Sailmaking, A Guide for the Self-Reliant

Boat building Books

Sailmaking - The Sailmaker's Apprentice


Emiliano Marino, International Marine 1994. 494 pages, 700 illustrations Make your own sails, repairs, canvas work. Slant to sturdy sails, simple materials, and fairly simple tools, but not dumbed-down for the beginner. Not for those who want the very latest hi-tech things, but otherwise it's very comprehensive. All kinds of rigs from lug to gaff to junk as well as the common fare. Just right for those with a traditional boat.

There is an immense amount of information in this book, well conveyed. After you read it you will either be able to make your own sails, or will be quite willing to pay a sailmaker to make sails for you.

Sails the way they work and how to make them. Derek Harvey. Sheridan House. not seen yet. 1997.

"Sail Making for the Home Builder" by Paul Fisher 7.50 pound sterling plus postage/packing from Selway Fisher Design, 15 King Street, Melksham, Wiltshire SN12 6HB England phone/fax +44 1225 705074, or 01225 705074 in the UK. "There are a number of good books on the subject, but the one I've used most is a booklet written by Paul Fisher." - Bill Samson, Chebacco builder

Five books on sailmaking, canvas workers guide, sail repair manual, as well sail making and some rigging supplies, are available from Sailrite 305 W VanBuren, Columbia City, IN 46725. phone 800-348-2769 "Sailrite kits has a series called the Sailmakers Library which gives some info and guess on broadseaming (pointers/ starters etc). No need for software. A good BASIC sail can be built with these books."

Make your own sails. Bowker and Budd. UK (1957, revised 1975 to include synthetics). "It's definitely for the individual armed with a sewing machine, pre-CAD, and understandably written for the most part."

This Old Boat. Don Casey. International Marine 1991. 474 p. Has a good 35 page section on making your own sails, for the typical sloop: mainsail and headsails. Nothing on less common sails, such as gaff.

The Art and Science of Sails by Tom Whidden

several from Craig O'Donnell:

"the one I think is all-around best:" Modern Sailmaking. Percy Blandford. "I get the impression this too originated in the U.K., but it's published by Tab Books (1979). He goes into enough detail that laying out and cutting one-piece polytarp sails should be quite simple once you're familiar with this one."

Racing Dinghy Sails. Jeremy Howard-Williams. General information about sails, rigging, repair.

Worthwhile. Quadrangle Books 1971. adapted from:

Sails. Jeremy Howard-Williams. In-depth general information about sails, rigging, repair in the context of yacht racing. Avoid if you can get the first book mentioned. Adlard Coles 1968.

Make Your Own Sails. Bowker and Wood. Jim Michalak refers to this one in his article on polytarp sails. Pretty good. Published 1957, St Martin's Press, and modestly updated in 1975.

The Geometry of Yacht Sails. Arthur Fisher. Very technical unless you're an engineering graduate, but lots of diagrams which help the average Joe or Jane get the gist. Vantage Press, 1985.

Cruising Guide Books - Cruising guides to the coastal waters of the Southeastern United States