Editor’s Log: Two Years In and Looking Up
Two years have passed since I stepped into the oversized editorial shoes at
Practical Sailor, and it is a good time to deliver a status report to the most valuable stakeholders in all of this: the subscribers.
Now going on 33 years of publication,
Practical Sailor is one of the longest-running North American sailing publications. It has for more than three decades been one of Belvoir Media Groupís flagship publications and one of its most popular. It is the only no-advertising sailing magazine that tests and evaluates boats and sailing gear. Its contributorsí range of experience is vast. Its readers are brilliant and immune to flattery.
The challenges ahead are not small. The media world is going digital. Many older subscribers are moving away from sailing, or setting out to sea. Younger working stiffs seem to have less time for sailing or working on their boats.
The color switch in January 2006 brought a new dimension to our gear tests, boat reviews, and special reports. A new three-tier rating system more clearly distinguishes the best products for different types of sailors, ranging from economy-minded day sailors to offshore voyagers with bigger budgets. And the addition of Ocean Tested reports has supplemented our standardized testing with unbiased real-life reports from experienced, trusted sailors. Finally, thanks to the invaluable people listed at the bottom of this pageóparticularly Ralph Naranjo, Ann Key, Al Herum, and Judi Crouseóthe editorial department is cruising at hull speed.
We sadly bid farewell to one of our most talented and knowledgeable editors, Executive Editor Dale Nouse, who died last year at the age of 84. With the sale of sister magazine Powerboat Reports (whose circulation was folded into Boating magazine earlier this year), we also lost its editor Chris Landry, who was a key contributor to Practical Sailor.
My knee-high sheet-tailers, Ben and Jake, became waist-high winch grinders and started school. My patient wife adjusted to the pile of sailing gear and test apparatus that collects around the house. I am finally able to get some sleep.
The Future: As it has been for 32 years, we are guided by our subscribers. That is the bottom line. If you need our help sorting out a boat or gear problem, or have a newsworthy experience to share, drop us a line at email@example.com. Either I or someone on the staff will answer as quickly and as best we can.
Many of you have been clamoring for easier issue downloads at sea, better and expanded online archives (yes, we know those three-ring binders are piling up), and improved online services. Along with our Internet team, I am working at revamping the website,†to address those needs. If you havenít visited the website in a while, I invite you to drop in on the "Tools and Techniques" section, where we have begun uploading back articles of two of our more popular columns, "PS Advisor" and Nick Nicholsonís "Offshore Log." The website is a sliver of what is to come, but I hope the expanded content helps fill the gap until the greater vision unfolds.