Royce Completes Guidebook Sequel Fit for Any Sailor

The Skipper Says: A Gallup poll asked, “Which sport would you like to participate in more often?” Sailing was second; scuba diving was first. Another poll by another organization found sailing and soccer the second - fasting - growing participation sports. Skiing was first.

Our skipper this week is Patrick M. Royce of Newport Beach. Not to know Pat Royce is to plead ignorance of one of sailing’s greatest teachers.

Chris Caswell, West Coast editor of Yachting magazine, had this to say of the big Irishman, Royce:


“It’s been more than two and a half decades since my parents gave me a sailing dinghy for Christmas, complete with a copy of the first edition of ‘Royce’s Sailing Illustrated.’ I still have that original volume--worn, battered and watermarked from all the errors that a young sailor can make. . . . Tucked into a semi-waterproof plastic bag, that little book was the bible for literally hundreds of thousands of beginning sailors.”

The original “Sailing Illustrated” has been updated many times since 1956. It’s still jam-packed with useful nautical advice, trivia and solid sailing knowledge, liberally illustrated by Royce’s pen and enlivened by his raffish sense of humor.

Now, Royce has finally come out with a companion workbook, “Royce’s Sailing Illustrated Homestudy Guide,” (Western Marine Enterprises, 160 pages, $10.95). Royce spent six years putting the book together.

Encyclopedic in scope, it seems to cover everything a sailor could ask and lots more he probably wouldn’t think of asking because he wouldn’t know it existed.

For example, Royce recommends as a heaving line a softball with braided line attached to it. This outfit is housed in a plastic jug with a hole cut in the side, through which the ball is poured out. Royce claims he can easily hurl the softball 50 feet.

Another clever suggestion from Royce: Regardless of safeguards such as seacocks, every boat with a marine head should carry a tennis ball aboard in the head compartment. It is the right size to temporarily plug most bowl inlets if an overflowing head cannot be stopped when the boat is underway, especially in a storm.

There is lots more. Not only will the beginner be taught how to sail, varnish, dock, do marline spike seamanship, basic weather forecasting and learn what to look for when buying a cabin cruiser, but he’ll be taught coastal navigation and how to buy proper marine hardware for his boat. That only skims the surface. You almost need a Fathometer to measure of the depth of Royce’s information and knowledge.

Sailing Notes

Dana Point Yacht Club is co-hosting with the Cabrillo Beach Yacht Club the sixth annual Cabrillo Beach to Dana Point Race over Memorial Day weekend (May 24-25). This race, open to ocean racing-cruising vessels, rounds Catalina Island.

Dana Point Yacht Club’s 34th opening day last weekend netted the following awards for the best equipped and maintained yachts in the fleet of 44 vessels: Rudy and Mary Burton for the house cruiser Mari Bee, and Lee and Joy Mironoff for their 34-foot Californian Lee-Joy. Both are power boats. In the sailboat category, the awards went to Joe and Erin Meluso for their CT 41, Consort, and to Scott and Mary Moore for their Catalina 30, Reverie.

The National Coalition for Marine Conservation, Pacific Region, will have Merlin Olsen as honorary host of its seventh annual Gala Diner on June 13 at the Irvine Marriott Hotel. This year’s fund-raiser is expected to draw in excess of 500, and the goal is to net in excess of $100,000, according to Chairman Dewayne Brown of Huntington Harbour.