Preview: An Excerpt from ‘The Dinghy Cruising Companion,’ by Roger Barnes

February 11, 2015

Avatar Maynard Bray

Here is a gem of a book that OCH Guide Iain Oughtred brought to our attention. It’s a must for anyone who sails a small boat, even if it’s not a dinghy and even if you’re not planning to cruise. Author Roger Barnes describes what has worked for him, and just as importantly, he shares what he’s learned from mistakes along the way. He is English and knows how to handle fog, tidal currents, big winds and heavy seas—and enjoy it all safely. His boat, AVEL DRO, was built to Francois Vivier’s Ilur design and carries a huge lugsail. Her interior is sectioned off like an old-time Man of War, with a “squalid” foc’s’le, a cooking and washing area amidships, and “plush” officers’ quarters in the stern. All this in an open 15-footer! There’s plenty of good humor and down-to-earth writing based on wide experience, as well as a rundown of other available dinghy-types that make good cruisers. Below is just a sample of what you’ll find inside the covers of this exceptional little book. If you love it, here’s the link to purchase the book (in print or for Kindle) on Amazon.

The Dinghy Cruising Companion by Roger Barnes

All material © Roger Barnes and posted here with permission of the author.

Introduction: On the Edge of the Wild

My aim in this book is to encourage you to use a small open boat to explore local and more distant waters. We will discover the amazing flexibility of a dinghy, small enough to be trailed behind a car and launched almost anywhere there is navigable water. A little boat, honed to her purpose, can carry you sure-footedly over the waves into the most beautiful and remote places.

In a peaceful tidal creek, a cruising Wayfarer makes ready to go sailing.

In a peaceful tidal creek, a cruising Wayfarer makes ready to go sailing.

Over the Horizon

Loctudy has a melancholic end-of-season air. The café-bar at the marina is closed, and its canvas canopies slat mourfully in the chill north-east wind. It is very late in the year for a sailing holiday, but I had a sudden whim to go cruising. Unlike most cabin yachts, my dinghy is not laid up ashore half the year, waiting to be craned back into the water in the spring. I am free to go sailing at any time I like. This means I can take advantage of the magical spells of settled weather that sometimes occur in late autumn, just before the onset of winter.

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