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Old 05-11-2015, 06:17   #136
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Re: Opinions on "Practical Sailor" magazine?

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Originally Posted by thinwater View Post
A few thoughts.


If you want more studies and more details from any magazine, tell them. Most technical articles are brutally cut for length. I hate that.

Bingo!

The last technical article I did involved in excess of 1000 hours of testing & data collection and the pay was about a gumballs worth based on the hours spent collecting data and then writing the article. Writing for a boating publication is basically volunteer work and you do it for the hopeful betterment of the boating community, not for the money. What I had in data and article could have filled an entire issue but it was brought down to just a few pages.

Boaters claim to want in-depth and scientific but the reality is when they have it very few will actually read it....

As always 1 data point does not make for science, and PS is just another arrow in our quiver to help us make an educated buying decision. I prefer to have a quiver full of arrows not just the internet, my boat owners association, a book or a magazine subscription, but to use all of the tools that I can...

Edit: Just noticed this was a dredge thread from 2012.....
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Old 05-11-2015, 06:55   #137
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Re: Opinions on "Practical Sailor" magazine?

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Originally Posted by Maine Sail View Post
...As always 1 data point does not make for science, and PS is just another arrow in our quiver to help us make an educated buying decision....
Awesome! Well said and its that simple - we do need all the arrows we can get.
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Old 05-11-2015, 09:30   #138
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Re: Opinions on "Practical Sailor" magazine?

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Originally Posted by Maine Sail View Post
Bingo!

The last technical article I did involved in excess of 1000 hours of testing & data collection and the pay was about a gumballs worth based on the hours spent collecting data and then writing the article. Writing for a boating publication is basically volunteer work and you do it for the hopeful betterment of the boating community, not for the money. What I had in data and article could have filled an entire issue but it was brought down to just a few pages.

Boaters claim to want in-depth and scientific but the reality is when they have it very few will actually read it....

As always 1 data point does not make for science, and PS is just another arrow in our quiver to help us make an educated buying decision. I prefer to have a quiver full of arrows not just the internet, my boat owners association, a book or a magazine subscription, but to use all of the tools that I can...

Edit: Just noticed this was a dredge thread from 2012.....
I've been a Practical Sailor reader for years and have found the articles to be fairly helpful, but not infallible.
I agree that the amount of data required to come to a decisive conclusion is sometimes daunting to put into an easily understood article that could be understood by the average individual. Part of reading the articles is to see what their testing criteria is, this will tell you right away if the way they are testing a certain product type is directly related to the application your looking to use it for. I think many of the respondents who've written negative comments didn't read or didn't understand the part of the article that explained how the testing was conducted or under what conditions and just skipped right to the condensed recommended buy column. Sometimes it works out sometimes it doesn't.
Like all sources of information, it's just one take on the subject, albeit on non-partisan one, if there's such a thing, but better than some of the "sponsored" information that's so prevalent on the internet. I've only had one bad product from one of their articles, mostly because I skipped the main article and went right to the recommended buy column. My mistake.
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Old 05-11-2015, 13:44   #139
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Re: Opinions on "Practical Sailor" Magazine?

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Well, it's $19.95 for an introductory offer, then it goes up to $40 per year.

But that's not the part that I minded. It's the MOUNTAIN of crap that they send you for a year, if you don't re-subscribe.

Contrast that to Small Craft Advisor (which has 10 times the level of interest to me). They send you a renewal notice, and, er, that's it. If they can behave ethically, why can't Practical Sailor?
My friend, relax and breathe, honestly. And no need to yell ("MOUNTAIN"). The intro gives you 7 hard issues, plus access and the ability to download 30 years of research and reports. That means subscribe once for $19 and download everything to your heart's content.

Now that's a deal that sentient folks just can't pass up. I couldn't.

Now if you don't know how to stop their perfectly ethical solicitations, that's on you. Others here have managed to do so, and how hard is it anyway to direct your email to send these mails directly to spam. Your problem.

And as far as renewal to $40? Gee, that's two pizzas instead of the one you missed when you subscribed. Not to mention an e-subscription for just $34. And only if you choose to. The folks at PS have worked long and hard and whether you agree with every single word or not, they deserve respect and admiration.

You might try decaf.
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Old 05-11-2015, 14:13   #140
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Re: Opinions on "Practical Sailor" Magazine?

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My friend, relax and breathe, honestly. And no need to yell ("MOUNTAIN"). The intro gives you 7 hard issues, plus access and the ability to download 30 years of research and reports. That means subscribe once for $19 and download everything to your heart's content.

Now that's a deal that sentient folks just can't pass up. I couldn't.

Now if you don't know how to stop their perfectly ethical solicitations, that's on you. Others here have managed to do so, and how hard is it anyway to direct your email to send these mails directly to spam. Your problem.

And as far as renewal to $40? Gee, that's two pizzas instead of the one you missed when you subscribed. Not to mention an e-subscription for just $34. And only if you choose to. The folks at PS have worked long and hard and whether you agree with every single word or not, they deserve respect and admiration.

You might try decaf.
I didn't mention e-mail. I am talking about paper mail solicitations. The point here would be that it doesn't matter how good the content is, if you piss off your customers in other ways.

The limited use of capitalisation for emphasis does actually pre-date the internet, and if I choose to do it I WILL, and if you don't LIKE it you know what you can DO.
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Old 05-11-2015, 15:16   #141
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Re: Opinions on "Practical Sailor" Magazine?

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Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Jimbo.

Thanks, much appreciated. I sure look forward to getting back on the water now in this retirement. Somehow impending death can inspire most of us, lol. So now am getting very serious in finding a Thorny Path cruiser...

For years I was a PS subscriber, and a little junk mail never bothered me - good for starting the Weber - and now I've already gotten my money's worth the first day in reviewing a few.

My short list (rough order):

1. Seawind II
2. Cape Dory's: 28-30
3. Island Packet: 27-31

Of course there are about a thousand others, lol...
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Old 05-11-2015, 17:45   #142
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Re: Opinions on "Practical Sailor" magazine?

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Originally Posted by Maine Sail View Post
...the pay was about a gumballs worth based on the hours spent collecting data and then writing the article. Writing for a boating publication is basically volunteer work and you do it for the hopeful betterment of the boating community, not for the money. What I had in data and article could have filled an entire issue but it was brought down to just a few pages.
Boaters claim to want in-depth and scientific but the reality is when they have it very few will actually read it....
Amen Maine Sail.

I have had two articles published in Cruising World (USA) and one in Practical Boat Owner (UK). Both of those publications (and also Ocean Navigator which turned down another article I wrote) have told me that their typical subscriber has money, not time, and he simply wants to know what is available and what to spend his money on. He does not want to know the what, why, and how. He does not want to do anything himself. The typical subscriber will willingly pay other people to understand the what, why, and how. For lack of time, he will gladly pay others to reduce his problems to a push button or a smart phone app.

The pay for a published article will buy a nice restaurant meal or two; not much more.

While it is sad, it is the way it is.
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Old 06-11-2015, 12:55   #143
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Re: Opinions on "Practical Sailor" Magazine?

Mainsail, one of the problems I have with PS is they should state who writes the article. Sometimes they do, but other times not so much, esp if it is about something controversial. I see that as nonprofessional. If I know you have written something or some of the other strait shooters I see around here, I tend to pay more attention.
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Old 06-11-2015, 15:25   #144
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Re: Opinions on "Practical Sailor" magazine?

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... Part of reading the articles is to see what their testing criteria is, this will tell you right away if the way they are testing a certain product type is directly related to the application your looking to use it for. I think many of the respondents who've written negative comments didn't read or didn't understand the part of the article that explained how the testing was conducted or under what conditions and just skipped right to the condensed recommended buy column. Sometimes it works out sometimes it doesn't....
An important principle of "doing science" is explaining the limits of the test; "we looked at it in this way with these controls, and this is what we learned. If you do something different from that, we didn't test that and we don't have much to say about that. And we're not apologizing for that, because we didn't bloody test for that, and we said as much." Every boat is different, every region is different. The best you can do is define your tests in such a way that the trends are meaningful, within limits. And sometimes you miss an important factor. But that does not ruin the science, so long as you know what you did and explain the limits of investigation.

I just finished a long series on anchors and anchoring. The data is absolutely factual for the areas I tested (sand, soft mud); if we go out and test the same anchors in the same places we will get, more or less the same results, day after day. However, if we add weed to the bottom, well, I stated that is completely different, and it was not the focus (the articles focus on how to use 2 anchors, not testing specific brands against each other). If we test over rock (I did that), again, the answers are completely different and the effective rigging methods are completely different. Since a lot of the testing involved controlled dragging, if there is trash in the mud, that is another factor... and there always is.

One of the challenges is that much of the testing was done with small anchors. In fact, limited to the consistent bottoms we tested in, small anchors are well proven to scale up accurately. A practical problem was that in good bottoms, dragging a good full-scale tandem rig might require forces over 10,000 pounds, and that is monstrously expensive and introduces all manner of safety and measurement problems. We were only interested in trends, since it is well known that anchor testing data is EXTREMELY variable and does not translate between locations well anyway.

There is no question in my mind that many will find my conclusions false (without reading that the conclusion are limited to the bottoms tested) and even that the data is false (I can't help those folks--data is data). Many will try to compare anecdotal experiences ("I anchored this way and never dragged"), without knowing how their hooks were placed or behaved, and with no information regarding whether another method would be even better. People will argue that they have had trouble with 2 anchor rigs, but in most cases, they will not have used them correctly or as I suggested-- they rigged something wrong, the bottom was bad, the anchor too small--they only know to blame the anchor or tandems in general.

I only want the reader to look at the data, see what we learned about anchor behaviors though many instrumented tests, and think about what they can do with the information. The data is correct. My conclusions may not agree with their boat, region, or sailing style, and that is unavoidable. I just wanted to document certain trends. What they mean is up to the reader.

I know I learned a few things from the process that I had not learned in 30 years of sailing, so it was worth the time, for me. Load cells don't lie.

---

In the above I barely scratch the surface of the topic and the troubles faced in testing. The casual reader looking for a "quick fix" is not going to get much of value from the testing. It ain't that simple, I'm the first to admit it.
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