Best Sailing Books on Women

Women who conquer the world!

Custom Search

'First Lady' by Kay Cottee:

Top of my list of the best sailing books; my first book on sailing women who are inspirational was on Kay Cottee for me she is number one!

I had never sailed, not even thought about it until I read 'First Lady" the amazing story of her voyage around the world.


This is one of my favourite sailing books because it is inspirational, some parts of my book are dog eared and marked from constant reading; it smells boatie and has a bit of mildew on some pages from being on the bookshelf on my yacht.

Parts are so thrilling as Kay battles knock down after knock down in mountainous seas and 75 knot winds near Cape of Good Hope, and if that’s not enough a near collision.

And then she entered in her log: ‘Who needs fingernails anyway? You’ve only got to keep cleaning them!’ And then, ‘Yep, definitely emergency brandy situation but saved a bit.

All’s OK. Only regret that I didn’t put non-skid on lockers and bulkheads – seem to spend an awful lot of time walking on them in these parts!’

And then she’d talk to her Teddy and bake a loaf of bread, even do some knitting. What an amazing lady; sailing women the inspirational.... you bet!!

“To the sounds of a canon, horns, cheers, the clapping of thousands of hands and my own hiccoughing sobs, we crossed the line on 5 June, 1988. I had achieved my dream!”

- Kay Cottee after her history making voyage

'Taking on the World' by Ellen MacArthur:

Then I read another book.... Which tops the list of best sailing books!  The fastest women on the planet! Sailing women who are inspirational? Absolutely, her catch cry is ‘you can do it!’

This is a woman who had a dream from the time she stepped on her aunt’s yacht at the age of four.

Her story is an amazing journey of an all-consuming passion and dedication to the sea and sailing.

At 18 she was without a doubt inspirational sailing her own 21ft yacht solo around Britain.

A few years later she sailed the Mini Transat solo transatlantic race which led to the fulfilment of her dream of sailing in the Vendee Globe. I love reading some of her quotes about her experiences ... they inspire ... they give you goose bumps!

In Ellen’s own words;

“For most, the Vendee Globe is the ultimate race in single handed sailing ....................... it pushes sailors to their very limits, mentally and physically and tests every skill they have on the water."

But as the saying goes, “to win first you have to finish” and this is never more true than in this race...........

....I was still ‘the same Ellen’ – the girl with boundless enthusiasm for the sea and everything it has to offer.” 

Ellen leaves the very best in awe! Ellen is truly one of the elite when you talk about sailing women who are inspirational!! Put 'Taking on the World' by Ellen MacArthur on your list of best sailing books too!

“I’ve put everything in – my heart, my soul, my flesh, my blood, just everything. I’ve never pushed this hard.”

– Ellen MacArthur on her record breaking solo circumnavigation

'True Spirit' by Jessica Watson:

At just 16 years old Jessica Watson became the youngest person to sail none stop and unassisted around the world on Ella’s Pink Lady.

She had some major challenges along the way and a lot of critics but for most of us she wasn’t the only one tearful when she returned home to a massive welcome at Sydney Harbour escorted by a huge flotilla of boats, helicopters, cheering spectators in pink, and three television commercial networks.

Australia’s prime minister was there to greet her ... In his speech he said; “At 16 years old you are a hero to all young Australians. You are also a hero to all young Australian women. You do our nation proud."

"On Australia Day I asked you, what was your message to all Australians? And what you said was three simple words: “Live your dream!”

"Jessica today you have done just that. Today you have lived your dream."

Her answer to that was ...."I don't consider myself a hero, I'm just an ordinary girl," Jessica adding that you didn't have to be someone special to achieve great things. 

Add her book to your best sailing books list it is out NOW ... on her amazing voyage...'True Spirit' ....you will enjoy it! Meanwhile that is Jessie Martin pictured with her the youngest guy to do the same voyage in his sail boat and his book Lion Heart is great reading and on my shelf amongst my best sailing books.

"You just have to have a dream, believe in it and work hard!" - Jessica Watson

' A Star to Steer Her By' by Ann Gash:

How many best sailing books can you have, a whole collection I guess they are all different!!

Ann Gash was always an adventurous woman and did not start sailing until she was 45 years old. She learnt coastal and celestial navigation as well as seamanship to handle her yacht Ilimo a 7.3m wooden Folkboat. 

In 1975 at 65 years old, and a grandmother she set sail out of Pittwater on an around the world voyage in a tiny sail boat. Known as the “Sailing Granny” she returned two and a half years later to a hero’s welcome.


Ann Gash wrote one of the best sailing books of her voyage in which she described her adventures, battling storms, being surrounded by a school of sharks, nearly being run down by a tanker and hit by a tug.

She is most definitely one of the sailing women who is inspirational. If you want to learn more.... why not add this to your list of best books,...'A Star to Steer Her By!'

Sadly she died at the age of 83 after a life of adventure.

And if you enjoy this read about another lady Jeanne Socrates at 70 years old who become the oldest women sailor to sail round the world non stop and unassisted.

“Dreams are renewable. No matter what your age or condition, there are still untapped possibilities within us and new beauty waiting to be born.”

- Dr Dale E Turner

Best Sailing Books-'Sail Race Win' Samantha Davies:

Samantha is one of the worlds leading solo sailors in a male dominated sport! Despite tackling perilous seas and hauling sails twice her weight, Sam still indulges in all things girlie!

Her biography is 'Sail Race Win' on the list of best sailing books and go to her web site where she shares her adventures and videos ... www.samdavies.com

Sam is a 33 year old Cambridge engineering graduate who still loves all things girlie and can be found at times pottering around on her pink sailing boat, Roxy, in a little pink bikini.

She has three diamond studs on her ear and a belly ring and if she feels she needs luck at sea she races in her special knickers: ‘My girl boxers with “Lucky” in pink diamante.’

She really is a girlie, girlie sailor... crazy about fashion and was known to be dancing in the middle of icebergs to the sound of 'Girls Just Wanna have Fun' by Cindy Lauper.  

Sam was brought up living aboard a yacht off Hayling Island in England with her parents and sister, and one of her grandfathers was a submarine commander and the other a powerboat racer pilot.

Along with Ellen MacArthur, Sam is in the top five female sailors in Europe. She was coached by sailings Big Three ….. Ellen MacArthur, Shirley Robertson and Tracy Edwards.

Guys verses Girls in the sailing world???? Sam says, “Patience and endurance, great female attributes, are also a big advantage.

Guys go full out wanting to win ... which only works for the first day. Women are much better at conserving their energy. Maybe it’s also because we don’t like to suffer as much as men!” So do women make better sailors? “We’re equal!”

Another of my best sailing books!  

Some times at sea she’s in oilskins, and other times Samantha says, “In the tropics, when it’s really hot, it’s better to do everything naked!’ - Sam Davis

'Against the Flow' by Dee Caffari:

While you’re getting a library together on best sailing books on women sailors make sure you include ‘Against the Flow!’ written about another inspirational and record breaking British round the world yachtswomen.

Dee Cafferi, 35, in 2006 became the first women to circumnavigate the world the ‘wrong way,’ East to West, against the prevailing wind and tide. The voyage took 178 days.

Dee has been described as a chatty unpretentious PE teacher, which she was until swapping netball hoops for spinnakers just over eight years ago. 
Just as crucially as learning how to sail her 60ft yacht Aviva, solo round the world in the Vendee Globe, Dee knows the importance of preparing mind and body and has explored the cutting-edge science of navigating her mind and body through unheralded challenges on the vast and lonely ocean!

“Going around the world the first time was an emotional rollercoaster. It is easy to be obsessed by the technical side. But to make all the right sailing decisions you have to be emotionally in the ‘right place.’

Having more knowledge about my brain and how it reacts will get me on a more even keel emotionally. It takes energy if I’m upset!” Read this inspirational sailing women’s story in another of my best sailing books selection.

“You’re the only one there who is going to switch a bad mood around, so you need all the help you can muster...... There’s stuff that I turn to for help in times of difficulty...... Who can resist being motivated by the Rocky theme tune?” - Dee Caffari

Return to Home...  

Click here to read our Privacy and Disclaimer Policy...

Sea Quotes

Dare to Dream is a gift book with 96 pages of inspirational quotes accompanied by 51 world class images! You can see some of these quotes and images on ‘Sea Quotes.’ It takes you on a journey of dreaming, visualizing, setting your goals and living your dream!  A fantastic gift and coffee table book!  

Women who Sail

Retire Now - How

Stress Relief

Beauty Afloat

 Sailing Books

Safety at Sea

Fitness Afloat