25 Awesome Books About Sailing Around The World

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I am not a water person. I have very little desire to actually sail around the world. But when I read these books about sailing around the world, I briefly think it would be really cool to do.

But it’s certainly not something I’m striving to do anytime soon, if ever. I’ll stick to the sailing books instead for now and today I’m going to share some of them with you!

There aren’t any how to sail books on here, just books about sailing around the world and a few sailing survival stories, both topics I love reading about.

I’ve actually read a few of these and have quite a few of the others on my TBR and wishlist. I’m sure I’ll want to read even more by the time I’m done with this post.

  • If you want to listen to some of these, consider trying Audible! You can get your first month free (one free book) plus tons of others they have for free.  Get that Audible deal here.
  • If you’re on more of a budget, try Scribd!  You can get your first month free there. You can read books and listen to audiobooks. It is unlimited (especially the reading) but if you listen to tons of new audiobooks you may be restricted after a few. I don’t listen to enough to confirm this, but I do use Scribd myself and like it a lot. Sign up for Scribd here!
  • Shop my collection of bookish goodies on Etsy! These aren’t my shop items, but other shops I’ve curated into a book-themed collection. Shop my Etsy bookish goodies here!
  • If you want to read more on your Kindle but don’t want to buy books, Kindle Unlimited is a wonderful option. It’s $9.99 a month but if you read a lot and like to read more than just new releases, it could be worth it. Get Kindle Unlimited here!
  • Get $5 off of $25 from BookOutlet! This is a great place to find new books for pretty cheap. They also have sales quite a bit, so keep an eye out for those. I tend to check here for books I want if they’re more expensive other places. They don’t have everything but they do have a lot. Shop BookOutlet here!
  • Thrift Books has become my go-to when I’m looking for a book and want it cheap. It’s great if you like buying used books. With this you can get a free book after spending $30!
  • Shop my book lists here! You can find every book list I have on Bookshop.org (except my monthly round-ups) and I add everything I can but they occasionally won’t have some. I do occasionally add extras though. If any lists are empty, they’ll be filled in shortly! Shop my bookshop.org book lists here.
  • Shopping internationally? Check out Book Depository!

Love with a Chance of Drowning

Torre isn’t looking for love when she meets a soulful Argentinian man in San Diego. But he’s about to set sail around the world on his small sailboat. Lovesick, she decides to join him on this terrifying and life-changing journey through deep waters. Somewhere mid-pacific, she’s finding it hard to keep everything afloat.

I read this one last year and it was definitely interesting! It’s not like, 10/10 for me but I did enjoy it, especially from the perspective of someone that just sort of decided to sail across the world on a whim.

All the Colours of Polynesia

This is another one I have and can’t wait to read! My South Pacific and sailing book list is quite long now.

This is the three-year journey across French Polynesia on a sailboat, from Bora Bora to the Tuamotus. We get to experience the ups and downs of life on a sailboat along with Jasna, meeting heavily tattooed men, sailing under the stars, and diving with sharks and dolphins.

Maiden Voyage

This one landed on my TBR after reading Adrift: 76 Days at Sea (mentioned below) and it sounds so good!

Tania was eighteen, living in New York with no big plans. But then her father gave her a choice: a college education or a twenty-six-foot sloop. She chose the boat with the caveat of having to sail it around the world. Alone.

It was her home for the next two years and 27,000 miles with just her cat as a companion. What started as just an adventure became a spiritual quest.

The Long Way

This is Bernard’s own story of his experience in the first Golden Globe Race, a solo, non-stop circumnavigation rounding the Capes of Good Hope, Leeuwin, and Horn.

He battled storms, doldrums, fatigue, loneliness, and more over the next seven months. Near the end of the race, he pulled out and sailed on for three more months, ending in Tahiti 37,455 miles later, not touching land once.

Escape from the Ordinary

When Glen and Julie followed their dream, they found reality could be bigger than imagined. Here, we get to hear about the terrors and pleasures of living on a sailboat from the North Atlantic to French Polynesia where even simple decisions can have major consequences.

This is perfect for anyone looking for a true-story sailing book, whether you want to sail or not.

The Perfect Storm

It was the storm of the century with waves over 100 feet high formed by a combination of factors that deemed it the perfect storm.

This is the stories of the lives of people touched by the storm. This is non-fiction and it’s actually a movie, too!

I would like to read this one. I remember my mom watching the movie when I was little and she made me leave the room for one part of it because it was too scary, I guess.

Close to the Wind: An Extraordinary Story of Triumph Over Adversity

In 1996, Pete Goss set off on the most grueling race in his sailing career, the Vendee Globe, a non-stop, single-handed yacht race around the world.

He met every challenge over the next seven weeks before everything started to go wrong. Then, on Christmas day, his radio picked up a Mayday of a sinking French competitor 160 miles away. He turned into the hurricane force winds to rescue a near-dead man on a life raft and this is the story of how that all came to be.

I wasn’t sure about this as I added it to the list but it sounds really interesting!

Adrift: A True Story of Love, Loss, and Survival at Sea

I watched this movie over the winter and now I really want to read the book. This is a crazy survival story (a true survival story) and while most of it isn’t actively sailing, it’s still definitely a sailing book.

Tami and her fiance Richard have their whole lives ahead of themselves when they set sail from Tahiti to San Diego.

Less than two weeks into their voyage, though, they sail directly into one of the worst hurricanes recorded in history. Richard ties himself to the boat and sends Tami to safety below. Hours later, all is quiet and she’s awakened to find the boat in ruins and Richard nowhere in sight.

This is the miraculous story of her forty-one days alone with no mast or sails and little hope of rescue.

The Incredible Voyage

This is Tristan Jones’s six-year voyage alone on his small boat, The Sea Dart ranging from the Dead Sea to Lake Titicaca, covering a distance more than twice the circumference of the globe.

He refuses to let any disasters he faced get in his way including hauling his boat over the Andes, facing the current of the mighty Amazon, and capsizing off the Cape of Good Hope.

This one sounds like a combination of a sailing adventure book and a trekking adventure book.

An Embarrassment of Mangos

This is the story of two driven Canadians desperate for a break from their professional lives who quit their jobs and moved onto a 42-foot sailboat. They set sail for a two-year journey through the Caribbean where they dropped anchor in 16 countries, on 47 islands, exploring secluded beaches and local markets.

If you want a sailing book to have you dreaming of dropping everything to live on a boat, this is probably the one for you.

A Sail of Two Idiots: 100+ Lessons and Laughs from a Non-Sailor Who Quit the Rat Race, Took the Helm, and Sailed to a New Life in the Caribbean

Renee and Michael had no boating experience and had to learn everything the hard way. They managed to make it from Miami to Grenada, dropping anchor at the island of their dreams.

If you’re curious about sailing around the world, or living on a sailboat at all, this is perfect for you! It’s part lessons learned, part adventure.

Adrift: 76 Days Lost at Sea

This is a firsthand account of Steven Callahan’s seventy-six days adrift in his inflatable raft when his sailboat capsized just six days in.

I read this one over the summer and it was pretty interesting! It had some slow moments, but it’s definitely worth reading.


This is a true story about 16-year old Robin sailing around the world alone on a 24-foot sloop over five years. 33,000 miles later, he returns home to California with a wife, a daughter, and enough stories to fill a book. This book.

Off The Grid: How I quit the rat race and live for free aboard a sailboat

Mark went from working 60 hours a week to living off the grid on a 39-foot sailboat, usually on the move or anchored in the water.

He was able to clear up debts and free his spirit while meeting a colorful cast of characters along the way. Now he is sharing the stories here along with how to make this happen for yourself.

An Island to Oneself

Tom Neale was a New Zealander bushcraft and survival enthusiast who spent 16 years in three stints living along on the island of Anchorage in the Swarrow atoll in the Cook Islands and these are his stories.

Plunge: One Woman’s Pursuit of a Life Less Ordinary

When Lisebet trades the life she knows for living on a sailboat, she succumbs to seasickness and a growing desire to be alone.

She enjoys the impulsiveness and alternative lifestyle but must face personal storms, US immigration, adverse weather, and doubts about her newfound love.

Eight Men and a Duck: An Improbable Voyage by Reed Boat to Easter Island

Nick heard fellow bus passengers discussing the improbable plan to sail the 2,500 miles from Northern Chile to Easter Island in a boat made of reeds. They wanted to revive the pre-Incan boat building method while having an incredible adventure.

Nick talked his way on board to find himself plagued with uncertainty, especially when the crew was made of a tree surgeon, a jewelry salesman, and two ducks. Where’s the navigator? Does anyone here know how to sail? Where is the life raft?

This is perfect for fans of adventure and sailing books.

And the Sea Will Tell

If you want a book about sailing, a book about murder, and a super long book, look no further.

Alone with her new husband on a tiny Pacific atoll, a young woman finds an aluminum container washed up on shore next to a gold tooth in a scorched human skull.

The rest of the story is a complex and puzzling true-crime mystery that only Vincent Bugliosi was able to draw together with hundreds of conflicting details of what happened when four people found hell in a tropical paradise.

I don’t love long books but I might have to give this one a shot someday!

The Boat Who Wouldn’t Float

Farley left Toronto for Newfoundland where he heard boats looking for buyers are as common as cod. He doesn’t realize the ship he purchased half-drunk in the middle of the night requires every nautical repair known to man.

The Happy Adventure sank regularly, leaked like a sieve, and had a working engine only on occasion. These are their stories from the Newfoundland coast to Lake Ontario and everything they encountered along the way.

Sailing to the Edge of Time: The Promise, the Challenges, and the Freedom of Ocean Voyaging

John is a practical sailing philosopher with hundreds of thousands of nautical miles under his belt. The narrative of his adventures around the world, from Belize to Yemen, are interwoven with practical tips and hard-earned insights of how to make the most of our lives.

Island of the Lost: An Extraordinary Story of Survival at the Edge of the World

Here is another sailing survival story but in 1864. Captain Thomas Musgrave wrecked on a forbidding piece of land 285 miles south of New Zealand.

On the opposite side of the island, at the same time, another ship ran aground in a storm. The two crews face the same fate with twenty miles of treacherous and impassable cliffs between them.

One crew turns on itself and to cannibalism while the other bands together to build a cabin and find a way to escape.

I don’t usually like this-far-back historical survival/exploration stories but this one sounds really interesting. It was pieced together with historical records and survivor’s journals.

A World of My Own: The First-Ever Non-Stop Round the World Voyage

This is the story of Robin’s sailing journey, the first-ever non-stop, single-handed sail around the world.

This one is probably interesting and sounds like a classic sailing book, but I just can’t with the description on Amazon. It’s a lot of words but really doesn’t tell me what this is about.

Godforsaken Sea: Racing the World’s Most Dangerous Waters

On November 3, 1996, sixteen sailors set out from the Bay of Biscay on the Vendee Globe Race (mentioned above) through some of the most treacherous and isolated waters on Earth.

Six completed the course, six withdrew or were disqualified, three were pulled from sinking boats, and one disappeared without a trace.

Sailing Alone Around the World

Joshua Slocum was the first person to sail single-handedly around the world (I feel like I’ve written that like, ten times in this post). Along the way he was introduced to many dignitaries.

Honestly, this description is like, ten miles long and tells me even less about the book than the one above, but if you like books about sailing around the world and historical accounts, this could be good for you.

One Girl One Dream

Here we have another first, this is the youngest sailor to single-handedly circumnavigate the globe. Not only did she face the seas on her own, but also doubts and hostile resistance from officials.

This is her story of what it was like sailing around the world alone. This one sounds pretty good and it’s only $0.99 on Kindle so I think I’ll give it a shot!

Have you read any of these books about sailing around the world? Which ones? Are there any other sailing books I should check out?

Author: Megan Johnson

I'm Megan, a cheesehead at heart currently residing in the Sunshine State. You can probably find me reading, watching Forensic Files, or both.

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