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Old 04-05-2014, 06:54   #16
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Re: Has 'boosterism' become rampant in sailing media?

I think we all agree that magazines have elected to trade objectivity for revenue. But then again, I would wager that if one looks at some of the real poor designs of years gone by, and locates their reviews- they will find the deficiencies glossed over.

IMHO there are two solutions. First you can hire a guy like Bob Perry as a consultant- pricey but an option.

The second requires doing hard work. Start by learning and then comparing the numbers- SA/D, ballast/displacement, sail area/lwl, etc- having an Excel spreadsheet is a great way to compare vessels. The next issues are the construction methods and design issues. How are the bulkheads mounted? Are the bulkheads adequate? On an older boat, are the bulkheads still firmly mounted and stout? Is the cockpit designed for entertaining three dozen people or can it be pooped and drain quickly? What size are the ports?

In a perfect world at the end of every magazine boat review is a standard boilerplate checklist that hits all the critical issues. And notes issues like chain plates buried behind the cabinets, so checking them is impossible. But the probability of a magazine having that much fortitude is remote.
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Old 04-05-2014, 07:34   #17
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Re: Has 'boosterism' become rampant in sailing media?

If you want an unbiased review try Practical Sailor. They do not have advertisers (or slick glossy pictures) and so do not have to bend their will to the advertising dollar. You will find the most unbiased reviews there. But you will also pay for them....because they don't have advertisers.
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Old 04-05-2014, 08:06   #18
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Re: Has 'boosterism' become rampant in sailing media?

Cowtowing to advertisers is pretty much the default in the magazine industry today. It's their revenue model and they really have no viable alternative. If you look at any "niche" publication across the spectrum of "leisure" pursuits you' find the same thing. I'm a pretty avid saltwater fly fisherman and the two magazines that cater to us are really nothing more than extended brochures for the tackle industry.

I honestly think it's amazing that these magazines survive at all in the internet age. I don't read sailing/cruising magazines because I can learn more/better/faster through online resources. The only time I pick up a sailing magazine is when there is one sitting in front of me and I have five minutes to kill. That's about how long it takes to find and read the extent of useful content in one anyway.

As far as the whole blue water boat discussion goes, I simply look at it through the lens of everything in a boat being a compromise. The boat that you select is a reflection of the specific compromises that you need or are willing to make when you've shaken out your risk/cost/use case scenarios.
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Old 04-05-2014, 08:27   #19
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Re: Has 'boosterism' become rampant in sailing media?

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As long as your stupidity meets the standard code it's all good.
You're absolutely correct.

Years ago, 'seems to me I remember people aspiring to a higher standard. Today it's more like industries, people and the education establishment are bragging about reaching or meeting some minimum standard or code. Everyone needs to be able to get over the bar, it just keeps getting lowered. Soon most people, boats everything will be equal.... equally worse off.

But a few will continue to seek quality.
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Old 04-05-2014, 09:28   #20
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Re: Has 'boosterism' become rampant in sailing media?

Never forget that sailboats are luxury items - discretionary purchases - especially when new, and the people who buy new sailboats do so for a variety of often irrational motivations. So like any luxury item (eg luxury vehicles, destinations, watches, jewellery) the exact choice is as often driven by the cachet of the brand, the appearance, the approval among their social peers, versus genuine need or suitability for purpose. How many people are driving Escalades or import luxury sport-utes who will never take them off paved roads? Humvees?

So that's who they have to sell to. And that's the source of used boats that the rest of us will buy from.

I'm a fan of Small Craft Advisor. I buy them occasionally, since that is our current niche. They once published a review of one of the most well-known trailerable boats, and in it they were less than gushing about the boats righting moment and survivability in a capsize... and the advertiser pulled their ads. So, you can see what happens. Long story short, the advertiser quietly came back after a few years.

I also like Good Old Boat. Other than these two, I regard most US boat magazines as mainly fluff, a monthly mirrror to flatter and reinforce the self-image of the upper crust of boat owners. The only magazine I subscribe to is Practical Boat Owner (UK). It's UK and Europe-centric, but it's always got alot of useful articles, their reviews of boats and gear are usually real-world and fair, and in general, UK magazines tend to have more and better content than American or Canadian magazines.
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Old 04-05-2014, 09:31   #21
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Re: Has 'boosterism' become rampant in sailing media?

How do they survive? Simple. Advertisers believe people are more strongly influenced by print adds than internet adds. We are aware there are side-bar adds, but we don't actually see them. When we read a mag we read the ads and--at least subconscious--we believe they are more accurate than all that internet tripe. Thus, advertisers still pay good money for print ads. Cus' if you see it in a print magazine it must be better.

So long as you accept that certain magazines are infomercials, they're still fun, and generally there are a few objective articles about something unrelated to the advertisers.

---

There is another factor as well. Most writers make cruising sound like great fun, because surprisingly enough, they really enjoy sailing and cruising. They are inspired enough to write about it and get it published, which isn't that easy. As for reviews, most writers share the enthusiasm of vendors and just don't feel like bashing them. Many have been entrepreneurs and have a soft spot for small companies. It's not as easy as you think to write a truly scathing review that might dash someones hopes to dust. Perhaps you would rather offer suggestions for a better design. Too much negativity and we never move forward.

Building good equipment for a small market at a low price (we all shop the internet) is probably not all that easy, and long-term testing budgets are typically small.
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Old 04-05-2014, 10:06   #22
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Re: Has 'boosterism' become rampant in sailing media?

Yep a lot of it going on for sure. Magazines etc cannot say too many bad things about their advertisers. So take any review they do with a grain of salt. However they will post a few "cons" and those are usually the most glaring problems and will get you started anyway.
when it comes to marine gear; NEVER EVER EVER ASSUME BECAUSE SOMEONE IS SELLING IT... IT IS ANY GOOD OR EVEN TESTED IN THE REAL WORLD. It is just some bright idea someone had to sell things. I'm a skeptic, after something has been in use for 10 years or so I might consider it....
The same is going on in TV now big time. In the middle of the news they will report on what's happening on another TV show... and it's always one from the same network! News?
The News is mostly BS, inaccurate and twisted for effect. Newspapers were the same way.. been in involved in a couple stories from the "interview to the print"... amazing how the reporter interpreted what was said to make it more "interesting". One was picked up by TV and boy had the story changed by the time they shouted it out at the Football game half time!
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Old 04-05-2014, 10:18   #23
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Re: Has 'boosterism' become rampant in sailing media?

The beauty of the reviews in Good Old Boats is

1) the boats they are reviewing have been around long enough for their most common problems and glaring deficiencies to become well known and solutions to them have become well known as well and

2) the builders of the boats they are reviewing have often long since gone out of business or changed hands (with a few exceptions, like Catalina) so they don't have to worry about losing the advertising or hurting anyone's feelings.

Of course this is not helpful if you want the latest designs or are wanting to buy new.
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Old 04-05-2014, 17:10   #24
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Re: Has 'boosterism' become rampant in sailing media?

Thanks everyone, particularly for staying so much on topic (in spite of my poor example!)

Much to digest here, but I just had a spare moment and wanted to tip my hat. Back later.
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Old 04-05-2014, 18:06   #25
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Re: Has 'boosterism' become rampant in sailing media?

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Thanks everyone, particularly for staying so much on topic (in spite of my poor example!)

Much to digest here, but I just had a spare moment and wanted to tip my hat. Back later.
What a great response to your original message! Yes, we are all subject to the wiles of those with something to sell.
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Old 04-05-2014, 19:12   #26
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Re: Has 'Boosterism' Become Rampant in Sailing Media?

In the Super Yacht Intelligence Media there has been some very frank articles and symposiums on the Ethics and Standards of the Industry.
(Both Supplier and Reporter )
Consensus is that we are all culpable of projecting our own philosophies and priorities by rationalizing that everything on a yacht is a compromise.
Every Designer/Builder/Installer/Equipment Manufacturer all temper their efforts with an accountants eye towards cost and time management.
End result being that you can either find fault on any boat out there or as the media prefers... look at the positives and let the Buyer Beware!
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Old 04-05-2014, 19:51   #27
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Re: Has 'Boosterism' Become Rampant in Sailing Media?

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... you can either find fault on any boat out there or as the media prefers... look at the positives and let the Buyer Beware!
Indeed.

I guess originally "Beware" was a contraction of "Be Aware", and at one time, people thought that one way to be aware of the pros AND cons was to consult reputable reviews.

But I'm struck by Stu's suggestion that, like many things which are easy to imagine as being in unstoppable decline, the venality of the mainstream media goes in cycles.

I forget the names of the media tycoon(s) who effectively started the Spanish-American war, for instance ... wasn't one of them the one 'Citizen Kane was loosely based on?'
They presumably had the 'best politicians money could buy' for pets, even back in them days.

And some of the magnates probably made Murdoch look like a model or rectitude.

I do think, as Stu suggests, it did get better, in fact, pretty damn good, for a number of decades, starting around Watergate, I guess. The US media (or the best exponents) were quite widely considered to be exemplars, in other parts of the world, for quite a while.

As for the management-speak emanating from the think-tanks of the superyacht intel community, it puts me in mind of the 'Idi Amin' defence, which had the virtue of brevity.

Idi's little transgressions came to be brushed off with the dictum

"Nobody's Perfect"

And he was living proof.
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Old 04-05-2014, 20:37   #28
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Re: Has 'Boosterism' Become Rampant in Sailing Media?

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But I'm struck by Stu's suggestion that, like many things which are easy to imagine as being in unstoppable decline, the venality of the mainstream media goes in cycles.
Just like the physics of a Gyrocompass..... Spin always offers the reader direction when some sort of external force is applied.
In physics it is called "progression"..... But in the media I call it marketing )
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Old 04-05-2014, 20:39   #29
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Re: Has 'Boosterism' Become Rampant in Sailing Media?

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?...look at the positives and let the Buyer Beware!


Then don't call it a review! Call it an infomercial.

Migrating to a clean checklist will provide objective info on the boats versus a report that is only worthy of placing under bird cages.

Sorry if that sounds caustic, but "buyer beware?" Really?
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Old 04-05-2014, 20:59   #30
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Re: Has 'Boosterism' Become Rampant in Sailing Media?

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Just like the physics of a Gyrocompass..... Spin always offers the reader direction when some sort of external force is applied.
In physics it is called "progression"..... But in the media I call it marketing )
precession?

Interesting comparison. Taking off in an orthogonal direction to both the force and the spin ...
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