All Sailboats Great and Small

Posted by Darrell Nicholson at 12:39PM - Comments: (1)

Matt Rutherford's weary Albin Vega rests at the dock in Annapolis, Md. (photo by Ralph Naranjo)

The shiny hull on the new Hunter 33 contrasts sharply with that of Matt Rutherford's Albin Vega (above).

Each time I put together the lineup for an issue of Practical Sailor, I try to envision a sailing club with our subscribers’ boats, a sort of maritime menagerie.

A few Lasers sit on dollies by the beach. The back lot is packed with older trailer-sailers like the Catalina 22 and San Juan 24. A stroll down the dock passes by wooden beauties like the Friendship sloop, classic pocket-cruisers like the Pearson Triton, and even a few luxury cruisers like the Oyster 61. A pier is dedicated to racing sailors fitting out C&Cs and J/Boats for the summer season. And, of course, several slips and a wide swath of the adjacent mooring field are occupied by 30- to 50-foot cruising boats—ranging from 30-year-old Tayana 37s to custom-built Chris White catamarans—gearing up for adventures great and small.

Given the wide range of interests among our readers, I consider a good issue to be one that will have at least one article that strongly connects with each of our readers. Which article that is, of course, will vary from reader to reader. A great issue will hit its mark in two or three reports, and often those are maintenance-related articles, since all sailboats have maintenance issues. Judging from the positive feedback we get from our subscribers, I think we’re doing all right in terms of spreading the content to suit everyone's tastes. If you feel you are being left out, my line is always open at

The upcoming July 2012 issue, however, presents an unusual problem. I have an almost certain feeling that this is one of those rare issues that will simultaneously enthrall and infuriate every reader.

The safety mavens who are most interested in the distress alerting function features in the high-end VHF radios we report on this month will be steamed about our profile of young adventurer Matt Rutherford, who set off through the Northwest Passage in a 27-footer equipped with little trace of the “essential” safety gear.

Aficionados of good ol’ boats who are captivated by Rutherford’s goose-barnacle-encrusted Albin Vega will wonder why we bother sail-testing a boat-show-shiny Hunter 33 (featuring the new iTech option!) when there are so many great used boats on the market.

The keep-it-simple sailors will roll their eyes over our evaluation of the hybrid touchscreen Raymarine e7D, a 7-inch chartplotter that weighs in at over $1,700. And the gadget lovers who long ago converted to electronic readers will wonder what’s up with a summer reading list that includes actual hardcover books.

So—not by design of course—everyone will have a little bit to love and hate next month.

But so it goes. Like I said, it comes with the territory. I’m comforted in the knowledge that at least one reader will enjoy every article—or at least tell me he did. But then again, that’s what fathers are for.

Happy Father’s Day. Hope you get to spend yours on the water.


Comments (1)

Hi, I have been researching Trimarans and the Dragonfly swing wings have in board engines ,heat and amas that retract to a normal slip width in minutes. But they go FAST

Posted by: DEREK H | June 13, 2012 11:09 AM    Report this comment

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