This book about sailing begins with an account of the author's and his collaborator's separate early experiences and the problems they encountered. In one case, ignorance was not bliss - it resulted in property damage. The other case, despite life-threatening conditions at sea, luckily had a happy conclusion.
Fortunately, both boys grew up, and became very "salty" sailors. In this book, they share lessons learned and wisdom gleaned through almost ten decades of cruising and racing sizeable cabin cruisers in many different bodies of water. They have compressed their combined years of experience on the water into a sensible, practical, and highly readable guide for sailors at all skill and experience levels.
What's the main theme of the book? To make clear that prospective long-distance cruising sailors need clear thinking and realistic plans as they make purchasing decisions. To help make that happen, the authors present accounts of a few (of several) joyful experiences, some mixed experiences, and some ugly ones - and much more.
Their rich and engaging narrative about sailing also portrays picturesque villages on the shores of Lake Ontario, the St. Lawrence River, the Long Island Sound, and Chesapeake Bay. Up-close sightings of gorgeous sea birds, playful dolphins, a large leaping manta ray, scores of huge basking whales in the Long Island Sound, and even a near collision with a swimming buck deer during a night-time race brought much joy, as did awesome sun rises and sunsets. An encounter with flying blood suckers on Lake Ontario, and a miserable anchorage on a rainy night with mosquitos in the Florida Keys brought only pain.
Between them, the two men purchased nine cruisers, and chartered several others over six decades. Based on their various experiences with these vessels they offer practical, hard-won advice to readers on how to buy one, and how to avoid common mistakes. They do this by posing thought questions for shoppers to answer prior to spending money on either new or used boats.
Buying a cruising size sailboat isn't as easy as it may seem, especially to someone new to sailing. Scary design and manufacturing defects, and mistakes by dealers to be avoided are identified. Both skippers had to deal with serious below water line leaks in harrowing conditions. Their bad experiences can make yours better.
The authors' practical lessons on developing and leading race crews for cruisers are important elements in the book. Both men bring much experience with team building to this essential part of racing from their separate professional and racing careers. Rosen provides a team excellence model, and both men contribute to a list of more than thirty mistakes that race crew members are prone to commit. Most of the mistakes cause boat speed loss. Some can result in injury or worse. Readers will learn how to prevent or recover from these mistakes under racing conditions.
While "The Upside-Down Spinnaker" is not a technical book, a glossary is included for less experienced readers, plus numerous photos and illustrations.