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Sell Up & Sail: Review

By doina — last modified Jun 03, 2010 10:12 AM

Published: 2010-06-03 10:12:09

Sell Up & Sail

Bill and Laurel Cooper

Adlard Coles Nautical

5th edition 2005

UK recommended price £19.99

ISBN 0-7136-7403-2

It is exactly twenty years since Bill and Laurel’s book was first published and the fact that it has now reached a fifth edition is the most obvious proof of its enduring success. The authors have covered a lot of miles in their life and their personal experience forms the core of their book. The book endeavours to cover every aspect of cruising life from choice of boat to navigation systems, communications, maintenance, finances, provisioning and a host of other subjects. The subjects that suffer by being covered only succinctly, or perhaps not at all, are where the authors have no personal experience; mainsail furling systems or spinnakers, for instance, are not even mentioned. Similarly, watermakers get short shrift.

In a book in which personal experience plays such an important role it is not surprising that objectivity occasionally takes a back seat. In all fairness, the authors make it absolutely clear right in the introduction that political correctness is not their aim, and it is indeed a useful warning as it somewhat dampens the shock of reading the authors’ acid views on the European Union, which, in their view, can hardly do anything right. Nor would some readers agree with the statement that there is really no difference between Germany and Austria, and even less with the accusation that “Croatia was largely responsible for the break-up of Yugoslavia with its concomitant genocide”.

Over the years, thousands of sailors have been inspired by Bill and Laurel Cooper’s book, and have found it very useful both in the preparatory stages and also as they took the first steps towards fulfilling their dreams. Unfortunately for Bill and Laurel Cooper things have moved a long way since their book was first conceived, cruising yacht design has been revolutionised, while sails and equipment have become far more efficient and affordable. So while their book is still an excellent introduction to cruising, anyone planning to actually sell up and sail will need to look for other reading material to find the answers that this book fails to give.

If you wish to order this book directly from the publishers go to