The Complete Anchoring Handbook: Book Review

The Complete Anchoring Handbook
Alain Poiraud, Achim and Erika Ginsberg-Klemmt
International Marine (McGraw-Hill)
ISBN 987-0-07-147508-2
US recommended retail price $11.95
UK recommended retail price £11.99
It is very rare that a title manages to convey so well the contents of a book, but in this case “The Complete Anchoring Handbook” says it all. Not only are all aspects of anchoring techniques comprehensively covered, but so are types of anchors, rodes, windlasses, and moorings, in a word anything to do with this subject that seems to cause more frustration to beginners and experienced sailors alike than anything else to do with cruising. The importance of being well anchored under any conditions is proved by the fact that more yachts are lost or damaged as a direct result of not being properly anchored, than due to any other cause.

This well-written and excellently illustrated book draw on the vast experience of Alain Poiraud, sailor, boat builder and inventor of the successful Spade anchor, and Erika and Achim Ginsberg-Klemmt, whose valuable practical contribution is based on their extensive cruising experience. This truly international project is rounded off by the results of a study in rode behavior by Alain Fraysse, whose diagrams and calculations will show to those who may need additional proof that there is a lot more to anchoring than just dropping the hook in a nice spot and going to sleep.

“The Complete Anchoring Handbook” is a valuable addition to the cruising literature and no boat should leave port without it. In fact, it is a book well worth buying long before setting off on a voyage, as it will help decide on the type of anchor, rode and windlass to buy as most production yachts are poorly equipped in this respect.

This reviewer’s only criticism is that the authors tend to make the all too common mistake of giving absolute answers to what is still a rather imprecise science. As any experienced skipper will confirm, there is always the rare situation where all the theory will prove to be of little use and only a talent for improvisation and a good dose of luck will keep disaster at bay.

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