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sailwriter

Sailing World mag

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Yachting was all, well, yachts. Last One-of-a-Kind regatta was 1985. SAIL was pretty pictures, mostly keel boats. But One Design Yachtsman, and subsequent names, was for us dinghy racers.

In 1967 I was on the reception desk in a Brooklyn Heights building with a view of lower Manhattan. Across the street and over a bit was the Margaret Hotel, a known, uh, place to 'get comfort.'  An embarrassed fellow came up to the desk saying he had found all his cash missing after his 'activity.' He needed $3 for subway and phone call when he got to the end of the line. Showed me his credentials. I recognized him as one of the principals at One Design and Offshore Yachtsman. I didn't embarrass him by mentioning that.

Dave Ellis

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I love SW.  The copy has been really great over the last few years.  Magazines are rad.  I've met Dave Reed and and he's a decent dude, loves sailing, loves his magazine.  I'll keep subscribing.  And Scooter, you really don't have to be such a dick all the time. 

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Re: the article on the front page, and a reader focus group of one for SW, specifically:

The challenges facing the magazine industry don’t need restating. I worked in publishing for a spell and felt that pain first hand.

It’s publisher’s responding to the problem by decreasing the magazine’s appeal that has been the real head scratcher. 

People are buying less magazines - true.

They’re also buying more expensive magazines, in $15+ range. Think Surfer’s Journal, SUP Journal, Esquire’s Big Books.

As someone who used to spend about $100+ a month on subscriptions, now I buy just a few high priced mags. Fat ones. With quailty editorial and gorgeous photos. Printed on thick, high end glossy stock. And usually they’re bimonthly or quarterly.

SW is a prime candidate for that strategy. It’s a respected title with a reputation for solid editorial. Rather than taking the value to zero, crank that shit up!

You can use what’s left in the bank to stretch out a long, slow, death by irrelevance or go all in to produce a couple of breakthrough issues.

Boats International doesn’t seem to be having any problems. Neither does Boat. I just paid $16 for their latest 264 page issue...

 

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Before I moved North I had every issue of "Yacht Racing" / One Design Racing / whatever it was called, from the 70s through early 90s.  It used to be a great magazine.  (I donated the whole set to Balboa Yacht Club's upstairs library.... kinda wish I'd kept them)

I'm not sure what Sailing World is now.  I get the issues when they come, but.. very rarely see an article that "grabs" me.

Not sure I'll be sad if it goes under.  Maybe that's just me.

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Seahorse is pretty much the only English-language sailing magazine worth its paper these days. It's been that way for several decades.

Too bad a subscription costs up there approaching The Economist territory.

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Just now, Somebody Else said:

Seahorse Magazine is pretty much the only one worth its paper these days. Too bad a subscription costs up there approaching The Economist territory.

And even that is pretty boring, talking just about yet another carbon fiber hollowed out shell for subhuman living, populated by pretty non-interesting personalities.

god we miss Blackaller.

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Was a very long SW subscriber til the phone solicitations started. I hate phone solicitations. Usually polite at first... "Yes, I know my subscription is going to expire in three months, please mail me a renewal notice before it does, and no, I do not want to give you my cc number so it automatically renews regardless how much it will save me".. Then it becomes "please never call this number again". Then it was "fuck em", and I discovered Seahorse and never looked back. Only thing I miss was Dick Rose's Rules Corner. (SH, if you are listening... Hint hint).

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A long time ago Yachting and Rudder were good magazines. They slipped, and were replaced by Sail and OD&OY (later SW). They then slipped, and SH and WB became pretty good magazines. Now, there's not much published material I'm at all interested in. 

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In the 70s I subscribed to SAIL and Yachting. By the mid 80s, neither one.

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Good Old Boat is the only one I get now. I used to get Cruising World, Practical Sailor, Sail, Pacific Yachting...

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10 years  (or so) ago we got practical sailor and sail magazines. When we got a boat again I signed up for practical sailor, man has that gone in the toilet! My wife get SW, I think from her US Sailing membership, and its not bad. We also get a bunch of magazines from buying our tickets for the Seattle Boat Show. Mostly power bost mags, we donate those to the local high school library. 

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Sailing, with Perry's analysis of new designs, continues to be interesting.  Articles range from coverage of the VOR to dinghy racing, so there can be something for everyone but perhaps not as much as one would want. On the other hand, "leave 'em wanting more" is perhaps a valid marketing tactic. 

 

Woodenboat continues to feature well-written articles that delve into their subjects rather than glossing over them. Even the pieces on powerboats can be interesting.  The seemingly narrow focus on wood is widened considerably by the worldwide range of trees and the people who use them to build things that float.  Recent articles ranged from a Didi 38 homebuilt in Colorado and now off cruising  to 100+ foot luxury craft  (and more than just one or two)  being built with trunnels in Indonesia for the tourist trade.  How -to pieces are balanced with analyses of design.  Historical essays and new project outlines show the broad scope and ongoing development of the craft for both professionals and amateurs.  I get my copy and go through it cover to cover.

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We should not be celebrating the challenges that Sailing World is facing.  Its not because they're not worthy.  They are challenged to create a great product because they have less resources (money) to do so.  They don't make business decisions in a vacuum.  They've got an owner who is trying to continue to make a profit on less incoming revenue.  The magazine business sucks because the ad dollars that used to be there to support it are now going to Google and Facebook in a huge way.  They are pretty much the only media doing well these days.  I like them booth, but we are going to miss some of our favorite media when  they're gone.  Even if they're less good now than in the past.

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On 2/2/2018 at 8:56 PM, Peanut Butter said:

Re: the article on the front page, and a reader focus group of one for SW, specifically:

The challenges facing the magazine industry don’t need restating. I worked in publishing for a spell and felt that pain first hand.

It’s publisher’s responding to the problem by decreasing the magazine’s appeal that has been the real head scratcher. 

People are buying less magazines - true.

They’re also buying more expensive magazines, in $15+ range. Think Surfer’s Journal, SUP Journal, Esquire’s Big Books.

As someone who used to spend about $100+ a month on subscriptions, now I buy just a few high priced mags. Fat ones. With quailty editorial and gorgeous photos. Printed on thick, high end glossy stock. And usually they’re bimonthly or quarterly.

SW is a prime candidate for that strategy. It’s a respected title with a reputation for solid editorial. Rather than taking the value to zero, crank that shit up!

You can use what’s left in the bank to stretch out a long, slow, death by irrelevance or go all in to produce a couple of breakthrough issues.

 

 

That's a smart analysis.  It seems when SW did their redesign a couple years back, they did the opposite.

When a magazine cuts all of its staff but doesn't close the doors (relying on freelancers off contract), it's almost always for a very specific reason: They have advertising contracts that still have time on them, and it's more economical to run a skeleton operation and collect the checks than it would be to shut it all down and return the money.  Most people I spoke to in St. Pete (including a major SW advertiser) expect SW to close sometime over the next 24-36 months regardless of Dave's statements to the contrary.

Dave and I argued back and forth quite a bit, but I think he was mostly just upset with himself for the fact that we broke the news after his bosses decided not to issue a release or statement when they decided to get rid of the remaining employees and cut the issue count to 4.  Our argument was just hours after we both attended a presentation by a renowned advertising/comms guy who urged everyone to always be transparent, and to 'make sure you tell people what's going on, or someone is going to tell them for you and spin it any way they want..."

I really do like Dave and I know he has a thankless job in a really challenging industry.  I wish him well regardless of what happens to the mag.

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I spent a few days sailing with Dave on a 3 man boat; he is exactly what the sailing community needs; decent, clever, and socially well spoken.  

He’d do well to job into a different ( growing ) industry.  He is sure to be successful and make beaucoup dollars if he changes industry 

( and scooter that article was a childish move, try and have some dignity once in a while ) 

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56 minutes ago, 6924 said:

I spent a few days sailing with Dave on a 3 man boat; he is exactly what the sailing community needs; decent, clever, and socially well spoken.  

He’d do well to job into a different ( growing ) industry.  He is sure to be successful and make beaucoup dollars if he changes industry 

( and scooter that article was a childish move, try and have some dignity once in a while ) 

+1

 

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Looks like about 37 more entrants this year than last at the St Pete NOOD.  The regattas are going on 30 years this year.  The original story poo-pooed the regattas and implied failure.  Well, St pete was bigger and in a time when participation is dying I would think survival like this should be commended.  You want to grow sailing? Talk about some of the good stuff.

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24 minutes ago, Swimsailor said:

Looks like about 37 more entrants this year than last at the St Pete NOOD.  The regattas are going on 30 years this year.  The original story poo-pooed the regattas and implied failure.  Well, St pete was bigger and in a time when participation is dying I would think survival like this should be commended.  You want to grow sailing? Talk about some of the good stuff.

St Pete picked up the NOOD regatta when the SORC went kaput. They were offered the MORC Midwinters, but declined, and that regatta had a good decade at Davis Island. Glad the NOOD had a good turnout...attendance may have been helped by KWRW going kaput.  

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I used to buy several magazines regularly: golf, ski, fitness, sailing, windsurfing, guitars... Pretty much every hobby or interest I had, but now I don't recall buying one in years.

Google, internet forums, Ipads, smartphones, etc., are my sources of information now. Times change.

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41 minutes ago, chuso007 said:

I used to buy several magazines regularly: golf, ski, fitness, sailing, windsurfing, guitars... Pretty much every hobby or interest I had, but now I don't recall buying one in years.

Google, internet forums, Ipads, smartphones, etc., are my sources of information now. Times change.

I am trying to reduce the paper that comes into my house. I spend more time cleaning and dusting the stuff and actually reading it.

Also, most hobby magazines tend to repeat themselves over time.  They spend too much time fawning over products and people and too little time actually being critical.

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1 hour ago, Rum Runner said:

Also, most hobby magazines tend to repeat themselves over time.  They spend too much time fawning over products and people and too little time actually being critical.

For sure, I am out of sport-bikes now, but every month it was the CBR, Ninja, R6, GSXR shootout!  rinse and repeat rinse and repeat.... 

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What other publications support college sailing?  How about the rules and tactics sections?  Seahorse is cool to see what's going on in grand prix sailing but SW is the only rag still talking about the sailboat racing most of us do.

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On 20/02/2018 at 5:20 PM, Slim said:

A Surfer's Journal, but for sailors, would be terrific. Best photography, best writing, funded by a foundation, limited advertising and subscribers.

Now that would be cool

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