Sail To Win Series

The original Sail to Win series is now nearly all out of print, but thankfully a new version of the series is starting. Two books are now available in the new series with more to follow, and you can still get hold of second hand copies of most of the brilliant old series too, and some of them are super cheap.

The New Sail to Win Series

The Old Sail to Win Series



The New Sail to Win Series

Helming to Win by Nick Craig

Nick covers a wide range of topics , from improving and getting consistency with straight line speed to the mental approach to championship sailing; from improving boat-handling to accelerating your learning curve. It is full of loads of nuggets of information and pearls of wisdom.

I've written a more in depth review here.

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The UK


Coach Yourself to Win by Jon Emmett

Coach Yourself to Win is, in Jon's own words "basically a slimmed down version" of his excellent first book "Be Your Own Sailing Coach". It packs a heck of a lot in,  is easy to read, and it has some brilliant illustrations to help with key points.

I've written a more in depth review here.


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The UK


Tuning to Win by Ian Pinnell

A brilliant book for helping even the most reluctant of learners to understand rig tuning and get the best out of their boat.

Read my full review here.

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United States
UK & Ireland


Wind Strategy by David Houghton and Fiona Campbell

One of the sailors I know, who's opinion I respect greatly as he's won a world championship and campaigned internationally, recommended two books to me (which I immediately bought!). The first was High Performance Sailing by Frank Bethwaite, and the other was this book - Wind Strategy. It covers everything a dinghy sailor could possibly need to know about how wind and weather can affect you on the race course, and the knowledge here can help put you one step ahead of the competition before the start gun has even fired.

I've written a more in-depth review here

Buy Now

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UK & Ireland


The Rules in Practice 2017-2020 by Bryan Willis

The Rules in Practice by Bryan Willis is one of the most widely recommended books for sailors, covering the rules with simple explanations and great diagrams. Read more about it here...

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UK & Ireland



The Old Sail to Win Series

Almost all of these books are out of print now, but you can still get your hands on some of them. I've linked to where I can find them, but if you are interested in getting any of them then I'd recommend acting fast!

The next three books are all titles that I've read from the old series:

Mental & Physical Fitness for Sailing by Alan Beggs, John Derbyshire and John Whitmore

I've mentioned this book before and, whilst it does look pretty dated now it still has loads of relevant information. If your interested in a book for physical fitness then I've listed my favourites here (and this is one of them); if it is the mental fitness side that you're exploring, then there's lots here that is hard to find anywhere else.

I definitely recommend it if you can find a cheap copy.

Read my review here.


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Great Britain and Ireland


Tactics by Rodney Pattisson

Rodney Pattisson is a bit of a legend, so I was keen to get my hands on this book. The book is old fashioned, for sure, but a lot of the stuff in here doesn't have a "use by" date - it's still as relevant as ever it was. The version I have (the second edition) has every tactical situation you can imagine - well, nearly every tactical situation you can imagine - I do get myself into some unusual tangles that even the great Mr Pattisson might struggle to get out of. Even team racing and match racing get a chapter each.


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Great Britain and Ireland


High Performance Racing by John Merricks and Ian Walker

I'm not sure if this was officially part of the Sail to Win series, but it is listed under it in some places on the internet so, as I've read it, I thought I'd include it.

High performance sailing changes rapidly, but the basic principles in this text remain valid and relevant today. It's a useful text, covering a range of topics with plenty of insights into the area.


United States
Great Britain and Ireland



The remaining titles listed are books I haven't read yet.

Helming to Win by Ian Pinnell and Lawrie Smith

Ian Pinnell and Lawrie Smith are both multiple championship winning sailors, so they know what they are talking about. I'm hoping that one or both of them will be involved in the new Sail to Win series.

"This book will take a competent Club racing sailor to the front of his/her club races. With a bit of practice it could even bring you closer to the top of regional championships. However if you want to make it to the highest level, books alone will not help you, but this book will get you some of the way!" - Amazon review


United States
Great Britain and Ireland


Tuning to Win – Lawrie Smith

Lawrie Smith was involved in a number of the Sail to Win books, and with good reason. He's won multiple championships, and won a Bronze medal at the 1992 Olympics. This is one of the series that I haven't read, so I'll leave it to others to review it for you:

"Good book. A little outdated for some of the more modern classes but the principles all hold good and you will find much of use in here." - Customer review on Amazon

"Tuning guide based on 2 hander dinghies. Sound grounding on tuning principles that can be applied to many craft. Only slight issue is the age of the equipment discussed, GRP hulls and aluminium spars could be updated. On the whole the engaging non nonsense style is a breath of fresh air" - Customer review on Amazon


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Great Britain and Ireland


Crewing to Win by Andy Hemmings

Andy Hemmings is a top crew, with a wide experience of all kinds of sailing. Here's what Sailing World had to say about Crewing to Win:

"These champions tell and, more importantly, show how to sail planing dinghies well. While veterans will likely find some of the text elementary (and some of the information may not apply to all designs), every dinghy sailor will find something useful here. For junior, novice and intermediate sailors, these books are excellent sources. They describe fundamentals of preparation, boathandling and sail trim, leaving the nuances of physical training, tactics, strategy and the rules to other texts in the series."


United States
Great Britain and Ireland


The Other Books in the Sail to Win Series

The remaining books in the Sail to Win series are listed below. To be honest they are probably all a little dated now, but you can pick up a copy of most of them on Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk for next to nothing if you think they'll help with your sailing.

Dinghy Crewing – Julian Brooke-Houghton

Dinghy Helming by Lawrie Smith

Boatspeed by Rodney Pattison

Tides & Currents by David Arnold

Sails for Racing by John Heyes

Protests and Appeals by Brian Willis

Sailpower by Laurie Smith and Andrew Preece

Sails: Yachts, Keelboats and Dinghies by John Heyes

The Rules in Practice by Bryan Willis

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