Editorial March 2001 Issue

Sayonara, Baby!

Let’s cut to the chase: After 11-1/2 years editing Practical Sailor, it’s time for me to move on.

In the little space allotted me on this page, I’ll now try to recount my many achievements.

Just kidding.

I owe everything to Tim Cole, my guiding light in the publisher’s office (the one who keeps saying, “If it can run in SAIL or Cruising World, it’s not for us!”), and to Dale Nouse, Executive Editor, with whom I’ve worked for 20 years. It was Dale who in 1979 hired me at Cruising World when he was the editor there. And it was Dale who in 1989, when my wife Andra and I were returning to Newport from two years cruising, recommended me to replace Nick Nicholson at the helm of this publication. (By then, Dale had come out of retirement to fortify the Practical Sailor staff.) Ours has been a long and, I trust, mutually pleasant and rewarding relationship. In fact, I can imagine no finer workmate. The fact that we so successfully switched roles (he working for me after years of me working for him) says a good deal about his character. He’s a man who loves to work, delivers a first-rate product every time out, renders sage advice when asked, and will do damn near anything the boss, or a friend, asks—cheerfully. He’s one of the few persons whose criticisms don’t make me bleed all over the floor. I’ll miss most Dale and our far-ranging conversations.

And I will miss the rapport I’ve had with so many Practical Sailor readers over the years. I’ve corresponded by letter, talked on the telephone and exchanged e-mails with thousands of you. And when in “the bitterness of baffled striving” (how historian Francis Parkman described my man Robert de La Salle’s hopeless wanderings across North America) I felt like all the hassles with manufacturers were too infuriating, the computer crashes too frustrating and the tedium of editing technical treatises too mind-numbing, I was bolstered by you, dear reader, who’d drop a line to say, “Your review was spot on. You saved me time and money. Thanks.”

T’ain’t much of a legacy, but there’s not much more to life than time and some money to enjoy it, so I’ll take it.

Now meet the incoming editor, Doug Logan, who brings to Practical Sailor intelligence and wit. An experienced offshore racer and former liveaboard, he worked as a book editor in New York and for 14 years as an editor and feature writer at Sailing World. After building the Sailing World and Cruising World websites he tried his hand at a dot.com job. The way I hear it, that was “a tale” (I’m gonna whip a little Shakespeare on ya here) “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” He’s glad to be back in the world of boats, glad to be making something tangible.

I’m happy, too, knowing that this peculiar little institution of 27 years has been conveyed to capable, caring hands.

I suppose it would be too convenient, too predictable to inform you all that we’re going cruising. That is not the case, but we are not without plans and an adventure.

Andra, Steve and I bought land in the Rocky Mountains of Montana. Two log cabins, a house site and a trout stream. Lodgepole pine and aspen. Rocky outcroppings the well-digger calls “reefs.”

I see myself floating down wide rivers staring at the silhouette of an eagle against the Big Sky. I see myself steaming up the Inside Passage to Alaska, standing in the pilothouse of a small motorsailer, heater at my feet, cup of coffee in my hand. I see myself rolling downwind, a bare foot on the tiller of a Freedom 25, sailing toward Hawaii.

Life’s short. It’s a big world.

See you on the other side.

—Dan Spurr

Comments (0)

Be the first to comment on this post using the section below.

New to Practical Sailor?
Register for Free!

Already Registered?
Log In