Appendices -- Useful Supplemental Information


Emiliano Marino, International Marine, 1994. 494 pp, 700 illus.

(Abridged from a review by S. K. Hopkins, WoodenBoat Magazine #125, July/August, l995.)

Thirty-eight years ago the door to the close-kept secrets of sailmaking opened a crack when R. M. Bowker and S.A. Budd published a slender book based on the then-unheard-of-premise that ďan amateur without prior experience can make satisfactory sails from written instructions.Ē Unfortunately, Make Your Own Sails was soon obsolete, because 1957 was the eve of a revolution in sailcloth production, and Bowker and Bud's rules for working in cotton were inappropriate for Dacron. A 1975 revision fell short of keeping up with the rapid change in synthetic sailcloth technology, and the book was lost astern in the wake of progress.

Meanwhile, small-boat sailor and PhD James Lowell Grant was self-publishing six little bare-bones do-it-yourself manuals -- one each for mains, jibs, spinnakers, staysíls, stormsíls, and repairs. The Sailmakerís Library opened the door further. Sailmaking was out of the closet.

Grantís rules for inducing shape produced sails superior to many from commercial lofts. Thousands of sails, made by amateurs using one of his booklets and a home sewing machine, proved the accuracy of his recipes. Thousands more were made by small lofts that were launched, and thrived, on this austere body of data -- which is by no means out of date. (Note: This evolved into Sailrite Kits.)

If you hanker to learn how to make a sail, you would be foolish to ignore Jim Grantís compendious books.

You would be even more foolish if you did not open your arms wide and embrace Emiliano Marinoís commodious new one. For, in The Sailmakerís Apprentice, the basics of traditional sailmaking -- all the secrets that Bowker, Budd, and Grant unlocked, together with many newly divulged by Marino -- are artfully, lavishly, even passionately elaborated and enriched.

The text opens with a ditty-bag apprenticeship. The reader who dons palm and plies needle to complete this project will become acquainted with some of the sailmakerís tools and techniques. He is then given a tour, always escorted by Christine Eriksonís illuminating illustrations, of the essential preliminaries: a thoughtful review of hulls, rigs, and sails, of shapes and theory.

We now come to the main matter of making sails -- 240 pages strong -- in which the apprentice learns how to design the sail of his choice, with all itís camber-inducing features. Precise guidelines for the all-important broad-seaming and edge curves are put at the apprenticeís fingertips. He learns how to loft a sail, sew it up, reinforce it with patches, rope it, and finish it in a highly seamanlike manner. During this instruction he is surrounded by sample sails, ranging from crosscut Bermudan mains to vertical-cut spritsíls. The student also learns sewing machine tactics and is offered inspirational sketches of handwork like sewn eyelets and leathered corners.

A closing chapter on using sails is a particularly rich mine of information on controlling and changing the shape of sails out on the water. There are many books on sail trim, but this material includes all our favorite small-craft sails -- sprit and sprit boom, lug and lateen, gaff and gunter --which are particularly susceptible to such adjustment.

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