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The Nature of Boats

Boat noodling. Boat lovers suffer universally from this benign affliction. In its mildest form, boat noodling is nothing more than wondering why that sloop in the next slip is faster than yours. In a more significant manifestation it could mean serious daydreaming--drifting off for extended periods, sketching design ideas on the back of an envelope. Chances are, if you've picked up this book just to see what's in it, you're beyond help.

Naval architect Dave Gerr offers the perfect antidote, a browser's reference to understanding how boats tick: all you've ever wanted to know about boats--power and sail, racer and cruiser; dinghy and motoryacht.

In the clear, friendly, nontechnical style that has made his column for "Offshore" magazine so enduring and popular, Gerr explains everything from how thick a hull should be to why one sailboat tips less than another, from choosing an engine to designing a rig for your trawler yacht, from building a dinghy to simple rules of thumb for dozens of design quandaries.

Gerr writes for the boat noodler in all of us--those seriously interested in learning and dreaming about all types of watercraft. There is no better way to become a better sailor, equipped to handle any contingency. And there's no better place to start than right here.

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgmentsA Note on MetricsIntroductionPart 1. Boats to Note--Designs and Types Worth a Noodle1. The Earliest Yachts--a Gift from the Dutch2. The Dory--The Seaman's Sea Boat3. Sharpshooters--The Catboats that Never Were4. Sea Skiffs: Sea Bright and Otherwise5. The Best of Both Worlds6. A Cruise Aboard Crackerjack or an Imaginary Cruise in a Dream Boat7. Presto and Sharpie: The American Answer to the Dutch8. A Tug of the Heart Strings9. My Own Double-Enders10. The Ultimate Sportfisherman11. The Sutherland Paddle Boat12. Nester Dinghy and the Terribly Trying Dinghy DilemmaPart 2. Theory for Everyone or Why Boats Do What They Do13. How Big Is She Really?14. Displacement and Shape--the Practical and the Forgotten15.The Great Stability Mystery16. Flotation and TrimPart 3. Shaping Her Up or What's Hull Form About, Anyway?17. Defining Her Shape18. Reading Between the Lines19. Speaking VolumesPart 4. How Fast Will She Go?20. Power Yardsticks21. So You Like to Sail Fast?Part 5. Fads, Trends, and History22. Thanks to the Rule . . . 23. Speed with StylePart 6. The Iron Breeze24. Engine Lore25. Let's Talk Torquey26. The Care and Feeding of a Power Plant27. The Case of the Boat that Shook or Engine Nightmare28. Outboard InfoPart 7. Electricity and Water Sometimes Mix29. The Case of the Boat that Burned30. Controlling the Flow, Keeping Electrons on the Straight and Narrow31. Comprehensible Corrosion: Keeping Your Electrons from Jumping ShipPart 8. Analyzing the Eggbeater32. Power to the Propeller: Propeller Selection You Can Understand33. Understanding the Sailboat Propeller--The Art of Compromise34. Getting the Shaft, Pulling the Prop, and Taking Its Measure35. Speed Demon Drives36. The Boat that Wouldn't FlyPart 9. Catching the Wind: Sailing Simplified37. Getting a Lift38. Lift from Cloth: Sails and Their Workings39. Rigging Rules of Thumb: Demystifying the Rigging Game40. The Delicate Balance41. Homemade Self-Steering42. Miracle Rope!Part 10. You Built Her of What? Construction for Everyone43. Even from Cheese Whiz (Almost)44. Scantling Rules of Thumb45. It's Only Plastic46. Secrets of Space-Age Hulls47. Believe It or Not, Wood Is Best48. The Ring of Metal--Boats from the Smithy49. Home-Built BoatyardPart 11. People Power or Your Boat Should Fit Like a Glove50. Room Enough? The Human Dimension51. At the Helm: Steering Station Ergonomics52. Staying AfloatPart 12. Getting Where You're Going53. Rudders, Hitting What You Aim For54. Controlling the RudderSuggested ReadingIndex

About the Author

Dave Gerr (rhymes with "bear") is a naval architect who designs both yachts and commercial vessels. Gerr Marine has been in business since 1983 and has designed everything from dinghies to 60-foot around-the-world racing sailboats, an 82-foot aluminum voyaging motoryacht, and currently, redesign work on the U.S. Navy's nuclear submarines. Gerr is a contributing editor with Boatbuilder, Yachting, and Offshore magazines. HOMETOWN: New York, NY


"It's sort of a cross between David Macaulay's The Way Things Work and a volume of Andy Rooney essays. Which means it's fun and educational at the same time." Practical Sailor "If you are not not nautically obsessed prior to reading this book, you will most certainly be afterword." Sailing "It's quite obvious Gerr understands the weaknesses of those of us afflicted with a passion for boats. Furthermore, he trades on our insatiable appetite for nautical tidbits. And he does it well. There's hardly an aspect of yacht design, construction, and operation that he doesn't touch on in his cheerful, chatty manner." Sea

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