Honestly, I work on the blog as I go with overall projects in mind and things that come up that I can apply to something interesting, educational or funny on the blog.  My book reviews will go in spurts, as I’ve read the books already, but sitting down and thinking of a more in depth review takes a bit more time and I’m selective about what I review on this site.

The Complete Ocean Skipper by Mr. Tom Cunliffe is the 3rd book he’s written and probably by far one of his most comprehensive.  His other two books fall in line with Mr. Cunliffe’s personal RYA experience and he has vast offshore experience with which to write this book.  He’s he’s sailed all over the world and England has some nasty and serious sailing weather.  The other two books are titled The Complete Day Skipper and Complete Yachtmaster and are worth a look.  I have the 1st Edition Hardcover published in 2016 by Adlard Coles Nautical via Bloomsbury Publishing, with ample pictures and 270 pages.

I admit I picked up this book because I had read a previous review that said Mr. Cunliffe was actually one of the growing list of famous older sailors who were starting to admit/tell folks that Fin Keels were ok for deepwater boats.  I liked that, so I grabbed the book and there’s a lot more than I bargained for.  I like Mr. Cunliffe’s writing, plain and simple.  It seems he has a fair voice and takes the time to explain pros and cons of whatever he’s talking about, but he won’t shy away from saying the truth.  One of these truths is that the fin/spade keel mix doesn’t work well on poorly made boats and there ARE documented instances of fin keel’s coming off boats.  Yep, there are, I’ve read them and I’ve read the Coast Guard write-ups on some of them.  But, Mr. Cunliffe also says that Fin/Keel can work for deep water boats like other keel/rudder mixes as well as admits that he has a “dram” or two of the spirits on passage (I’m ok with this, good on you Tom).  One of the better sections you don’t find in too many modern blue water sailing books is a pretty complete navigation section, including detailed instructions for  sextant use and calculations.  I’m pretty impressed with it, in the days of electronic charts and touch button everything, Mr. Cunliffe still chose to make sure this went into his book, which is a testament to his agenda.

So if you want or need a book with a bit of a different voice about deep ocean or blue water sailing, perhaps give this one a try.


By reviewing and recommending this book, I take no personal or professional responsibility for what you do on the water after reading this book.  On the water, the lives of you and your crew are in your hands.

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