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Book Review

Book Review: by Lang Reid

The Boating Companion

Something totally different this week. The Boating Companion by Rob Beattie (ISBN 978-0-7624-3186-1, Quid Publishing 2008) came complete with a waterproof plastic zipped cover and sturdy water-resistant pages, so it was obviously designed to be taken on board the Mary Celeste.
The cover promises that it contains step by step guides to planning, packing, equipment, clothing, weather, sea life, signaling, navigation, first aid, cooking, trouble shooting and an intriguing extra category called “and More!” This is indicated to be “All you need to know for life on the water.”
Each section is written in plain English, with numerous line drawings and contrasting color side-bars. It begins with the conundrum “Why go boating?” and the consensus is the feeling of freedom that messing about in boats gives to the boatie (‘sailor’ is the best descriptive noun suggests the author), and then follows this up with another 130 pages to add even more pleasure (and safety) to the freedom.
Having been written in the UK, the section on Documents, Registration and Licenses refers mainly to the land of Sir Francis Drake, Sir Francis Chichester and others, though mention is made of America and Europe. Thailand, no doubt, will have its own unique system, and all written in ‘wriggle writing’. Local sailors will no doubt assist the newbie.
The different types of boat are discussed, complete with ‘for’ and ‘against’ features. Having once experienced sail-boating and having to be towed home against the wind was an experience I have never forgotten (or the shame). Having read the chapter on the various types, I should have realized I am the motorboat type of landlubber.
The next chapter takes the novice through the various sections of his boat and explains the nautical terminology. “Shiver me timbers and splice me braces” is not amongst them.
Equipping your boat is very well covered, and I was rather amazed at the amount of equipment that one should have (and compulsory in some regions). This includes ‘backfire flame control’ and a placard to indicate they may be giving off oily waste. (Something I am quite sure is not needed here!)
With this book, you are not going to go hungry whilst afloat, with sections on what to have in the galley and even some recipes for the famished mariner.
There is a section on ghost ships, with the Mary Celeste and The Flying Dutchman getting their mentions. Cautions about the Bermuda Triangle are given, and even how to toilet train your puppy.
The final section includes References and Resources and covers everything from knots to nautical scales, a glossary and an index. It is a very comprehensive manual.
Available at Bookazine at B. 695 RRP. A must for anyone new to boats, and a very handy reference book for the old salts as well. Practical in every way, including the neat packaging, this has to be the ideal present for any ‘boaties’ in your acquaintance. It is probably the most comprehensive companion (as well as being a compendium) and with it, you can rustle up a nourishing meal while waiting to be rescued. A great book of the genre.