When I first glanced at the title of this book, I wondered why anyone would publish yet another volume about boat improvements, but as soon as I cracked the cover of this book I found projects that I wanted to try on my boat. Based on the premise that most boat owners love to tinker with things (and I have yet to meet a boat owner who would disprove that theory), the book “scratches that itch” by illustrating close to 90 projects, ranging from the relatively simple (e.g., various ways to make a nameplate for your boat) to complex undertakings such as designing gantries and “goalposts” for mounting solar panels, radomes, wind vanes, etc., in the optimal position.
The book is lavishly illustrated, featuring multiple color photographs on each page. I found it particularly helpful that for the more complex projects, inset photos were included that provided greater detail. While some projects may not apply to every boat (for example, some vessels don’t have a diesel power plant), there were enough projects with universal appeal to keep a boat owner busy for quite some time.
Not every project was especially practical or even sailboat-centric, however (e.g., underwater LED lights to light up a powerboat’s wake), but I found myself wondering if I couldn’t find a way to adapt them to my boat (such as mounting underwater LEDs beneath the bow to help with docking at night). Granted, I still haven’t figured out a sailboat application for powerboat trim tabs yet, but far and away the majority of projects are applicable to any type of boat.
While the book is British, I can’t think of any projects that wouldn’t apply to boaters anywhere. One potential drawback, however, is that it includes projects centered on current (2015) technology (iPods for onboard music, etc.), which could make the book appear “quaint” in a few decades, although that’s no reason not to purchase it. Although the book arrived at the start of the boating season and I haven’t had a chance to ponder any of the projects in depth, this would make a great “around the fireplace” dream book for contemplating boat improvements during the off-season.
Come to think of it, I might actually incorporate some of the ideas into my spring work schedule. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go make a few measurements.