Available only as a download from Good Old Boat Magazine

( –  105 pages -$25.00

The Sailboats 101 series of articles — written by Don Launer and illustrated by Ted Tollefson — were introduced in 2003 in our July issue. Some of our readers asked for a basic overview of technical information and we realized that each issue of our magazine lands in a household, a family, or a boat crew with widely differing backgrounds and skill sets. We thought it would be a good idea to address this wide range of experience among our readers with two pages devoted to the basics.

There’s no one better at explaining something concisely than Don Launer, a lifetime do-it-yourselfer, sailor, engineer, and tinkerer. We asked him to write no more than 900 words on any topic and to work with Ted Tollefson, another sailor who would be doing the layout and developing the illustrations. Beginning with Depth Sounders 101, Don came up with the subjects for each 101 article. This Sailboats 101 collection contains all Don’s articles from July 2003 to November 2011.   We’ve enjoyed bringing each two-page spread to you over the years and hope you’ll enjoy this collection as much as we enjoyed gathering the articles for it.


The Galley: How Things Work

112 pp.  57 illustrations.  2009.  Paperback $17.95

ISBN:  978 1 57409 288 2

Sheridan House

Available from Sheridan House or

This is not the usual galley book.  Food is barely mentioned and there are no recipes. Instead, this book delves in depth into the infrastructure of a boat galley – the equipment that is available and how those devices work, along with installation requirements and suggestions.

Although on the surface the boat’s galley may seem to be a very simple affair, in truth it can be a rather complicated amalgam of various, and sometimes advanced, technologies.  The galley equipment described includes:  water pumps; types of plumbing; the pros and cons of water-tank materials; reverse-osmosis water-makers; types of stoves and fuels; ice box insulations; electrical and mechanical refrigeration; marina water connections; raw water faucets; electrical and heat-exchanger water heaters; fume detectors; inverters; galley appliances; fire extinguishers; barbecues; shore-power connections – and much more.

It is the purpose of this book to explain these technologies and present the wide range of options that the boat-owner has when tackling a galley project, either large or small.  It explains how each of the components of a galley work, the advantages and disadvantages of each, as well as upgrading options.

This is the only book that looks in depth at the components of a boat’s galley.

Publication date of The Galley – How Things Work, will be in late September and will be Captain Launer’s fifth book on recreational boating.


Navigation Through the Ages
224 pp.  64 illustrations.  2009

ISBN:  978-1-57409-273-3  paperback  $23.95

Sheridan House
Available  from Sheridan House or from

Sailors have been navigating the seas for thousands of years, andnavigational technology has progressed exponentially during that time.  This concise yet comprehensive volume begins with theimpressive developments in navigation made by early navigators and follows the art and science of navigation through the ages to theirculmination in the huge advances made by our contemporaries.

With a focus on the navigational tools invented by each age andcivilization, Launer traces the evolution of humankind’s navigational skills from the Kamal of the Arabs and the Lead-line first used by the Romans to the radio and satellite communication devices available to modern sailors. He pays homage to the Polynesians who, in the absence of a written language were able to pass down their navigational skills through generations, and to the adventurous Vikings, who managed to find their way from Scandinavia to England, Iceland, Greenland andbeyond; but he also covers the practical applications of the complex technologies found on most boats today, such as GPS.  Generousillustrations help readers envision the tools in use.

Navigation Through the Ages is now on the publisher’s Best Sellers list.  It will appeal to sailors and lay readers alike—anyone with an interest in the history of science and theexploration of our world.


Lessons From My Good Old Boat
288 pp.  102 b&w illustrations.  2007.  Paperback  $23.95

ISBN:  978-1-57409-250-9

Sheridan House, 2007
Purchase at or from Sheridan House.

In these pages the author shares his accumulated knowledge and experience from decades of sailing and provides the reader with lots of practical information that will make sailing better, safer and more enjoyable.

Contents include: Sails and Rigging, Electronics, Navigation and Boat-Handling, Engine and Accessory Equipment, The Hull, In the Cabin, The Environment and The Sailing Life.

This book is a compilation of some of the hundreds of articles Launer has written over the years.  Most of them originally appeared in Good Old Boat magazine, for which he is Contributing Editor.  Others were published in Cruising World,SAIL, and Offshore magazines.


Dictionary of Nautical Acronyms and Abbreviations
160 pp.  28 illustrations.  2006.  Paperback  $13.95

ISBN:  1-57409-239-1

Sheridan House, 2006
Purchase at or Sheridan House


This handy Dictionary of Nautical Acronyms and Abbreviations contains a listing of all the acronyms, abbreviations and truncations that recreational boaters encounter in nautical magazine articles, books, instruction manuals and Coast Guard reports. A reference such as this has never been published before.

The book is in two parts. Part I is an alphabetical listing of abbreviations, along with an explanation of each, including illustrations. Part I contains about 650 entries with some 38 illustrations.

Part II consists of excerpts from NOAA’s Chart No. 1 which lists all the abbreviations used on the government’s nautical charts. Chart No. 1 was originally available from NOAA chart dealers, but is now no longer published by the Government Printing Office, making this section especially useful. Part II contains about 500 entries.


A Cruising Guide To New Jersey Waters
235 pp.  122 illustrations.  28 charts.  Paperback  $19.95

ISBN:  0-8135-3418-6

Rutgers University Press, 1994, 2004
Purchase at

With this book in hand, boaters can cruise down the New Jersey shore from the Hudson River, through New York Harbor, down the Atlantic coast of New Jersey – both offshore and intracoastal -the Delaware Bay, and the Delaware River all the way to Trenton, in the good company of Captain Donald Launer. Captain Launer brings many years of experience as a skipper of small boats to this engaging nautical and historical guide to New Jersey’snavigable waters.As you cruise with him you will be exploring the many trips up rivers and streams that you never imagined existed.The trip from Sandy Hook to Trenton is longer than the trip from Sandy Hook to Boston Mass., and you will be fascinated with the extent of New Jersey’s tidal waters.

This revised edition contains updated informationabout onshore facilities, marinas, restaurants, stores, sites of interest, docking fees, bridge heights, weather, navigation, and safety, as well as post 9/11regulations in the waters near New York City.The book includes a wealth of photographs, charts, and tables.


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Captain Launer's family would like to share the following with you: On June 15, 2015, Captain Donald Launer passed away. If you have any questions about his books or articles, please use the contact form on the website.