If you’re shopping for an affordable sailboat that you can own for years to come, Gregg Nestor has just done you a big favor. He has written the book you’re looking for: Twenty Affordable Sailboats to Take You Anywhere. Sound familiar? It might because this book follows John Vigor’s very popular book: Twenty Small Sailboats to Take You Anywhere. Both books have been published by Paradise Cay Publications.

Gregg, who writes many of the boat reviews for Good Old Boat magazine, was a natural author for this book. On behalf of the magazine, he has a great deal of experience crawling in and out of cubbyholes on many sailboats. He is as unbiased as any sailor can be about something as opinion-provoking as a cruising sailboat. His selection of 20 boats is as good as it gets. There are many more great boats, to be sure. Perhaps those will be the subject of the next book. I can see it now: Twenty More Affordable Sailboats to Take You Anywhere. If this book flies off the shelf, who knows what might follow? If your personal favorites were overlooked in the first 20, get your vote in early!

As he does with his reviews for Good Old Boat, Gregg researches the boat designer and the manufacturer and gives his readers not only the highlights of the boat but also the highlights of its birth back in the 1960s, 1970s, or 1980s. This is, by the way, how one finds an affordable boat: one reaches back into a previous era and finds a gem that has already stood the test of time. Call it a classic fiberglass yacht. Call it a good old boat. Whatever you call it, this boat is part of the affordable dream. Want to go sailing? Gregg Nestor will help you find the boat to make your dream come true.

The information Gregg provides on a boat’s historical background is always fascinating for those of us who were not following the life and times of our boats’ designers and manufacturers as they unfolded the first time. Now, as lovers of our own sailboats, we want to know more about their parentage and what factors influenced their design. Gregg gives us this important background.

Naturally, the majority of effort for each boat is spent on a review of its design and sailing characteristics. But Gregg goes beyond all that with insightful comments by an owner or two, a note about what you might expect to pay for a boat of this kind today, specific weaknesses to check out if you’ve already fallen in love with a particular boat, specifications for the boat, sailplan and accommodation plan drawings, owners’ groups that will help you find others who sail and love boats like this, and the important comparative calculations that matter.

Speaking of these comparative calculations, Gregg takes a page to explain each. This is a question that comes up time and time again in the world of boat reviews. And he offers a spreadsheet comparing the 20 boats he’s selected: specifications and calculations. There’s a helpful bibliography also.

Gregg has created a useful, thorough, and helpful book if you’re in the market for an affordable sailboat capable of taking you coastal hopping or well beyond your home waters. You’ll find this book to be interesting reading even if you’re not currently prowling the dockyards and marinas for your next boat.

Twenty Affordable Sailboats to Take You Anywhere by Gregg Nestor (Paradise Cay Publications, 2006; 210 pages)