Considered by many to be one of the most important books to have onboard, this latest edition of Heavy Weather Sailing deserves a place on your bookshelf, says Julia Jones

Heavy Weather Sailing (8th edition)
Peter Bruce and Martin Thomas
Adlard Coles, £39.99

Former Ocean Cruising Club Commodore Martin Thomas joins Peter Bruce for the latest edition of this classic book.

The basic mix remains first-hand experience of extreme weather and storm conditions with expert reflection and advice.

Some are tragic, such as Richard Heath’s account of the loss of Reliance AC and others particularly human and encouraging such as Francis Hawkings’s attempts to evade Super Typhoon Surigae in 2021.

He recommends ‘singing, laughing, swearing and taking credit for good luck’ as permanent additions to his toolbox.

Even pusillanimous coastal sailors like myself could advantageously keep those tools on board.

The new edition includes several new topics and new contributors.

Martin Thomas’s personal interest in high latitude sailing is used to good effect throughout the book, not only in the chapter dedicated to that topic.

Susanne Huber-Curphey, who, among many other achievements, is the first woman to navigate the North-West passage single-handed, has been recruited to add her experience with the potentially game-changing Jordan Series Drogue.

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She expresses her sadness at the scale of losses in the 2018 Golden Globe Race, some of which she suggests may have been preventable if competitors had selected alternative tactics than to keep on running before the September storm.

Martin Thomas’s medical background gives authority to his admirably clear chapters on seasickness and medical emergencies and his decision to include a chapter on yacht tenders is also welcome.

Other new chapters include one on lightning strikes and an encouragingly upbeat appraisal of the performance of foiling yachts in heavy weather.

I was tempted to skip the two chapters on power boat design and handing in big seas, as being something I am never likely to undertake.

In fact, I found them fascinating and informative.

The authors’ expert insights into wave densities and steering techniques had something to teach even the slowest of the slow.

This impressive book should be on every sailors’ bookshelf, whether we risk being caught out in the North Sea or Southern Ocean.

Messages such as ‘prevention is better than cure’ and ‘common things are common, so prepare for them’ are applicable to us all.

The dramatic scenarios of Heavy Weather Sailing – with its superb photographs — will ensure that these well-worn pieces of advice are more than cliches.

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