A few years ago during our Pacific explorations, we stopped at the tiny Waitui Marina in Savusavu, Fiji. It was a typical South Pacific marina, consisting of a dozen or so moorings placed in the anchorage, a dinghy dock, and a dilapidated building that served as the office. The building also housed a dive shop, a small Indian restaurant, and a laundry, and had a great bar with a nice deck overlooking the anchorage. The beer was cold, the food was good and the prices were low – everything a yachtie could ask for. We spent many an evening there chatting with the other yachties while watching the sunset. It was just what I had always imagined a South Pacific island would be when I was dreaming of sailing off into the sunset.
The marina also had a small cubby where yachties could leave books and magazines they had read and pick up a few to be read. I was perusing the pile of old magazines when I came across one I had never seen before – Good Old Boat – The Sailing Magazine for the Rest of Us. I thumbed through it and knew immediately that this was my kind of magazine. It wasn't full of articles extolling the virtues of the latest million dollar production sailboat or the newest lightweight plastic daysailer. It didn't contain fluff 'how-to' articles on boat projects that skipped all the details of how the project was actually done – making me wonder whether the author had actually done the project or just looked over the shoulder of the professional he had hired.
What it did have was articles written by sailors like me who owned (and loved) older boats. It was full of pieces describing the nitty-gritty details of various restoration, refit and repair projects by the people who actually did the work, and who weren't embarrassed to admit when they made a mistake nor discuss how they'd do it differently next time. The magazine also had articles on seamanship, boat handling and sailing tips, as well as reviews of older, classic boats. I searched through the pile of magazines and found a few other issues of Good Old Boat to take back with me to our good old boat, Nine of Cups, then spent half the night reading them all cover to cover.
Although I had had a couple of technical 'how-to' articles published in other magazines, Marcie was the real writer of the family, and had sold dozens of articles. She read through one of the Good Old Boat magazines and, recognizing immediately that this was a magazine written by and for kindred spirits, encouraged me to write a piece for them. I took her advice and wrote an article on the fabrication and replacement of deck prisms – not exactly a mainstream article. Karen Larson and Jerry Powlas, editors and founders of Good Old Boat, accepted the article, and after a short course by Karen on improving my style and grammar (Keep the tenses consistent - Don't pontificate - Use “This is how I did it” rather than “do it this way” …), it was published. Hooray!
Since then, I've been fortunate enough to have had many more articles published by GOB. Karen even bestowed upon me the title of Contributing Editor – much to my amazement and surprise. They must have me confused with someone who actually knows what he's talking about. And after all these years, I still can't wait to receive the latest GOB and read it cover to cover.
If you haven't read Good Old Boat magazine yet, you can get two free digital copies here. Whether or not you actually have a 'good old boat', I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I do.