Practical Sailor is your independent resource for sailboat, gear and equipment evaluations and reviews.

Let Practical Sailor be your "charts and markers" for the unfamiliar waters today's boat, gear and equipment purchases.

For more than thirty-five years, Practical Sailor has been giving sailors unbiased buying guidance, honest product reviews and authoritative gear rankings. Practical Sailor tests boats and products in use, on the water, in the water . . . and sometimes, under the water. Bilge Pumps get run. Boats get sailed. Waterproof gear gets dunked. And then we share our findings with you.

Practical Sailor will help you…

  • Choose the best sailboat for your needs, your skills, your budget
  • Maintain your boat's bottom with the most effective products and techniques
  • Sail safer with the latest safety gear and preparation advice
  • Repair plumbing problems, electrical malfunctions, broken deck hardware
  • And so much more!

Take advantage of Practical Sailor's reviews, evaluations and insights. Get a monthly subscription to Practical Sailor magazine either delivered to your door or your inbox along with complete access to our web archives of past reviews and articles; order one of our sailing books; instantly download a report targeted to your specific gear, maintenance or boating need.

Select your Practical Sailor products below and register now for your FREE e-letter, Practical Sailor's Waypoints.

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Practical Sailor Magazine

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Practical Sailor Digital

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Recent Practical Sailor Back Issues

Scanning the horizon for immediate advice on an upcoming sailing purchase? Why wait for the next issue to be published? Order a recent back issue and we'll ship it out within the next couple of days so you start benefiting from Practical Sailor!

April 2014

  • C&C 40 Still Turning Heads
  • Rubbing Compounds
  • DIY Rigging Hacks


March 2014

  • Favorite Bottom Paints
  • Wind Sensor Testing
  • Jackett Packet Review


February 2014

  • Top Down Furlers
  • Anchor Rode Report
  • Mantus Upgrade


January 2014

  • Spinnaker Furlers
  • Protecting Vinyl Windows
  • Reads for Whiling Away Winter


December 2013

  • Marine Water Heater Test
  • Do-it-for-me Boatyards
  • The Fight Against Head Odors


November 2013

  • LM32 Pilothouse Sloop
  • Anchor Snubber Shock Test
  • Do-It-Yourself Nonskid Test Update



What Knot?

Edited by Geoffrey Budworth and Richard Hopkins

Anyone can tie knots: learn just one or two from this book and you will be glad you bought it. Learn ten, and it could make a difference in your life. This is because there is endless pleasure to be had from the study and practice of knot tying, this fundamental but fascinating process being an art, craft, science and philosophy, all rolled into one.

This book contains over 150 knots and splices and is guaranteed to amuse for hours on end. It makes sense to shed our over dependence on buckles, clips and zip fasteners, safety pins and superglue, when a length of cord or rope and the right choice of knot works at least as well and often better.

The types of knots in this book range from figure-of-eight knots, bowlines and sheet bends, crossing knots, wrap-and-tuck knots, and more. A full glossary and index will help readers learn to tie knots of all kinds.

What Knot? $14.99


How to Read a Nautical Chart

Edited by Nigel Calder

Authoritative, practical, and hands-on information on reading and relying on electronic and paper nautical charts

The classic How to Read a Nautical Chart explains every aspect of electronic and paper nautical charts: how a chart is assembled, how to gauge the accuracy of chart data, how to read charts created by other governments, how to use information such as scale, projection technique and datum that every chart contains; how not to get fooled or run aground by overzooming. Nigel Calder teaches you how to squeeze every ounce of information out of a nautical chart (on your GPS, chartplotter, or nav station) and understand the limits of accuracy for all charts, paper and electronic, raster and vector.

This much-awaited second edition addresses the changes in the world of electronic charting, integrated onboard navigation systems, as well as radar overlays and AIS and their interfacing with charts. A new chapter on the Wiki Revolution explores the mechanisms allowing you to incorporate user-generated content into navigational products and share this content with others—harnessing a user-base never before possible. Calder also explores how 3D-technology and real-time depth and weather information is creating interactive charting capacities that are fundamentally changing how we navigate. Calder's unique, practical insights will help you to navigate safely for years to come.


How to Read a Nautical Chart $21.00


A Storm Too Soon

Edited by Michael J. Tougias

A heart-stopping true-life tale of a maritime disaster, survival, and daring rescue!

Spellbinding, harrowing, and meticulously researched, A Storm Too Soon is a vivid account about the powerful collision between the forces of nature and the human will to survive.

Award-winning author Michael J. Tougias, known for his fast-paced writing style and character driven stories, tells this true saga in the present tense to give the reader a thrilling edge-of-your-seat immediacy. A Storm Too Soon is Tougias at his masterful best and a heart-pounding narrative of survival, the power of the human spirit, and one of the most incredible rescues ever attempted.

Order your copy today.

A Storm Too Soon $21.95


The Voyager's Handbook

Edited by Beth Leonard

This inspirational and comprehensive manual leads you step by step through every aspect of choosing, planning, and following the voyager’s life. Using three example boats representing three cruising lifestyles—Simplicity, Moderation, and Highlife—Beth Leonard helps make your bluewater dreams come true, whether you’re sailing on a shoestring or a CEO’s pension. Starting with the things you can’t do without—an enthusiastic crew, a seaworthy boat, and, of course, money—Leonard offers sage advice on how to select crewmembers who are truly committed to the voyage, how to choose the right boat for you, and how to find just the right approach to financing your voyage and making the most of every dollar spent.

The Voyager's Handbook $34.95


The Brightwork Companion

Edited by Rebecca Wittman

From Rebecca Wittman, author of the bestselling "Brightwork: The Art of Finishing Wood", The Brightwork Companion is the perfect guide to help you make your boat's wood trim beautiful. With its technical expertise in a quick-reference style, The Brightwork Companion makes every project easier with: -Lists of the must-have tools and materials (and important safety information) -Step-by-step procedures for bleaching, sanding, oiling, and varnishing -Refinishing instructions for spars, decks, trim, and interiors The Brightwork Companion will immediately become your "go-to" manual for all your brightwork projects, and help you avoid frustrations and prevent costly mistakes. Order your copy today!

The Brightwork Companion $18.50

Practical Sailor's E-Books

What's an E-Book? An E-Book is a PDF download you can purchase now and immediately download to your computer. Simply select your book(s) and complete the order form as instructed. You'll then receive a confirmation with instructions on how to download your E-Book. Click it and read it on the screen or print it or save it to your computer for later use. Check them out now! They're exclusively sold by Practical Sailor.


Specialty Marine Cleaners

Downloadable E-Book


Your gelcoat is cleaned and waxed. Those nasty stains have been removed from your deck. And your bronze shines like new. Your boat is spotless – or is it?

How are your fenders looking? Is your vinyl beat-up? Are your ropes and rigging in good condition (and are they safe)? These items are often overlooked but go a long way in keeping your boat clean and protected. And with Practical Sailor’s Specialty Marine Cleaners you’ll learn why it’s not just your hull that needs to be kept clean.

Black Streaks?

There’s a cleaner that’s cheap and effective (and we’ll show you where to find it).

Clear Vinyl Need Attention?

If you’re using these common products you’re making things worse.

Got Grease?

This bargain de-greaser is the best of the bunch, and it’s in your hardware store!

Plus there’s a special section on the care and cleaning of your ropes (keep a pillowcase handy but DO NOT use bleach!) and sails (please don’t hang them to dry), as well as ratings and reviews of the newest “green” products.

So finish cleaning your boat the right way without breaking the bank. Order your copy of this unique publication today!


Specialty Marine Cleaners $9.95


Essential Marine Cleaners

Downloadable E-Book


Mildew removers, bilge cleaners, metal polishers - the sheer number of supplies you need to keep your boat clean seems endless. But now, thanks to Practical Sailor’s Essential Marine Cleaners, you can keep your bronze burnished and your teak tip-top without spending a fortune on unnecessary cleaning products.

With this concise publication you’ll discover:

-Which bargain cleaner rated EXCELLENT on fiberglass, rubber, vinyl, and formica

-Why a 2-part teak cleaner should be used only when absolutely necessary

-What metal polisher works fast and easy on bronze and stainless

-How the right bilge absorber can be the most important gear on your boat

So don’t let grime and grunge, blood and beer, or coffee and ketchup keep your boat from sparkling. Learn how to keep her clean inside and out, by getting this special publication today!


Essential Marine Cleaners $9.95


Gelcoat Restoration & Maintenance

Downloadable E-Book


Protecting your boats exterior is an absolute necessity, but it can be a time-consuming and muscle-straining job. But with Practical Sailors Gelcoat Maintenance you’ll save time, energy, and money by using the right products the right way.

In this detailed new publication every type of cleaner, wax, polisher, and restorer is tested (some for results up to 3 years!) and reviewed – the Practical Sailor way!


- Wax offers little UV protection (regardless of these manufacturers claim!)

- There’s a good reason you should NOT use an acrylic coating on a new boat

- To scrub-away a waterline stain, find a cleaner with a low PH

- The best product to remove salt deposits is right in your kitchen cabinet

Plus, you’ll get a step-by-step regimen in topside maintenance that will keep your boat clean and shining, all for less than $50 a year in materials!

So keep your gelcoat in great shape, and stop wasting money on products that don’t do as advertised. Get this time (and money) saving publication today!


Gelcoat Restoration & Maintenance $9.95


Survival at Sea - The Complete Series

Downloadable E-Book

Owning a boat and being on the water can be one of life’s most relaxing and rewarding experiences.  But are you prepared for possible nautical emergencies?  In this ground-breaking 4-part series from Practical Sailor you’ll learn what you need to have on board to remain safe.
Choosing The Right Life Raft - Learn which life rafts were the safest and easiest to operate (is automatic deployment really safer?).  Includes a special Life Raft Value Guide.

Ditch Bags and Emergency Gear - Make sure you have all the supplies necessary for emergency survival (yes - you do need a compass, and only one Kit supplied one!).  A comprehensive guide to what you’ll need, and what is available, if you must abandon ship.

Onboard First Aid - A complete guide to the basic, and not-so-basic medical supplies you need to have onboard.  Reviews near-shore and off-shore kits (is yours water-tight?) and what you’ll need to supplement them.

Survival Electronics - Discover why these devices are a must have for any sailor. Evaluates the usability and functionality of the wide-range of man-overboard devices now on the market.  It’s imperative you have the right device onboard.

Choosing the proper emergency items can be a life and death decision.  Eliminate the guesswork and order this downloadable landmark series today!

Survival at Sea - The Complete Series $29.85


A LOOK AT SAILS, PART ONE: Sail Buying, Sail Making, & Mainsails

Downloadable E-Book

Purchasing new sails is a big deal for a boat owner: Materials, design, features, construction methods, etc., all need to be examined carefully. Now, with this new series from Practical Sailor, “A Look at Sails,” we’ll help you navigate the waters of what is often a difficult decision-making process. In Part One, “Sail Buying, Sail Making, & Mainsails,” you’ll find: - An objective overview of today’s most popular sailmaking companies. - Which material will give you the most bang for your buck—is Dacron still king? - The two questions you should always ask your sailmaker. - What to look for in clews, eyes, and battens. - A comprehensive list of new, used, and discount sailmakers. Also included is a review of mainsail handling systems like lazy jacks, the pros and cons of in-mast and in-boom furling, the advantages of a loose-fitting main, and the 3 critical points that any capable sail designer must address (especially since many loft floors are now overseas). Using a poorly made sail is like driving on bald tires, so learn as much as possible about this fundamental piece of equipment before you spend another dime. Order your copy of this money-saving e-book today! SPECIAL OFFER! BUY 3 SAIL PUBLICATIONS FOR THE PRICE OF 2! YOU GET ONE FREE!

A LOOK AT SAILS, PART ONE: Sail Buying, Sail Making, & Mainsails $14.95


A LOOK AT SAILS, PART TWO: Headsails & Furling Gear

Downloadable E-Book

When buying new sails, sailors often overlook key details in jibs, genoas, and furling gear that can dramatically affect performance. Whether you want to reduce your tacking angles, make headway in heavy weather, or maintain good downwind speed in light air, finding the right headsail or furling system for your boat requires careful thought. Let Practical Sailor take the guesswork out of the decision-making with this detailed, in-depth look at headsail options. With Headsails & Furling Gear (Part 2 of Practical Sailor’s “A Look at Sails” series), you’ll learn everything you need to know about: - Furlers (with and without head swivels) — and our pick for “Best Choice.” - Asymmetrical spinnakers and why shorthanded cruisers will find them valuable. - Mini bowsprits and why they’re so popular on modern cruising hulls. With this special publication, you’ll also learn the best time to buy a sail, the advantages (and disadvantages) of foil-less furlers, and about some of the best sailmakers in the business. (One company will repair your sail for as long as you own your boat!) So order this valuable e-book today and discover how adding new sails and improving light-air performance is easier than ever. SPECIAL OFFER! BUY 3 SAILS PUBLICATIONS FOR THE PRICE OF 2! YOU GET ONE FREE!

A LOOK AT SAILS, PART TWO: Headsails & Furling Gear $14.95


A LOOK AT SAILS, PART THREE: Specialty Sails & Hardware

Downloadable E-Book

Part 3 of Practical Sailor’s “A Look at Sails” series examines important sails and equipment that sailors often overlook when they are adding to their racing or cruising inventory. The Specialty Sails and Hardware e-book explains which specialty sails and key accessories deserve a place in your gear inventory and why they are so important. Riding sails, storm trysails, and reefing staysails—along with their corresponding hardware—are explained, examined, and reviewed in this one-of-a-kind e-book. In it, you’ll discover: - Proper size and shape for a storm trysail. - When a riding sail makes the most sense. - How a reefing staysail simplifies your sailing, and why a custom-fit is necessary. - What features make for an ideal snatch block and which is the most user-friendly. In addition, you’ll understand the key advantages of a mainsheet traveler vs. simple mainsheet rigs, find out what makes the best rigid boom vang, and learn how to properly inspect a trysail (including head, clew, tack, leech and luff)! While a new mainsail will likely consume the biggest share of your sails budget, don’t forget about the supporting cast of characters. Cruising sailors, in particular, need to think carefully about storm trysails, reefing staysails, and sailing hardware like snatch blocks. Learn which sails and related hardware are right for your needs with this insightful e-book. Order your copy today! SPECIAL OFFER! BUY 3 SAIL PUBLICATIONS FOR THE PRICE OF 2! YOU GET ONE FREE!

A LOOK AT SAILS, PART THREE: Specialty Sails & Hardware $14.95



Downloadable E-Book

SPECIAL OFFER – BUY ALL 3 E-BOOKS FOR THE PRICE OF JUST 2! YOU GET ONE FREE! Whether your passion is racing or cruising, sails are one of the biggest investments in your boat that you’ll ever make. You want to make the right decisions, but with the wide variety of options available, choosing the right sail (or sails) can be a daunting task. Now, with this new 3-part series from Practical Sailor, you’ll learn everything you need to know about sails, including materials, fit, hardware, and choosing the right sails for your boat. Volume One: Sail Buying, Sail Making, & Mainsails Covers sail buying, sailmaking, mainsails, mainsail handling, and furling options. It also includes a comprehensive list of recommended sail lofts and compares offerings from major brands. Everything you need to choose the right mainsail for your boat. Volume Two: Headsails & Furling Gear Compares and reviews light-air headsails, headsail furlers, and bow sprits. It also closely examines costs, durability, and ease of use. A must read before you start shopping for a new jib or furling gear. Volume Three: Specialty Sails & Hardware Evaluates the value of—and need for—riding sails, trysails, reefing staysails, and sail-handling hardware, including travelers, snatch blocks, and vangs. The most complete analysis of specialty sails you’ll find anywhere. Having the right sails and hardware is not a luxury, but a necessity. Eliminate the guesswork when selecting this important and often expensive gear by taking advantage of this special offer. Order this comprehensive downloadable series today!



Entry-Level Sailboats, Volume 1

Downloadable E-Book

Entry-Level Sailboats, Volume 1 provides easy to understand reviews and specifications for the following sailboats:

Beneteau 311, Catalina 310, Hunter 326, Pearson 30, Tartan 30, Catalina 30, C&C 29, Cal 31, Cal 2-27, Catalina 27, Columbia 8.7, C&C 27, Ericson 27, and Freedom 30

Order your downloadable copy today!

Entry-Level Sailboats, Volume 1 $19.95


Entry-Level Sailboats, Volume 2

Downloadable E-Book

Entry-Level Sailboats, Volume 2 provides easy to understand reviews and specifications for the following sailboats:

Grampian 26, Hunter 30, Hunter 27, Newport 28, O’Day 30, Lancer 28, Nonsuch 30, Pearson 26, Ranger 26, S2 8.5, and Tartan 27

Order your downloadable copy today!

Entry-Level Sailboats, Volume 2 $19.95

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