What an exceptionally fine book!

Looking for cruising advice and adventure? This book is for you. Want pointers on preparing your boat for going offshore? This book is for you. Planning to cross the Panama Canal or the Pacific Ocean? This book is for you.

Nadine Slavinski and Mark Schweitzer successfully present a wealth of information and experience in this extremely well written guide. In a comfortable, conversational tone, they capture the nuances, the delights, and the challenges of their journey across the Pacific Ocean aboard Namani, their 1987 Dufour 35. But don’t be misled by their easy style or by the surprisingly low purchase price. Pacific Crossing Notes is a quality cruising guide, rich with photographs and vibrant vignettes.

Nadine is a teacher, writer, and archaeologist with a master’s degree in education from Harvard. Mark’s background is in engineering and computational mathematics. Their son crossed his first ocean (the Atlantic) when he was four.

In the introduction, the authors explain that their aim is to provide coverage broad enough to be useful while detailed enough to remain practical. They accomplish this in 57 chapters organized into 11 information-packed sections. When the book draws to an end after 374 pages, the reader feels a bit adrift, wishing for more.

The authors include a helpful chapter devoted to their top picks of books for a sailboat heading across the Pacific. Nigel Calder’s Boatowner’s Mechanical and Electrical Manual makes the list, along with Nadine’s earlier book, Lesson Plans Ahoy (reviewed in April 2012). Other chapters range from the costs of cruising to weather, the Intracoastal Waterway to atoll cruising 101.

It is difficult to sum up an extensive cruising guide in a few paragraphs, but know that this one comes with a hearty endorsement.

Pacific Crossing Notes: A Sailor’s Guide to the Coconut Milk Run by Nadine Slavinski and Markus Schweitzer (Rolling Hitch Press, 2015, 374 pages)