Perfect passage making

Passage Making Made Perfect
By Alastair Buchan
Adlard Coles Nautical
Softcover, 224 pages
An author of various sailing books (Sailing an Atlantic Circuit, How to Sail on a Budget), Alistair Buchan has more than 50 years of on-the-water experience and two Atlantic crossings and now offers up to long distance cruisers how they can best prepare for the trip, from selecting the boat and crew to mapping all available routes and ways to get there as safely as possible.

This book is similar in coverage to Dag Pike’s book (see above review) although Buchan is generally more detailed, with less personal or first-hand accounts of sailing experiences and more facts and figures.

For example, in a discussion on the ideal cruising boat, this book mentions topics such as side decks (wide enough for walking), deck hardware (bolted through the deck to backing plates), grab rails (don’t usually have backing pads and may be unsafe) and jackstays (to clip onto when leaving the cockpit), while the other book is silent on some of these topics.

The author details plans for short, day trips and longer passages of many days, both coastal and bluewater.

There are checklists in the appendix which helps skippers prepare before setting out. And he offers this tongue-twister, borrowed from the military: “Proper planning and preparation prevent pretty poor performance.”

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