Thursday, July 09, 2009

Sailing World Review

Aidan: What's this Grandad?

Tillerman: It's a magazine called Sailing World, Aidan.

What's it about?

Sailing... sort of.

You mean racing dinghies such as Lasers. Like you and Daddy do?

Not really Aidan. There's not much of that kind of sailing in Sailing World these days.

What do you mean Grandad?

Look at all the pictures. What do you see?

Lots of big boats.

Exactly. Sailing World seems to be mainly about big boats these days. Giant multihulls in the America's Cup, Volvo 70s, a Gunboat 66, Farr 40s. Articles about big boat stuff like electric winches, building a well-rounded sail inventory... Yawn.

Are you tired Grandad?

No Aidan. Just bored with all this big boat stuff in Sailing World. They don't seem to care about dinghy sailors any more.

What about this article by Andy Horton on How to Win the End Game?

It's OK. But a lot of his advice is only relevant for boats that take a long time to build up speed, such as the Etchells. Some of it applies to Laser sailing but not much.

How about this Dick Rose article on the Racing Rules? Don't dinghies have to follow the same rules as big boats?

Yes Aidan. But almost every article I have read about the new Rules this year can be summarized as "a lot of the words in the Rules have changed but the game hasn't."

What about this article on wind and strategy by Stuart Walker? Surely that is interesting to dinghy sailors?

Have you read it, Aidan?

Grandad, you know I'm not quite one year old yet. Even Goodnight Moon's plot is a bit too complicated for me. And Dr. Walker's article has a lot of really long words.

It sure does, Aidan. Frankly I don't understand most of it myself. Dr. Walker is a great sailor and he knows a lot about wind, but he's a terrible writer. Even your Daddy who's awfully smart and very clever with words agrees with me on that one.

But doesn't Sailing World have people who know how to write clearly? Couldn't they help poor Dr.Walker to write in a way so that ordinary sailors could understand him?

Apparently not, Aidan. Apparently not.

So why do you buy this magazine Grandad if it doesn't have much stuff about the kind of sailing you like?

Good question Aidan. I'm certainly not going to renew my subscription this year. But it used to be better. Look at all these old copies I saved from the early 90's. Full of articles about dinghy sailing technique and new small boats and what to wear for dinghy sailing and reports of dinghy regattas. It was a good magazine back then.

Thanks for explaining all that Grandad. When I'm older will you teach me how to sail a Laser?

Sure Aidan. It will be a pleasure.

Can I go and play in my pool now Grandad?

Sure Aidan. Have fun.


O Docker said...

I thought it was me, Aidan.

I stopped reading those slick magazines that I'm supposed to be interested in years ago.

Lots of nice pictures of the new Goldplate 43, but unless they're giving one away free with every winch handle you buy, there's not much point for me. Even if you sail a cruising boat when you grow up, you'll probably get the feeling the companies who buy all of those big ads in the magazine have a hand in making up what the stories are about.

If you can get your dad (or grandad) to take you out to San Francisco, you'll find a local mag called Latitude 38 that has a lot more stories about actually sailing in the real world than any of those shiny sheets.

And face it, little man, if you want the straight poop on practically anything technical these days, where would you look - Diapers Monthly or DiaperBlog and Diaper Anarchy?

That one girl said...

Haha, I admit, a HUGE fan of the multi Hulls, kind of want a 42 Cat! HE is super duper cute. I want to squeeze him!

Carol Anne said...

Right on, O.

I found it ironic a couple of years ago when one of the editorials in one of the major sailing magazines lamented the fact that new sailboats tended to start at about $400K and went up from there, shutting ordinary people out of the sailing world ... and then that magazine went on to review ten boats, one of which was about $200K, and the rest of which were over the half-million mark.

Hooray for Lat38, which has even been known to take note of us New Mexico desert rats.

BeachComber said...

I laughed out loud at your forlorn despair at the lack of editing for clarity in Stuart Walker's writing. As I read "The Tactics of Small Boat Racing", I'm amazed it wasn't edited better, and for someone who appears to enjoy drawing, he is surprisingly lazy about using diagrams to make his points clearer. Even so, with some effort on the part of the reader, and an acceptance on his (to follow Walker's preference for the male pronoun, at least when referring to skippers, or here, readers) part of author's tendency to sometimes, when buried deep within a sub-clause of an interminable sentence, to say the direct opposite of what he means, he gets his point across.

In "The Sailor's Wind", however, he thanks William Standiford for reviewing the book and helping him make it more readily understandable. This book is such heavy going, it makes me wonder what type of God-awful monstrosity Walker started with. Maybe the whole book was was one sentence?

And there you have it, two partial reviews of books for the price of one. Maybe I should write some proper reviews on my own blog, which has been stuck in irons pretty much since it started...

Joe said...

Best review by far. I echo Carol Anne, 3 cheers for Lat 38!

Tillerman said...

Thank you BeachComber. I loved that parody of Walker's style.

I had only recently asked myself the question as to why editors don't help Walker write more clearly. Are they afraid of him? Does he refuse to accept any input from them? Or do they go along with the assumption that if you use lots of long words and write rambling long sentences it proves you are really really smart?

Pat said...

One of the sailing magazines -- sorry, I forget which one -- did recently announce that they would be increasing coverage of sailing destinations closer to home -- more US and Canada. That was supposed to help the magazine come closer to "real world" sailing for most ordinary sailors.

Maybe that's a start and the magazine could follow up with more coverage of the sorts of boats that ordinary sailors actually sail and can afford.

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