Know other good books? Post them in the comments!
Learn To Sail
Sailing Made Easy
There are a lot of “Learn To Sail” books out there, and at the end of the day they all have similar material. This is a new textbook by American Sailing Association (I haven’t used it when I was getting my first ASA certification, it came out after that), and it looks to me well told and neatly illustrated.
Dave Franzel. Sailing: The Basics
This book is written by the founder of Boston Sailing Center. It is sometimes very dense, and I certainly would not recommend it as your first or only sailing book, but it’s a thought-provoking reading in addition to some other books listed here.
Comprehensive Sailing Books
The Annapolis Book of Seamanship
This is just it, a comprehensive sailing book covering a lot of different topics (sail trim, sailing in light and heavy weather, trip planning, navigation, etc etc). Well written.
Chapman Piloting & Seamanship
This book is invariably described as a “Boating Bible”. While I don’t condone this use of the word Bible, it is is indeed a very comprehensive (and thick!) volume treating all aspects of boating (not just sailing). Unavoidably, somewhat dull written, but still a good addition to your bookshelf.
Embassy Cruising Guide: New England Coast
A very comprehensive description of most harbors and anchorage in our parts. This is not a cheap book. I happen to have one extra, will gladly pass it into good hands.
James Bildner. A Visual Cruising Guide to the Southern New England Coast
Much thinner volume. The author is a sailor and a helicopter pilot, and the book features a lot of aerial photos of New England harbors, with corresponding charts and text description.
Eldridge Tide and Pilot Book
This is a reference on tides and other navigation stuff for the entire East Coast. Published every year, because the tide times change every year. I’d say you can find 99% of it in the internet these days, but I still like to pack it with me when I go on muti-day trips.
Anthony Bailey. The Coast of Summer: Sailing New England Waters from Shelter Island to Cape Cod
Just a good book by a British journalist sailing in (almost) our waters. I reviewed it in English and in Russian. Recommended.
Only useful for the obsessive documentation readers like me. These books are freely available online, and also summarized in any good sailing/boating book. But still, it feels good to have them!
The official Coast Guard “rules of the road”
Chart Number One — the legend to all US official charts.