The Reeds 9 Language Handbook may not have been flying off the shelves over recent months but for anyone with aspirations ever to cruise beyond UK waters again, I’d suggest it’s a must-have.

This pocket-sized volume contains specific boat-related vocabulary in French, Danish, Dutch, German Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Greek.

It’s very well thought out, being divided into sections relating to the boat, ‘Under Way’ (this includes harbour formalities), maintenance and repairs, emergencies.

As a wooden boat owner I was impressed to discover words such as carlin, garboard and stringer in nine languages, though the absence of any guide to the pronunciation of the Greek alphabet leaves those sections impenetrable to me.

Timber types are also included, also metal.

In general the level of detail is impressive, though a strange attack of prudishness means that the section on ailments keeps male and female private parts so secret that anyone with a urine infection, for instance, will need to resort to gesturing.

Diarrhoea, constipation, stomach upsets however, are all okay.

Handy index

There’s an index for that moment that you know you need to explain a winch problem but can’t immediately think which section to search for the words.

The answers may be in ‘Deck & Deck Gear’, ‘Launching & Retrieving’, ‘Maintenance & Repairs’.

That last section includes a detailed diagram with the vocabulary for rachets, pawls, spindles and spacers.

That level of language is not found in the index.

Various other absentee words, such as VAT certificate, will be found in the appropriate main section (‘In Port/ Harbour’).

A few words (AIS is one) seem to have escaped completely but that’s probably unavoidable.

Who would have expected to need ‘Covid Test kit’ or ‘vaccination certificate’ when the book was being compiled?

The absentee words I most regret are the names of the authors or designers.

This is an admirable small production for which they should be congratulated.

If you’re ever ‘going foreign’ again, you should buy it.

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