‘Something about navigator’. The rear cover has this to say
‘A fascinating story of a charming boat ‘something about navigator’ explores the development, building and sailing of one of john Welsford’s most loved designs. The navigator has become an incredibly popular boat with over 600 plan sets sold at last count. Robert Ditterich uses a narrative style to pin down the charm at the root of this popularity, while also extensively illustrating the processes involved in building one, fitting it put and using it. The navigator ‘in the wild’ is represented by illustrated essays from experienced navigator sailors and builders. The romance of small open boat sailing, and the freedom felt, even just in dreaming about one, will make this book appealing to owners or aspiring owner/builders of many wooden boats available today’
I’ve never reviewed a book and I’ve only just started reading this one. So what follow are my basic first impressions. In addition, I must declare that there is a contribution from me in it – so in one sense I may be biased....but I have tried to be objective in my first thoughts despite this.
The pictures below I've taken from the internet and I'm hoping that those involved won't mind me using them here - some appear in the book; and I wasn't able to contact everyone involved.....so please forgive me guys.
So, to basics first. It is available from Amazon.com although Robert has it available from another site as well. I’d encourage readers to go to http://somethingaboutnavigator.blogspot.com/
for the further details and reviews. The ISBN number is 9781456403737 and the publisher is email@example.com.
I have the colour version. It’s well bound with a glossy cover and a good comfortable size for holding; 244 pages long and font size is excellent, particularly for bods like me who suffer from failing sight and can’t read in dim light. It’s why I always hog window seats in cafes and on planes and trains!
Anyway, back to the book – there are 8 chapters. Robert starts with some thoughts about small boats, before looking at the navigator itself. The following chapter looks behind the mind of the person who created the design i.e. one Mr John Welsford. I’m looking forward to this chapter – John has always struck me as a talented and thoughtful designer who genuinely likes interacting with his customers. He encourages all to enjoy their boats and he has been instrumental in my successes with Arwen. Being at the end of email and always available on his forum has been so reassuring and never once have I ever felt stupid – I’ve asked him plenty of stupid questions but I’ve never been made to feel stupid!
A lovely chapter then asks experienced navigator owners to share some of their magical moments - Richard Schmidt’s article about ‘Bootstrap’ and a camp cruising trip in the ‘sounds’ is inspiring, educational and a cracking read. So too are the adventures of Martin Wellby and his family in ‘Windlass’ on a Marlborough sounds camp cruising trip.
For sheer exotic daydreaming – the master himself, Dave Perillo shares his Fijian adventures in ‘Magret H’. Owen Sinclair in ‘Tusk’ shares some short ‘cameo’ moments of sailing in various locations around New Zealand – informative, insightful – full of tips for new navigator owners – his adventures and experiences make it easier for new builders to understand what this boat is capable of. Kevin Brennan’s contribution on actually building a navigator is a must read for all potential navigator builders. Kevin has built ‘Slip jig’ which frankly in my eyes is perfection personified – see his YouTube tours of ‘Slip jig’ and you’ll see what I mean.
Chapter 7 on building the hull outlines various techniques and this is an outstanding chapter – oh I wish I’d had this available to me when I started the build. The book is worth getting for just this chapter alone and it is made all the more significant by the quality of the numerous step by step photographs and explanations. Any builder of wooden boats would learn something new from this writing. Quality and precision engineering, flair and artistry are superlatives that don’t do justice to the photos which are used in this chapter supplied by , what in my eyes, are the master builders, namely Barrett Faneuf, Robert Ditterich himself, and Wilfred Vermien (go to his blog at http://users.skynet.be/modelbouw.wilfried/; complimented by the superb photography of Dave Johnstone.
The last chapter details useful resources, blogs and website addresses for prospective navigator builders.
You only spend a few minutes with this book in hand to realise it is a quality publication – simple, eloquent, insightful, informative, imaginative and written by a craftsman, who appreciates simplicity, style and thoughtful design; and who is reflective in what he does. No jargon, no over-complexity, no over-simplification.......It's just right.......I love it. Contributions from well known navigator builders who demonstrate craftsmanship, consummate sailing skills, a sense of fun and adventure and a flair for ’making you want to build one and get out there’ just adds to this book. This is a book written by a boat builder/sailor for boat builder/sailors and it should be on everyone’s shelf. For novices like me – it’s a Godsend
Well done Robert and thank you