PS Gear Tests Reap Awards

Posted by By Darrell Nicholson at 06:16PM - Comments: (4)

Frank Lanier's test of watermakers was one of three articles that won prizes in the gear test category of Boating Writer's International 2013 Writing Contest.

As I edge toward my 200th blog post and my 10th year as the editor of Practical Sailor, I’m going to detour briefly from the usual fare to say thanks, to you our readers, and to the loyal group of testers who have brought this publication to where it is today—the top of the heap in the field of marine product testing. This fact was recognized last month at the annual meeting of Boating Writers International, a professional organization of writers, editors, publishers, photographers, broadcasters, public relations specialists, and others in the communications profession associated with the boating industry.

As you would expect, we are a perennial contender in the “Gear and Equipment Test" category of Boating Writers International's annual writing contest. This year, not only did Practical Sailor finish in the top three, we swept the Gear Test category—first, second, and third place.

First place went to Frank Lanier's test of DC Watermakers (PS, February 2013), second place went to my review of youth life jackets (PS, June 2013), and Ann Key earned third place for her test of do-it-yourself nonskids (PS, November 2013). “The talent level in the gear category this year was really something," said judge Kim Kavin.

The level of dedication I find among the men and women who work for Practical Sailor never ceases to amaze me. One reason we are able to attract such talented group of individuals is because we accept no advertising. They realize, as I do, that the work we do is essential, and that if we were not doing it, no one else would. Quite simply, there is no other publication that carries out the range and depth of boat-equipment testing that we do.

Having spent more than half of my long journalism career working for publications that accept advertising, I understand that the integrity of the individual journalist has nothing to do with the business model of the publication. However, it is clear that the influence of advertising over editorial content—particularly in magazines—is increasing, in not-so-subtle ways. The marine industry, because of its small size, is particularly susceptible to this advertorial trend.

The reasons for this are obvious. The print media business is languishing, and the competition for advertising dollars is tight. The fact that Practical Sailor can continue to thrive in this era of great flux is testimony to the quality of our work, and to the loyalty of our readers, to whom we are greatly obliged.

Since you are such a vital ingredient in our success, I wanted to share this news with you. It was a great honor, and these are your awards as much as ours. Thank you again for your support.




Comments (2)

Congratulations to Darrell, Ann, Frank, Tim, and all the Practical Sailor crew. Absolutely just rewards. No one who covers boats and boat gear works as hard, or as accurately. And Darrell, you're right -- involved readers are a big part of the equation. Good cheer to all.

Posted by: Unknown | March 19, 2014 5:17 PM    Report this comment

The awards are no surprise to me. I as many others, place great value on your testing and recommendations.Looking for my new boat, I check out my "Practical Buying Guide" and your published reviews before adding to my short list.
James Stevens,
Dallas, TX

Posted by: jim.stevens | March 12, 2014 11:39 AM    Report this comment

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