Art & Science of Sails

USD $32.00

The Art and Science of Sails, Revised Edition, is written by Tom Whidden, CEO of North Technology Group, and journalist Michael Levitt. It is the bible of modern sail handling and selection. As John Kerr in “Canadian Yachting” wrote, “I loved the approach, the setting of a baseline, the linkages to Hood and North, and the contrasts of their inherent strengths, the working through the materials, and the technical meat of the book in the transitioning from as they put it ‘from aerodynamic theory to practice.” This edition was almost immediately the best-seller in the Sailing Category on Amazon.com. The new edition published October 2016 has an oversize format and beautiful four-color photographs.

US Orders: Books will be shipped via Media Mail and will take approximately 5-8 business days
International Orders: Please allow up to 2-3 weeks for delivery

Category: Tags: , ,

Description

This is not your parents’ Art and Science of Sails, written by Tom Whidden, president of North Technology Group, and Michael Levitt and published in 1990 by St. Martin’s Press. The first edition sold more than 20,000 copies. The Second Revised Edition 2016 is published by North Sails Group, LLC and written by the same duo. What a difference 25 years makes! Today there are one-piece sails made over a 3D mold in the shape they will assume in the wind. Sail plans have radically evolved to fractional rigs, fat-head mains, and non-overlapping jibs. That is true for racing boats as well as cruising. Thus, ninety percent of the text is new, as are almost all of the more than 100 photographs and technical illustrations.

whiddenlevitt-300x152

The authors focus on circulation as they did in the first edition, but now come at it from a different direction. And for the first time anywhere, they attempt to quantify its effects. Where the wind speeds up and why as it passes over a sail plan, and where it slows down and why. Circulation theory is familiar to aerodynamicists for at least 100 years and is argued about by sailors at least since 1973, when the late Arvel Gentry loosed his theories on the sailing world. Gentry was an aerodynamicist at Boeing by day and a sailor on the weekends. And the theories used to explain why airplanes fly were at odds with the theories of why sailboats sail to weather and what the slot actually does.

Whidden and Levitt utilize explanations like circulation to answer such diverse questions as:

  • Why fractional rigs, fat-head mains, and non-overlapping jibs have come to predominate.
  • Why and how leech twist can be a sail-trimmer’s best friend.
  • Why a yacht designer positions the mast, keel, and rudder to create some weather helm.
  • Why the safe-leeward position is advantageous relative to the entire fleet, not just to the boat you tacked beneath and forward of.
  • Why a mainsail’s efficiency is improved with added upper roach, beyond the value of the extra area.
  • Why the miracle of upwind sailing is not that there is so much lift but so little drag.
  • Why, when sailing upwind, the main is always trimmed to a tighter angle than the jib.
  • What a polar diagram tells us or why tacking downwind is almost always faster than sailing directly to a mark.

There is also an in-depth look at the wonders of material utilization―not just materials. Indeed there have been no new fibers accepted into sailmaking for over 20 years. It is how they are used that makes the difference. In the last three chapters, the authors drill down on mainsails, headsails, and downwind asymmetric or symmetric spinnakers. And in this edition for the first time they address downwind aerodynamics. The book celebrates the complexity and beauty of sails and of the whole rarefied sport of sailing.

US Orders: Books will be shipped via Media Mail and will take approximately 5-8 business days
International Orders: Please allow up to 2-3 weeks for delivery

Art & Science of Sails banner photo

Excerpts

By Tom Whidden One of the goals for our book, The Art and Science of Sails, is to connect the theoretical with the practical. An understanding of the physics of… Read More

This book is the second iteration of the Art and Science of Sails written by a wonderful sailing journalist Michael Levitt and Tom Whidden, a distinguished North Sails veteran. I took it on wanting to understand more about what drove those boats we raced and how we could squeeze one more ounce of speed. The sport has changed dramatically, and this book is a solid portrayal of the journey and change in approach, technology, vision, and design. In essence it sets the record straight for many of us who were possibly too close to the forest to see the real evolution and its rapid pace of change.

Whidden’s personal story is intriguing. I loved the approach, the setting of a baseline, the linkages to Hood and North, and the contrasts of their inherent strengths, the working though the materials and the technical meat of the book in the transitioning from as they put it “from aerodynamic theory to practice.”

It’s often said one of the things that separate great books, especially ones that deal with topics that are technical in nature, from the pack is a style that truly engages and teaches… Simply said this is a must book for your sailing library.

The original edition of The Art and Science of Sails by Tom Whidden and Mike Levitt was an outstanding book when it first came out but a lot has changed in the world of sails and sailmaking. This new edition is absolutely fantastic. The authors have done a fabulous job updating it and the book includes all the very latest on sail design and engineering from the America’s Cup and Volvo Ocean Race to sails for the average weekend warrior. If you want to know all you need to know about this very important part of your boat, your sails, I highly recommend that you get a copy of The Art and Science of Sails and read it cover to cover. I did.

– Brian Hancock, author of Maximum Sail Power: The Complete Guide to Sails, Sail Technology, and Performance.

Tom Whidden and Michael Levitt’s book is a clear, reliable guide to getting the most out of your sails, an essential component to good seamanship whether you’re cruising or racing.

– John Rousmaniere, author of Annapolis Book of Seamanship.

A fascinating look at the science and history that has led us to today’s highly technical world of sailmaking. The book does a wonderful job of explaining the physics behind both trimming of sails and state-of-the-art sailmaking

– Bora Gulari, two-time Moth World Champion and U.S. Sailing Rolex Yachtsman of the Year.

This book is the second iteration of the Art and Science of Sails written by a wonderful sailing journalist Michael Levitt and Tom Whidden, a distinguished North Sails veteran. I took it on wanting to understand more about what drove those boats we raced and how we could squeeze one more ounce of speed. The sport has changed dramatically and this book is a solid portrayal of the journey and change in approach, technology, vision and design. In essence it sets the record straight for many of us who were possibly too close to the forest to see the real evolution and its rapid pace of change.

Whidden’s personal story is intriguing. I loved the approach, the setting of a baseline, the linkages to Hood and North and the contrasts of their inherent strengths, the working though the materials and the technical meat of the book in the transitioning from as they put it “from aerodynamic theory to practice.”

It’s often said one of the things that separate great books, especially ones that deal with topics that are technical in nature, from the pack is a style that truly engages and teaches… Simply said this is a must book for your sailing library.

– John Kerr, the managing Partner at AD ASTRA Media publishing Canadian Yachting