adventure at Sea

If you prefer to read about intrepid adventurers at sea from the comfort of your fair-weather Greek-island boat charter, then these books will be sure to give you a thrill.

  1. Gypsy Moth Circles the World By Francis Chichester

Francis Chichester was 65 years old and alone when he set sail in his 54-foot ketch to circumnavigate the world. His 28,000-mile voyage, completed in May 1967, comes alive with his skillful writing.

2. Fastnet, Force 10 by John Rousmaniere

A fast-paced true story of the 1979 Fastnet Race, a 600-mile contest off the coast of Ireland in Force 10 conditions. A peek at the unrelenting power of the ocean and the devastation it can wreak.

3. Kon-Tiki: Across the Pacific in a Raft – Thor Heyerdahl

The famous story of some Scandinavians who built a balsa wood raft and sailed it from it 4000 miles from Peru to Tahiti tracing the original expedition. This book will pique the interest of any adventurous soul. A mad adventure of four men on a hand-made raft surviving this epic trip!

4. Circle of Bones by Christine Kling

A modern-day treasure hunt adventure book.  A former marine, Maggie Riley, and her 40-foot yacht lead us on an adventure-seeking for a submarine sunk in World War II. An exciting read for adventure lovers.

Humour at Sea

Seeing the funny side of all the possible things that can happen on a sailing trip, here are the books to make you laugh.

  1. Three Ways to Capsize a Boat: An Optimist Afloat by Chris Stewart

Chris Stewart’s hilarious memoir starts off with him landing his dream job as a skipper in the Greek Islands and continues with a number of madcap adventures making up the journey of a lifetime. This zesty book will have you laughing out loud.

2. Quality Time? by Mike Peyton.

Mike Peyton, ‘the world’s greatest yachting cartoonist’ , offers anecdotes of his sailing adventures along with 80 of his cartoons. With 50 years of sailing behind him, this book is as informative as it is funny.

sailing in Greece

Romance at Sea

For the heady combination of love, romance, and sailing with some grit – try these sailing romances.

1. Maiden Voyage by Tania Aebi

Offered a choice between going to college and sailing the world, Tania hopped on a small sailing boat, knowing very little about sailing, and set off to find her destiny. A gripping book about sailing, boats, a young woman’s spiritual quest and finding love.

2. Love with a Chance of Drowning by Torre DeRoche

A woman with a fear of water and zero sailing experienced finds herself aboard a small sailing boat with Ivan, a handsome Argentinean man with a dream to set off exploring the world. She gives up her suave city life, faces her fear of water, and joins her lover on a year-long voyage across the Pacific. A true-story memoir about taking a leap for love.

We hope you enjoy our selection of sailing-inspired books for your reading pleasure, as you go out and live your own sailing story.

Do like to read while sailing? Feel free to share some good sailing reads with us in the comments.

Adapted from an article originally written by Merryn for

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