If you’re willing to dig a little, this book contains a wealth of practical knowledge on creating a comfortable boat. Its composition and structure are slightly different from the average non-fiction work, and there are a few awkward passages reflecting the author’s concentration on substance rather than style and polish. These only serve to emphasize the no-nonsense, real-world experiences of a lifetime on the water. For those who are going down to the sea for a weekend or a season, this book will make your bobbing world a whole lot better.

This book is a large format (8 1/2 x 11 inches), soft-bound, with 120 pages. Its style is elementary and straightforward in its sequencing. At first glance, it appears quite basic, but look further. There is actually a lot of information for you, whether you’re a world cruiser or merely contemplating a boat purchase.

Roger’s premise is excellent: that a warm and dry boat is the key to successful cruising in temperate and in tropical climates. The book sets forth a comprehensive stem-to-stern course of action to reach that goal. Additionally, it covers several ancillary comforts like water systems and appliances.

Through the step-like chapters, design elements such as construction, shade, heating, cooling, ventilation, and retro-fitting are covered. Many of the author’s experiences are used to illustrate the solutions. You’ll find solid, basic instructions on components often overlooked in the rush to the sea: neglected gaskets on windows, hatches, and doors are excellent examples.

There are innovative topics like fiberglass insulation and water heating that will make you pause and rethink your boat’s abilities. And there are concepts like foredeck shading and evaporative cooling that suddenly make a lot of sense. Several of Roger’s observations and remedies are unique; you won’t find them anywhere else. The rationale is clear, and the methodology is invaluable.

I could find just two minor points to disagree with. The first is his wholehearted embrace of diesel-fueled stoves . . . my experience has not been nearly as favorable. The second is not including a section on ozone or ion generators for combating mildew.

If you’re looking for a frothy digital-wireless-techno-speak piece, it’s not here. However, if you want an instructional book that will save you literally hundreds of groaning hours battling stifling humidity and creeping mildew, I’d recommend The Warm Dry Boat for your workbench. This one is not for gathering dust on the bookshelf but will be useful as your personal trainer to make happen all the good things that are cruising.

The Warm Dry Boat by Roger Mcafee (Mcafee Publisher, 2001)