Cruising World – March 2023
English | 93 pages | pdf | 52.89 MB
Welcome at Cruising World Magazine March 2023 Issue
From my teens through my early 30s, my family’s Hunter 31, Ragtime, was my temple, my escape from all the intricacies of life.
No matter what sort of week I’d had at school, no matter what kind of stress I was under in the corporate world,
I took solace in knowing that Ragtime was always there for me with a dose of vitamin “sea” to set things right. Ragtime was my domain.
Anytime we were out sailing, life just seemed to make sense. I knew all her tendencies: how she behaved at every point of sail, in any sea state. And
I took great pride whenever I was at the helm. Th ere was rarely a sheet or halyard out of place, the fenders were always properly stowed, and I was constantly a step or two ahead of the game when it came to maneuvers and navigation.
Inevitably, the game of life tossed a few windshift s my way, such as settling down and having three kids while chasing career goals. With less and less time for weekend sails and daysails, our family decided that it was time to sell the boat—you know, the proverbial “second-best day in a boat owner’s life.” (Don’t believe it for a minute.)
During that span, helming a few magazines of the powerboat persuasion had me trade in my telltales for rpm readings. Sure, it’s hard to complain when your jo description includes being out on the water some days, though I could sense my mental and physical acuity for sailing slip a little bit with each diesel-drenched mile I plowed down in a pilothouse.
Some sporty northerlies finally brought me back to reality during our Boat of the Year sea trials off Annapolis, Maryland, this past fall. Having had recently taken the helm of Cruising World Magazine, I felt obliged to tag along with our BOTY judges—venerable sailors Mark Pillsbury, Herb McCormick and Ed Sherman.
Not only was my warm Florida blood ill-prepared for the frigid elements nature dealt us that week, but I quickly realized that my temporary hiatus from sailing had left me rather useless around the contemporary cockpit. Credit to the BOTY boys, who did some heavy lifting those next few days as we tacked, jibed and trimmed 17 of the fi nest examples of modern boatbuilding to their limits on a frosty, frothy stretch of Chesapeake Bay.
Knowing full well where to be during the heaviest action, or, more important, where not to be, I adopted an observatory role. As my sailing senses started to come back, it struck me that while the basic principles of sailing were relatively the same as I remembered, the boats had changed quite significantly. We’re living in a bold new melting pot of marine innovation, friends.
It’s lined with carbon fiber, lithium batteries, hybrid propulsion and code zeros— game-changers in terms of performance, sustainability and safety at sea.
Sure, I still (and always will) love Ragtime, but with all the challenges we’ve overcome as a society the past couple of years, ignoring these modern marvels of marine technology feels almost unsporting. Think back to August 2012, when a 72-foot catamaran flying in New Zealand’s Hauraki Gulf turned the sailing world upside down. Emirates Team New Zealand had brought foils to the America’s Cup like a rocket to a pinewood derby, changing the face of top-level yacht racing forever. I clearly
recall thinking that kind of sailing wasn’t for me, but it sure was fun to watch. Today, my attitude is changing, along with the boats. If you haven’t picked up a copy of our sporty sister publication Sailing World lately, I highly suggest doing so, especially if you’re
curious about what might be coming down the production line to us cruisers one day. Fact is, a lot of new trends from our favorite builders are largely informed by racing.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not suggesting that we start preparing to sail foiling monohulls, though Drew Lyman, president of Lyman- Morse, says that foil-assisted monohulls are close on the horizon. For more on that, turn to page 46. But imagine how cool it would be (no pun intended) to sleep with air conditioning while on the hook on a buggy night in your favorite summer cove with no need for a generator, or the profound possibility of zero carbon emissions while cruising the gin-clear waters of your favorite tropical-island chain. Now those are the kinds of advances I imagine many of us can get behind.