200 Issues and Counting • When Rosie and I returned from a five-year circumnavigation with our sons, Si and Tim, we needed to launch ourselves into the next chapter of our lives. We’d sailed 40,000 miles aboard Clover, our Mason 43, and had visited 38 countries. Along the way we had become, as you might imagine, pretty self-reliant. Working for someone else did not seem such a good option, or even possible.
I had been editorial director of Cruising World magazine for most of the decade before we took off sailing and had always thought there was a niche in the sailing market for a publication that opened the doors to extended sailing and cruising in a straight forward, informative and modern way. So, we took the leap. In 1996, we launched BWS as a 16-page, two-color newsletter with three holes down the side so you could keep them in a binder.
The response to our first direct mail efforts was surprisingly positive and the circulation grew rapidly. We knew we had found a large and avid group of passionate sailors who wanted and needed honest information about boats, gear and the seamanship skills you really need to make your cruising dreams come true. Our goal was, and still is, to be the real deal for offshore sailors—not just about sipping rum drinks with parasols and talking like a pirate.
We’ve stuck to that mission. Along the way, the circulation grew until our friends in the sailing marketplace approached us to advertise. They wanted, rightly, to talk to you, the people with the passion and commitment to cruise offshore quality boats with offshore quality gear. So, we took the leap, converted BWS into a glossy magazine and started taking ads. We certainly heard about it from our loyal readers, which is why we do our best everyday to walk the tightrope between your interests and those of our advertisers.
Now, all these years later as we bring you our 200th edition of Blue Water Sailing, we are still publishing a magazine that combines the dream of living the cruising life with the practical, useful and proven ways to make that dream a reality. We are still Rosie and George—with our indispensible art director Sandy Parks, our amazing sales team Tom and Catherine Casey and Scott Akerman and able new editor Andrew Cross—and we’re still the passionate sailors and cruisers we’ve always been. We are also the proud co-owners of a modern 45-foot sloop in which we have sailed some 8,000 miles in the last two years.
We also have an extraordinary reservoir of experience that informs every article and issue of the magazine. Our long time contributors and seminar experts John and Amanda Neal have sailed nearly 600,000 miles offshore; regular columnist Bill Biewenga stopped counting his offshore miles at 400,000; columnist David Burch has over 70,000 blue water miles; our own Scott Akerman has 100,000 miles under his keel; and, our new associate editor Andrew Cross, who lives aboard his boat in Seattle, has more than 15,000 miles in his wake.
With every issue of BWS, our combined experience leads the way and gives the magazine its authority and long-term value for you. We share your passion. We speak your language and we enjoy sharing what we have learned along the way. But, BWS is your magazine too, and we encourage you to share your yarns, experiences and expertise so we can publish them for the cruising community.
Like any voyage, getting to the 200th issue of BWS has seen every type of weather. We have sailed through it all and are looking forward to another 200 issues ahead. I hope you will continue to sail with us.