KISS Your Dinghy
updated 2 May 2021 at 1652 hrs

(updated 24 July 2021)
Uncle Al's companion to The Wayfarer Book. Photo-rich printing in full colour and at the same high quality as the Wayfarer Book. 2nd edition (RRS page updated for 2017-2020), etc. available for North American orders, and they look pretty darn nice.  After hearing painful overseas shipping quotes, I have created a 3rd edition that is now available for U.K.  delivery through Mike Porter. A4 size pages and all references to "vang" replaced by "kicker" and assorted verbs I have created as parallels to things like "vanged" ...

Spiral bound for easy use as a reference book.

(2021.07.24)  Important update to safety and self-rescue, halyards rethought again plus Al's one-page Rules 2021-2024 summary are also available here as addenda to all editions.

KISS Your Dinghy

“It doesn’t have to be so complicated!” That is the main theme of my book: How to race and cruise safely and efficiently with minimum wasted effort and money. I like to think that I have distilled 60+ years of very successful sailing experience - mostly racing but a fair bit of cruising each year, also - into this book. I have been Wayfarer Class Coach for North America since 1979. Teaching is indeed a great love for me. In real life, I taught French, German and Latin and was able to get students to tolerate grammar lessons by liberal applications of the KISS principle and humour. I have worked to apply that same principle to my sailing coaching which I do “live” at our regattas, rallies and seminars, by e-mail as well as on line via my two Wayfarer web sites: and In the latter web site, I have put together an encyclopedic collection of dinghy sailing information in the WIT (Wayfarer Institute of Technology). The book is largely a well illustrated and polished collection of the best of the WIT with the following set-up:
Keep It Simple, Sailor!
KISS Your Dinghy!
1. boat set-up, gear
2. tuning basics
3. safe, efficient sailing
4. making lighter work of heavier air
5. race tuning
6. boat handling and techniques
7. strategy & words to live by
8. the Racing Rules of Sailing
It is hard for me to nail KISS down into one category, and I am hoping it will be seen as unique rather than as a misfit. KISS is a collection of frequently unique things that I have learned, usually the hard way, during more than 60 enthusiastic years of sailing. Those years include a boringly lengthy list of Wayfarer championships won. My acquired wisdom includes a number of techniques that as far as I am aware (I have shelves full of books on sailing) no one else has publicized or promoted. I feel very strongly that they should be published and that actually was the first reason I wanted to write a book.
In addition to saving money and effort, I address the matter of priorities. How vividly I recall the light going on for me as Eric Twiname in Start to Win pointed out that boat speed and strategy do not always occupy the same positions in the racing hierarchy of needs, which changes depending on where you are sailing: On open water, priority 1 is speed; on small lakes, strategy takes top spot. Priorities in all areas of sailing are another thing that I address – from vast experience. It makes the sailing life simpler and less expensive to have the many things that need doing prioritized. Few of us can afford them all and in action, all of us often must pick and choose what is the most effort-effective.
While largely aimed at people who race non-high-performance dinghies, I believe that what I have to say is useful to sailors across the entire spectrum, high performance to stodgy keelboats. Last but in my opinion not least, I have illustrated everything with lots of photos. The book is first intended to be a companion to The Wayfarer Book published by the UK Wayfarer Association, but KISS Your Dinghy is a better title since the same principles apply to all dinghies and KISS should appeal to dinghy sailors in general.
Target readership: All sailors except perhaps the total novice.

shipping options
UK edition of KISS - options on drop-down menu below
cash payment ($40 CAD or $30 USD or £20): personal pick-up can also be arranged
from Uncle Al (N.A.) or Mike Porter (UK edition)
contacting Uncle Al at