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

Life Lessons Learned in Greece

By Merryn

Ancient civilizations, intricate myths starring magical beings, sun-drenched islands, shimmering blue seas, and delectable cuisine are, no doubt, the first things that come to mind when thinking of Greece. Anyone who has travelled here will tell you about its outstanding natural beauty, the hospitality of the locals and the easy-going lifestyle apparent everywhere you look. Living in a country other than your own is like a long journey of discovery that, I guess, never ends. Here are just a few of the things I have learned since living in Hellas.

Express yourself

Expressing yourself loudly, with accompanying hand and body movements, is entirely normal and accepted. No one gets offended. Sick of waiting in line at some government office?  Say it: loudly and clearly! Chances are, others will chime in and you will have a good complaining session – instant bonding! Think someone’s put on a few kilos? Declare it! Don’t like the food? Don’t just sit there, say something!

I spent the first year thinking that Greeks were a little rude and angry most of the time, until I realised – it’s just their way. Even a normal conversation can sound like an argument for the uninitiated. You can have a blinding argument with someone one minute, next minute it’s all over and you will likely be invited for a coffee or a tsipouro, no grudges. Often the beginning of a lasting friendship starts with a heated exchange. It’s that Mediterranean blood, or something.

Although it does make life rather dramatic, ultimately it’s healthier than bottling it up and I have come to enjoy saying how I really feel, loudly and with the appropriate accompanying hand gesture. Definitely not many stiff upper lips around here!

Table Manners are Overrated

Sitting around a table, with your elbows off it, eating from one plate with a knife and fork and asking politely if someone could pass the salt – it seems so ridiculous when compared with the Greek style of dining. In this food centric society, meals are loud and boisterous, with much use of hands, bread and a single fork held in the right hand. It’s perfectly ok to stretch right across someone to grab something that you want, talk with your mouth full, wipe your hands on the table cloth and eat from all the plates, which are spread in the centre of the table. Once I got over myself and my Anglo-Saxon sensibilities, I realized how much more enjoyable mealtimes could be.  Washed down with local wine, beer or tsipouro and plenty of political debate!

Blood is Thicker than Water

Here in Greece, its family first no matter what. Family members may be feuding on day to day bases, but when the chips are down, everyone comes running. You never have to face anything alone in Greece. There is a dependency on the family that is strange to one raised to be so independent; but it’s assuring too. Greek culture tends to concentrate more on the collective than the individual. We live, like so many, in a two storey house with my partner’s parents. Essentially two separate households, our lives are intertwined. Our children are upstairs or downstairs as they please. We have built in babysitters and we will care for them as they age. Financial and practical help, emotional support as well as Yaya’s home cooking, more than makes up for the limited privacy and occasional over involvement.

Slow Down and Live in the Moment

Time in Greece is rather relaxed. Finishing something ‘in-time’ is not something overly worried about and being ‘on-time’, especially for social arrangements, bothers no one. Last minute cancellations are frequent and taken in stride. Masters of the eleventh hour, and incredibly inventive, I am always amazed by how quickly Greeks can pull something together, albeit it in total chaos, when the pressure is on.

The Greeks have been living in the present, long before it was a thing. If you bump into a friend in town, you will simply put off whatever errands you have for the day and immediately go for coffee. If you don’t feel like doing something, don’t; there is always tomorrow. The Greek word for tomorrow αύριο (avrio), was one of the first I learned, having heard it so much.  Like most mañana societies this means that a lot doesn’t get done, which can be frustrating; the upside is a relaxed, less-pressured and flexible way of life.

The Greek capacity for enjoyment of life is immediately evident to anyone who has been here and the achievement of κέφι (kefi), or ‘high spirits and relaxation’ important. Socialising is a way of life and at the centre of everything is food. Even in times of hardship, cafes are overflowing, restaurants are full and people are out and about until late. (Well, not in the era of corona….but hopefully soon!)

Health above All

And once you have expressed yourself, eaten from all the plates, been there for the family and learned to relax and enjoy the now; above all, the Greeks say, loudly and demonstratively, is our health. The word for health in Greek, Υγεία (igeia), is used to greet people Γειά σας (Ya sas) (your health), to toast Στην Υγεία Σας/Μας! (to your/our health) and, one of the favourite sayings of all Greeks, Υγεία Πάνω απ’ όλα! (Igeia pano ap ola) Health above All! Something to keep in mind during the lockdown and, perhaps, one of the reasons for Greece’s quick action and compliance in the face of the COVID-19 threat. Let’s hope we’ll all be raising our glasses soon. On the deck. At sundown. After a hard day’s sailing and diving.

SailnDive Greece

The original article was published on