Category Archives: blog

Press Gang: We’re Hiring. Join the Nautical Mind Crew!

The Nautical Mind Bookstore is looking for a new crew member to work a couple of days a week, starting in September extending ideally for several years, depending on circumstances.

The job involves helping customers in the store, on the phone, and online find the right books, charts, and cruising guides for their needs, and getting said items to them.  Detailed knowledge of boats, books, the implacable heart of the sea, and navigation would be a great boon, as would a facility and comfort with computers, and an ability to learn and problem solve, specifically with respect to fiendish logistical problems. An interest in writing blog posts and/or engaging in social media would be nice but isn’t mandatory, as would comfort around scrappy little sea dogs. Flexible availability, including weekends would be helpful as the scheduling gods are as fickle and capricious as a sea breeze.

The Nautical Mind is a positive and inclusive workspace where the traits, skills, and contributions of all are acknowledged and respected.  It’s a unique local niche bookstore focussed on a deeply fascinating subject matter.

If you’re interested, please send your resume and a cover letter to, subject: “Press Gang”.


David Beaupré’s Advice to Liveaboards

David Beaupré, author of Quest and Crew writes:

There are as many reasons to buy a sailboat and cruise off to the Caribbean as there are dreams. Quest and Crew is the memoir of one such dream. It is a dream complete with blue water sailing and palm fringed islands. For Wendy and me it was the adventure of a lifetime. Each day in paradise presented us with new challenges which helped to refine our sailing abilities.

David and Wendy

David & Wendy

Our cruising style varied considerably from most liveaboard cruisers. We sought out the most remote beautiful anchorages, free from the trappings of civilization. We routinely stayed for weeks in hidden coves that only saw two or three boats a year. The key to our enjoyment and independence was having the right boat and the perfect equipment.

Quest and Crew is the story of our adventures. I also hope that it is a testament to a fine classic boat that was lovingly restored. Quest is a Bayfield 36 that was built in Ontario from a Hayden Gozzard design.  Her beautiful lines and unquestioned pedigree do not tell the complete story. She possesses one elusive and intangible quality that we all seek. She is a very lucky boat. Her luck was proven in Chapter One when Quest faces down a 150 mph hurricane and survives without a scratch while the marina is destroyed and the fleet of moored boats were holed and sunk.

If I could convey one important thought to the reader, it would be the idea that anybody with the will to succeed and a modest cruising kitty can follow their dream. It doesn’t require great strength or a lifetime of blue water sailing. The ability to captain a boat safely does require complete knowledge of the craft and a great deal of common sense. The most important requirement to make an ocean cruiser successful is the desire to take on the unknown. Out on the ocean, outside of the sight of land you discover the meaning of self reliance.

Quest in Nevis

Quest in Nevis

Apart from a good boat and cruising kitty the would-be cruiser should possess the ability to adapt to an ever changing environment and have a high degree of faith in their ability to make themselves into competent sailors. They will certainly need to adapt to very tight living conditions. Without a doubt the greatest stress on a cruising sailboat is not the raging sea. Many couples choose to live their sailing dream in later life. For the first time in their lives they will be living day after day, shoulder to shoulder in the tightest of quarters. In the end it is the human relationship that is put under the greatest strain.  Be prepared. Your relationship will change. It will strengthen or weaken. Under adversity you and your mate will grow closer only if you are willing to compromise.

Quest and Crew by David BeaupréIf I were to offer the simplest advice it would be to purchase the right boat for your chosen cruising grounds. Spend some time discovering the boat’s strengths and weaknesses. But most importantly you must get up every day and make a commitment to get just a little closer to your goal of sailing away. Many want-to-be cruisers take a passive attitude to preparing for their adventure. The preferred alternative is to be a hands-on captain and do the work yourself. This will serve you well in finding the confidence to become a successful cruiser. This intangible quality can only come from deep within you. The desire to go sailing is a classic dream that has stood the test of time. To live even a part of your life on the water requires a mind change and the strength to test your abilities.



Unprecedented Online Clearance Sail – Up to 80% off!

Example of nautical books on shelves

An example of medium-high density nb/sqft

If you’ve visited our little nook in the harbour , you’ve seen that our store is crammed floor-to-ceiling with a complete collection of nautical books. We’ll go out on a limb and wager that we’ve got the highest nautical-book-to-square-foot (nb/sqft) densities in the world, and among the highest book-to-square-foot densities in the city.  Anyway, all this is to say that we need to make a little room, so we’re taking the unprecedented step of selling off some older stock at clearance prices.

These books are all new, un-remaindered, and (for the most part) undamaged. Previously, to save up to 80% on such books, you’d need to come on down to the Sail Sale Bargain table, but no more!

And dozens more in the new Clearance Section

* PleaseNote that supplies are usually limited to one or two copies, so we may sell out before our website catches up.

Ontario Sailor Reviews: Dana & Spurr

Some book reviews from Ontario Sailor Magazine:


The Annotated Two Years Before the Mast
By Rod Scher, Original story by Richard Henry Dana

Sailor, author and Harvard dropout (measles weakened his eyesight), Richard Henry Dana, wrote his book, Two Years Before the Mast, in 1840, about a trip he took on a working ship to California. The book became a hit and launched a genre, serving as a forerunner to maritime classics like Moby Dick, Sailing Alone Around the World and Caine Mutiny. Dana, a lawyer and member of a wealthy Boston family, signed up for grunt duty on the ship Pilgrim, and ended up writing about the poor working sailors who travel onboard “before the mast” compared to ship officers and privileged passengers who traveled in more comfortable quarters found aft of the mast. Dana went on to write another book, The Seaman’s Friend, that dealt with sailors rights during the early years of working sailboats, and he defended them in his law practice. His first book has never been out of print in more than 170 years and is now reprinted, along with annotations and notes in the margins by Nebraska-based writer and former English teacher Rod Scher. He has studied Dana’s life and books and has now added notes to explain in the original text old sailing terms, to criticize or compliment, and put the author’s life and experiences in context (eg. Dana’s use of the phrase “weakness of the eyes”).


 Your First Sailboat, 2nd Ed.
By Daniel Spurr

A marine writer who has worked for various magazines including Cruising World, Daniel Spurr has updated his book, Your First Sailboat, designed to help find the right sailboat and gain the skills to enjoy a day on the water. He is the author of other books like Upgrading Your Cruising Sailboat, Yacht Style, and co-author of Offshore Sailing. This book, with lots of black-and-white photos and graphics, tackles many topics, from what to look for in a new or used boat, handling and maintaining the vessel, navigating and what happens when things go wrong (eg., the engine doesn’t start). The back of the book lists 84 various mono- and multi-hulls, from dinghies to 38 ft. yachts, with the author offering pros and cons on various makes and models. Some topics may not be in detail, but the whole point is to get someone into sailing, and out enjoying themselves. Sail along with Daniel.

Mostly Normal Victoria Day Weekend Hours & Super Special Saturday Sale!

Queen VictoriaIn celebration of the moveable pagan feast dedicated to Her Royal Highness Queen Victoria, and the spirit of the British Empire, The Nautical Mind will be open for the following hours:

Saturday – 10AM – 5PM
Sunday – Noon – 5PM
Monday – 10AM – 3PM

Special Victoria Sale: Come in to the store on Saturday and make a convincing case that the book you wish to purchase is in some way related to HRH Queen Victoria and get 10% off! (some arbitrary and undisclosed conditions apply)


Easter Hours

bunny-boatThe Easter Bunny will be hopping down the bunny trail and/or rowing down the bunny canal (which is hopefully mostly free of ice by now) this weekend. To help The Bunny, we will be mostly open, providing our navigation aids, tools, and other boaty books.

Our storefront Easter Weekend 2014 Hours are:

Friday 18th: 10AM – 4PM
Saturday 19th: 10AM – 5PM
Sunday 20th: CLOSED
Monday 21st: 10AM – 5PM

Our web site remains open 24/7.


Windbags: Unique hand-sewn sailcloth satchels.

We are pleased to announce that The Nautical Mind is expanding our stock from books and charts to now also include fashionable satchels.  We will proudly purvey these morsels of haute couture from our store front and online from our webzones.

Windbags - Stylish sail cloth satchelsEach unique “windbag” is made from the best parts of old sails, hand sewn in authentic and shippy Lunenberg, Nova Scotia by salty-yet-stylish sea dogs. We have a wide array to chose from, so come down to the store and check them out, or order by phone or internest, and our staff of sophisticates will be delighted to select one to suit your exacting sail-fashion needs.

They are very rugged, attractive, and neat, and make excellent gifts to sailors or your self.


U.S. Charts to be Ugly and Poor Quality Effective April 13th

We’re disappointed to announce that the US government body responsible for publishing navigation charts, NOAA’s Office of Chart Survey will stop printing lithographic paper charts effective April 13th.  All navigation charts will still be available as “Print-On-Demand” which have the virtue of being up-to-date with all the latest corrections and notices to mariners, but also tend to be flimsy and unattractive.  The card stock, inks, and printing process for POD charts are all inferior to the old lithographic charts.

NOAA Chart 12300 - Approaches to New YorkWe will stock pile a few of our more popular NOAA charts like 12300 Approaches to New York14880 Mackinac Straits, 14813 Oswego Harbor, and 14853 Detroit River, Lake St Clair, and St Clair River Charbook, but expect to sell out.  If there are any US waters you’d like a high-quality chart for, we recommend ordering before April 13th.  East Coast US charts are listed here while inland waters are here.  You can also download PDFs of the Chart Catalogues form the NOAA Site and phone in orders to us at 416-203-1163 or 1-800-463-9951.


Book Reviews: Recipes, Skills, Disasters, Fun.

Some Book Reviews from Ontario Sailor Magazine:

Boating Skills and SeamanshipBoating Skills and Seamanship, 14 Ed.
By U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary
Softcover, 405 pages

This large-format manual is full of boating information to keep you safe on the water, with topics ranging from picking a boat to safety equipment, trailering, boat handling both inland and offshore, navigation, rope work and weather forecasting. With colourful pages and lots of photographs and graphics, this manual is ideal for both the beginner and intermediate boater. This latest installment of the book, now in its 14th printing, is designed more for powerboaters but offers sections for sailors. Much of the information applies to both boating factions. The information is offered in an easy-to-understand way so that the reader doesn’t got bogged down with details. The auxiliary helps the U.S. Coast Guard with rescues, and does boating education. Multiple-choice questions end each chapter to test your skills. This is an important book to read before heading out.

Final Voayage, The World’s Worst Maritime Disasters
By Jonathan Eyers
Softcover, 192 pages

Everyone knows the story of the Titanic, but the author says that tragedy doesn’t even make the top-50 list of the worst maritime disasters of the last 300 years. The overcrowded ship Wilhelm Gustloff sanks with 10,000 packed onboard. Fire ripped through other struggling ships, like Sultana and the Dona Paz, before they vanished. Some survivors of wrecks were shot at, and many ships capsized before going down, and sank quickly. None of that happened with the Titanic, which took almost three hours to sink. This book details many tragedies at sea that led to devastating losses and shattered families, including the so-called Isles of Scilly Disaster. About 1,400 sailors died in the early 1700s (The isles off England has claimed more than 900 ships) in a storm that blew them off-course. The author opens with the general plight of sailors during the Golden Age of Sail in the 18th and 19th centuries before steam power. The vast majority of sailors were conscripted and not volunteered, and most died of disease and not war. During the Napoleonic Wars between France and largely Great Britain in the early 1800s, 60,000 died from typhus spread by infected lice while only 1,500 died in battle. The book is full of these sea disasters. Read on to be both alarmed and scared.


West Coast GalleySea Salt, Recipes from the West Coast Galley
By Lorna & Hilary Malone and Alison Malone Eathorne
Softcover, 256 pages

Sailor Lorna Malone and her two daughters have come up with a deliciously prepared cookbook with a decidedly nautical theme. Malone is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario and a former teacher and has been racing and cruising for more than 30 years, nowadays aboard Aeriel, a McCurdy & Rhodes wooden sailboat with husband, Bill. She first sailed with him on Lake Huron and did the Mac Race, forcing her to prepare food in advance for the long-distance race. She said it wasn’t easy planning lots of meals for a big crew in advance. The family moved to the west coast, and she’s taken part in the Van Isle 360 International Yacht Race, a two-week rip around Vancouver Island, and cruised through the Gulf Islands. She and her daughters, one of whom is studying culinary arts at university, have come up with a variety of recipes that are sprinkled with snippets of information on places they have sailed to, with photographs of the dishes they feature and their sailing experiences. The book begins with what to include in the galley, sourcing local foods, and lessons learned about provisioning before heading out. Most of the recipes come with full-page photos which makes the reader pause to admire the culinary design and food presentation. There are recipes on main dishes, fast snacks, desserts, seafood, and other culinary delights to enjoy at home or while out sailing.


Getting Started in Sailboat RacingGetting Started in Sailboat Racing, 2nd Ed
By Adam Cort, Richard Stearns
Softcover, 214 pages

Marine writer Adam Cort, SAIL Magazine editor, and Richard Stearns, an America’s Cup veteran, sailmaker, yacht broker and participant in an impressive 39 Chicago to Mackinac races, have updated their earlier version of the book on introducing more sailors to racing. They say that many sailors are worried about either looking foolish or safety on the race course, fears that are not justified. “Getting out there is more than worth the risk of loosing a little gelcoat or tasting an occasional helping of humble pie,” the book begins. The idea for the book is to explain racing to cruisers and day sailors so that they can join in on the fun, and see what they are missing. It’s folksy at times, and not too technical to lose the reader. There is an introduction to the race course, starting strategies, mark rounding hints, and some basic tactics and ways to improve boat speed. There’s a limited amount of photos and more helpful diagrams. Get racing and have fun.


As Long as it's FunAs Long As It’s Fun
By Herb McCormick
Softcover, 282 pages

A former editor-in-chief of Cruising World magazine, Herb McCormick tells the tale of cruising royalty with the story of Lin and Larry Pardey, who after 34 years of marriage and more than 170,000 nautical miles and more than two circumnavigations, have moved on land permanently. The couple is known as the King and Queen of small boat cruisers who like to shun modern gadgets — like motors, of all things. The author says the couple’s cruising mantra is “go simple, go small, go now…they’ve proven that the dream of cruising under sail is accessible, attainable and affordable to almost anyone.” The couple has penned nearly a dozen books and many magazine articles on everything from navigation and seamanship to heavy-weather survival. This is the story about how the couple met, married, built a 24 ft. wooden yacht Seraffyn (launched in 1969) and their current yacht, the 29 ft. Taleisin (launched in 1984), and shoved off to explore the world. Larry is Canadian (Lin grew up in California) the couple built their first boat on the west coast and sailed south into Mexico on the first sojourn on their way to many adventures in often remote places around the globe. This book, with only a few black-and-white photos, is less a travel book and more a tale about two central players who, many years ago bought, some land in New Zealand in a quiet bay and have recently settled there after Larry’s health problems. They keep their yacht tied to a dock in front of their sea-side home, although they realize their long-distance cruising days are now over. They wanted to share their story, sought out a writer and we are all the better for it.