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Old 29-12-2012, 17:21   #16
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I had a subscription for two years but dumped it. I got fed up of reading reviews of tuppence ha,penny products. I mean reviews of boat washes etc sheesh. Basically they can't afford to buy expensive stuff and manufacturers wouldn't give them their stuff voluntarily

I like. ocean navigator the best until it descended into,4 pages of writing and was so slim I began to loose them around the house

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Old 29-12-2012, 17:27   #17
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Re: Opinions on "Practical Sailor" magazine?

I subscribe from time to time when they make me an offer I can't refuse, but I never renew. Understandably, their content seems more targeted to the marina-bound than to liveaboards and cruisers. Gelcoat polish? Whah?
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Old 29-12-2012, 17:32   #18
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Re: Opinions on "Practical Sailor" magazine?

It's hard to beat the internet for the information you are looking for plus most of it is free....of course you must have a good BS filter.
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Old 29-12-2012, 17:52   #19
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Re: Opinions on "Practical Sailor" magazine?

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It's hard to beat the internet for the information you are looking for plus most of it is free....of course you must have a good BS filter.
This is why long ago I added myself to my own "ignore" list.
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Old 29-12-2012, 18:03   #20
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Re: Opinions on "Practical Sailor" magazine?

The opinion of guys like fstbttms are worth a hell of a lot more than some two bit mag review... that is what is great about CF... you tend to get the unvarnished truth because folks get called out if they try to BS you... cheers, Phil
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Old 29-12-2012, 18:35   #21
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Re: Opinions on "Practical Sailor" magazine?

Well, so much for the PS invite that came in today's mail! You've merely confirmed what I suspected. thx
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Old 29-12-2012, 18:49   #22
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Re: Opinions on "Practical Sailor" magazine?

A few thoughts.
  1. Manufacturers are reluctant to submit to reviews they can't control. Magazines are reluctant to pan advertisers.
  2. Although the issue price is high, a subscription gives full access to ALL of the back issues as PDFs back to 1999.
  3. The search function is quite handy; it pulls up articles as well as write-ins back to about 1990. When I need something, I always use the search. It is a great compliment to internet information; it helps with filtering the BS.
  4. The bottom paint testing is inherently flawed in that bottom paint choice is very location specific. Florida (where most of it is done) is very different from San Fransico Bay. I'm sure Fastbottoms (or any Bay area sailor) could run tests in SF Bay and get them published. I'm quite sure of it. I would LOVE to read a review based on hard paints that are cleaned, rather than just panels hung from a dock. So we would need about 20 similar sample boats on several fixed cleaning schedules (and of course all the same color to avoid tester bias) and to take cleaning data over 2 years. Sounds like hard work. Only a paint manufacturer would have the budget to do that right.
  5. Anchor testing is crazy stuff. Any sailor old enough to have anchored many places in many bottoms should understand that this is probably more difficult to compare than bottom paints. Like bottom paints, reputation and local knowledge rule.
  6. I disagree with most reviews I read in any mag. Personal preference is like that. But I generally learn something.
  7. The internet has been hell on publishing. We all like free. And thus the reason you don't see real studies in magazines; they are EXPENSIVE.
  8. Of course all magazines are dumbed-down and short on data. That's because reader surveys keeping telling them they prefer pictures, they don't read, and only want the bottom line answer. "Just tell me the answer." That seems a common theme throughout our society.
  9. Yeah, I like forums. Though they can be over-conservative and negative, they also force the poster to support a position. Great debate.
  10. Wax and cleaners? What are those?
An example. In the Jan 2013 issue there is an article on gasoline and fuel tank vent filters; after spending a year testing the H2OUT filter they agreed with Sail Mag's shoot-form-the-hip guess that the unit worked well, but with some actual data. And yet, the vast majority of forum responders in the past have argued that vent filters are a bad idea. The EPA has mandated filters of a different design which are flawed in design and operation in some installations. Which group is right? Part of it is preconceived notions and bias. Part is because the climate varies quite a bit across this great nation. Some is difference in boat design and useage. In other words, there is often no single right answer, as much as we would like one.


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

What we tell them we want are pictures of blue water. The advertisers like that too. That's what we get. Articles on wire corrosion, holding tanks and why PG is destroying your water pump impeller just don't sell.

-----

I do write for PS and occasionally other mags. If you want the mag to be better, ask what you would like to see. Often they are scraping for fresh ideas and get stuck dusting off old ones. Some of the very best ideas come from readers' letters, and some from forums like this.
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Old 29-12-2012, 19:12   #23
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Re: Opinions on "Practical Sailor" magazine?

As I can testify, subscribing to PS means subscribing to a lifetime of spam - by mail, by e-mail, and if you un-subscribe it only gets worse.

I only get one sailing mag now, Small Craft Advisor. Still printed on proper paper, still full of interesting stories about real sailing - even if I ended up with a 150-ft yacht, I'd still buy it.
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Old 29-12-2012, 19:25   #24
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Re: Opinions on "Practical Sailor" magazine?

I find PS to be reasonably fair and unbiased. I understand the posts about gear reviews for marina queens, but they do some good stuff, too: testing a wide range of cordage for chafe resistance, or testing holding tank monitors with crap in the tank, or comparing different radar transceivers side by side. I mean, it takes time and effort to conduct these tests, and I don't expect to get the results for free. It's not for everyone, but you can subscribe at a hefty discount, or you can buy back-issue articles a la carte.
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Old 29-12-2012, 19:42   #25
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Re: Opinions on "Practical Sailor" magazine?

Quote:
Originally Posted by thinwater View Post
A few thoughts.
  1. Manufacturers are reluctant to submit to reviews they can't control. Magazines are reluctant to pan advertisers.
  2. Although the issue price is high, a subscription gives full access to ALL of the back issues as PDFs back to 1999.
  3. The search function is quite handy; it pulls up articles as well as write-ins back to about 1990. When I need something, I always use the search. It is a great compliment to internet information; it helps with filtering the BS.
  4. The bottom paint testing is inherently flawed in that bottom paint choice is very location specific. Florida (where most of it is done) is very different from San Fransico Bay. I'm sure Fastbottoms (or any Bay area sailor) could run tests in SF Bay and get them published. I'm quite sure of it. I would LOVE to read a review based on hard paints that are cleaned, rather than just panels hung from a dock. So we would need about 20 similar sample boats on several fixed cleaning schedules (and of course all the same color to avoid tester bias) and to take cleaning data over 2 years. Sounds like hard work. Only a paint manufacturer would have the budget to do that right.
  5. Anchor testing is crazy stuff. Any sailor old enough to have anchored many places in many bottoms should understand that this is probably more difficult to compare than bottom paints. Like bottom paints, reputation and local knowledge rule.
  6. I disagree with most reviews I read in any mag. Personal preference is like that. But I generally learn something.
  7. The internet has been hell on publishing. We all like free. And thus the reason you don't see real studies in magazines; they are EXPENSIVE.
  8. Of course all magazines are dumbed-down and short on data. That's because reader surveys keeping telling them they prefer pictures, they don't read, and only want the bottom line answer. "Just tell me the answer." That seems a common theme throughout our society.
  9. Yeah, I like forums. Though they can be over-conservative and negative, they also force the poster to support a position. Great debate.
  10. Wax and cleaners? What are those?
An example. In the Jan 2013 issue there is an article on gasoline and fuel tank vent filters; after spending a year testing the H2OUT filter they agreed with Sail Mag's shoot-form-the-hip guess that the unit worked well, but with some actual data. And yet, the vast majority of forum responders in the past have argued that vent filters are a bad idea. The EPA has mandated filters of a different design which are flawed in design and operation in some installations. Which group is right? Part of it is preconceived notions and bias. Part is because the climate varies quite a bit across this great nation. Some is difference in boat design and useage. In other words, there is often no single right answer, as much as we would like one.


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

What we tell them we want are pictures of blue water. The advertisers like that too. That's what we get. Articles on wire corrosion, holding tanks and why PG is destroying your water pump impeller just don't sell.

-----

I do write for PS and occasionally other mags. If you want the mag to be better, ask what you would like to see. Often they are scraping for fresh ideas and get stuck dusting off old ones. Some of the very best ideas come from readers' letters, and some from forums like this.
Well said. I learn something from every issue as I am by no means an expert.
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Old 30-12-2012, 03:31   #26
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Re: Opinions on "Practical Sailor" magazine?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cfarrar View Post
I find PS to be reasonably fair and unbiased. I understand the posts about gear reviews for marina queens, but they do some good stuff, too: testing a wide range of cordage for chafe resistance, or testing holding tank monitors with crap in the tank, or comparing different radar transceivers side by side. I mean, it takes time and effort to conduct these tests, and I don't expect to get the results for free. It's not for everyone, but you can subscribe at a hefty discount, or you can buy back-issue articles a la carte.
That's my stance, really: Is it as useful as when I first started out? No, but there's usually some product or technique each issue that I at least wish to know about, and which random searching through online resources might not reveal. I also concur that a sub gives you the access to the large store of knowledge from the back issues. I do use this to look up articles from prior to me subscribing (circa 2000, to judge from the binders I have of the things crowding out a shelf), or as a quick reference.

Are they perfect? No, not at all, but being ad-free, the small number of pages each month is actually a decent read compared to more "pretty" magazines.

I stopped with SAIL and CRUISING nearly 10 years ago. Too much fluff and clearly ad-driven...which is fine, but I'm not changing boats now. PS and ON remain (along with a sub to The Economist, which suggests from what area pirates might emerge in the future!), and I will let them continue to run until we shove off.
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Old 30-12-2012, 04:09   #27
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Re: Opinions on "Practical Sailor" magazine?

The internet has filled in for the inadequacies and annoyances we see in print. When I first jumped into sailing in the mid 80s befoer the net I had to read to learn... aside from hands on... and along with books the glossies and PS were my learning labs.

As I tricked out my boat I lost interest in gear I was not in the market for. I can't speak to bias and haven't subscribed for ages but I am sure that PS would still be an interesting read and it does represent a large data base of information. All reviews need to be taken with a grain of salt. Advertising is very annoying but without it we would not know what's available in the market place. I only wish advertising were more information and less appeal to emotion.

Money and profit drive the world and you cannot escpe its influence. The www is not drowning in ads, ad blockers, fishing, malware, spyware and this may be worse than print.

I kinda like survey/polls online where people with experience chime in and the reader can make their own somewhat informed decision. Sailors are incredibly smart about what they do... and generous with their knowledge.
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Old 30-12-2012, 06:37   #28
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Re: Opinions on "Practical Sailor" magazine?

Thinwater just about nails it. As a contributor to some of the magazines, particularly ON recently, I can confirm that just as the industry took a huge financial dive in recent years, so did advertising sales. Advertising has always been the bulk of the revenue for most consumer magazines, except for a few like Practical Sailor. Boat sales are not even 50% of what they once were, so imagine what the advertising budgets look like. That has led to a reduction in staffing and a reduction in page counts. I get paid less for an article today than I did back in the 1980s, so you can imagine they've lost a lot of good writers that way. You might be surprised though that the readership numbers have stayed pretty high, despite the Internet, but remember the money comes from the advertising. Despite what looks like a lot of activity on a busy cruising forum, like this one, it is still a tiny number of people participating in a meaningful way. Yes, there are more lurkers with eyeballs reading stuff, but how would a beginner or a casual boater (99% of boaters) sort it all out? They ask about something simple like anchors and they get a dozen very heated and opposing positions. Believe it or not, a well-run magazine has experienced editors and writers who know their stuff and work hard to provide solid information with as little bias as possible. At ON I personally know most of the senior staff and they are all either boat owners or experienced sailors, with numerous bluewater trips under their belts--even the advertising staff. That doesn't mean the magazine is perfect, but I suspect the average magazine's level of accuracy is much higher than is found here. But, for many of the posters here, they are already experienced, know what they like and want, and the magazine might not be the best place to seek reading material. And, a bunch of you already have the BS filter that you want to use, while I suspect the average magazine reader does not have that filter.
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Old 30-12-2012, 07:21   #29
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Re: Opinions on "Practical Sailor" magazine?

I've been a subscriber since the beginning.
Given the total cost of boat ownership, the cost of a subscription is a flea speck. Only place I've found that attempts to do a rational side by side comparison of products. Sure I have some favorite products that don't make their cut. I guess that's why there are a gazillion different boats out there too.
The online forums are a rich source of info. But sometimes you have to have the B.S. detector turned up to the max.
Big +1 for SSCA surveys. Unfortunately the current one is several years old.
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Old 30-12-2012, 07:22   #30
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pirate Re: Opinions on "Practical Sailor" magazine?

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The internet has filled in for the inadequacies and annoyances we see in print. ... The www is now drowning in ads, ad blockers, fishing, malware, spyware and this may be worse than print.
I liked PS as a subscriber but that was long ago. The point made above is a real concern for me and will absolutely drive me away. I have some of the blockers in place but the crooks and scammers and advertisers are very bright folks. I don't think the worthwhile/informational net will be free for much longer. I love the way youtube let's you skip most of an ad; but note, not ALL of the message(s). Can't last though unless the subliminal(?) part works.
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