The Arts of the Sailor: Knotting, Splicing and Ropework
Courier Corporation, 1953 - 233 pages
Perfect shipboard reference, packed with useful "hands-on" information, covers sailor's tools, basic knots and useful hitches, handsewing and canvas work and dozens of other topics important to safe, economic and efficient boat maintenance. Over 100 illustrations enhance delightful narrative.
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The closest I've been to a sailing vessel is reading the adventures of Horatio Hornblower but I enjoyed every page of this book. Great pearls of wisdom, down to earth know-how and it just harkens back to a time when you made stuff with your brain and hands.
I found the illustrations easy to follow even though the knots are complex and the results can be beautiful. I've used the short splice more times than I can count and wish I had the patience for the long splice.
You will learn why rope works, why knots fail and how to make a ditty bag and the knife that will save your lift. Just fantastic stuff all around and a pure pleasure to read. It is so much more than a book about how to make knots. If you so much as recognize talk like a pirate day, get this book and add some read "sea-cred" for that pirate swagger.
If you are into sailing small crafts, or are simply interested in an age old craft of the marlinspike, this book is a must-read.
HGS brings you back to the days of canvas sail, often with a sense of humor. This book is probably written in the 1950s, but many of the lost arts can be applied to other uses. It is clearly illustrated. It does not pretend to be anything or try to be profound; In fact, the often complicated and obsolete stuff is weeded out, leaving the amateur sailor just enough to be basically equipped in terms of skill. Hervey is not your rigid old seadog, and he always suggests alternatives that will work just as well. What draws the curious reader is perhaps the way he instructs; not as a master, but emphatically as a struggling amateur.
In this book, you will learn what it takes to sail a small craft competently, and avoid years of fumbling in the dark, for the mistakes were already made for the reader to learn from. You will also learn to make essential (the best through trial and error) projects with minimum tools and conviction.
As Hervey so aptly sums up the competent seadogs of old with an adage:
" every finger a marlinspike, his blood of stockholm tar..."
And I agree we should buy 2 books, one to be read at home, the other on board for handy reference.. or should I say, distilled wisdom?
And yes, the book is beautifully illustrated in black line drawings with retro-style shading.
If you are reading this review, I cannot imagine why you have not purchased the book, probably less than $10 including shipping.