Editor's Log, with Reader Survey

Where do you cruise when not in the South Pacific? Cruising World readers are asked to describe their favorite weekend cruise.

If a new reality TV series chose to film several typical Cruising World readers, it wouldn't often be sending camera crews to South Georgia or Tonga. The magazine's job is to nurture the dream of cruising far and wide and to provide the tools to help make it happen, but most of you still have addresses in such places as California, Florida, New York, Texas, Illinois, Michigan, and North Carolina. That's why in every issue we balance the long-distance articles with stories set much closer by.

We recognize that it may be a while before you can follow Beth A. Leonard and sail from the North Island to the South Island of New Zealand (see page 58). A more achievable cruise might be heading south from California to the Sea of Cortez to enjoy firsthand the sights recorded in Billy and Joyce Black's photo essay (see page 46). Less time to spare? Consider taking 10 days for a one-way bareboat charter from Guadeloupe to Antigua, as Terence Smith did (see page 52).

Balancing the ideal with the practical applies equally when it comes to boat projects. In this month's Hands-On Sailor section, compare the pattern and thought process of a professional, Bruce Bingham, preparing the topsides for painting (see page 76) versus that of our editor at large, Herb McCormick, a do-it-yourself amateur embarking on a similar painting job (see page 84). So, can you afford a professional paint job? Do you have time to tackle the project yourself-and develop or fully utilize the skills needed? In a perfect world, we could all quickly become Zen masters of sanding and painting, but in our imperfect world, mastery comes more slowly, and one way or another you need to get some help now and then or you'll never get off the dock.

According to our reader studies, about three-quarters of Cruising World's 150,000-plus readers own an auxiliary sailboat-that's something like 112,000 boats-so we're pretty confident that you always have boat projects on your mind. Looking ahead to the May and June issues, we'll give an equally deep focus to two very different Hands-On topics: first, the array of choices to be made in selecting a new mainsail, and then an examination of several aspects of getting ready for the upcoming Atlantic hurricane season.

We also know that many of you are looking to trade up to a larger boat-within the limits of bank account, abilities, ambitions, and dozens of other parameters, including average wind strength, number of crew, water depth, and where you'll dock or moor. That's why we highlight several boats each month, again looking for balance between new and old models. Our Classic Plastic and Boat Review stories, usually one page long, describe several key features of a boat that highlight its character and capabilities. In our Boat Test pieces, our reviewers have space to provide both detail and analysis of a model's performance abilities, equipment, systems, and layout above and below decks.

This month, we're making a small change to our test format to provide further insight into new models: We're reviving a past practice of inviting boatbuilders to read our finished article and provide a published response. Builders may add information we omitted or offer a counterpoint to any of our reviewers' criticisms. While there's no substitute for your own test sail, through this extra dialogue we hope that our articles will do that much better a job in helping you consider which boats to put on your list.

Speaking of dialogue, while our stories provide fuel to help you plan your next projects and adventures, we'd like to know where you're heading on your first weekend cruise this season-or from where you've just returned. Will you tell us more about where you sail and why via a brief survey?Click here to take the survey.In coming issues, while some of our stories will range from northern Europe to the South Pacific, we'd like your help in reminding us how easy it is, wherever you are, to bring alive the dream of cruising under sail one overnight at a time.