Gone Digital

Here at Cruising World, we've been bitten by the digital bug. Editor's Log from our September 2011 issue.

CW September 2011

One night late last spring, I found myself aboard a friend's sailboat heading from Boston to the outer tip of Cape Cod. The plan was to sail the outer cape, pass through Pollock Rip around dawn, then push on to Nantucket. Well into the evening, someone asked about the distance remaining to the rip and what the current might be doing once we got there. It was the sort of query that once upon a time would've had me scampering below to dig out my Eldridge Tide and Pilot Book along with a chart and dividers to walk off the miles and come up with an E.T.A.

That was so then (although I still thoroughly enjoy each year's Eldridge). Instead, I pulled out my smartphone, fired up my__ Navionics Marine U.S. East_ chart app, and had an answer for my crewmates a couple of minutes later. Ditto when we spotted navigation lights on the horizon. _Ship Finder told me the vessel's name, call sign, destination, heading, and speed before I could say "Ahoy there, cap" on Channel 16.

It hinges on cliché to say that our collective sailing experience has gone digital to an extent that would’ve seemed sci-fi not so very long ago. Movies piped onto the cockpit chart plotter? Waypoints and routes on the phone? Your buddy’s fishing photos and favorite bars embedded on your charts? No problem.

It’s all pretty cool, really, and you can choose to play with as much or as little of it as you like.

Here at Cruising World, I'll confess, we've been bitten by the digital bug, too. And we encourage you to dip right in and try out for yourself the various ways we're making stories and pictures available these days.

There's CW_'s website, of course. There you'll find many of the stories that appear in the magazine, but perhaps more of interest, you'll find that many of our print stories include accompanying online information that lets you delve much deeper into a particular subject. Or log on to discover what your fellow cruisers are doing through their photos, videos, and forum posts. You'll also find links to _CW's growing stable of bloggers. Two of our most recent additions are At Home Afloat, written by associate editor Jen Brett, who lives aboard her Reliance 44 with her husband, Green, and their two children, and Windtraveler, featuring the adventures and antics of Scott and Brittany Meyers aboard Rasmus, their Hallberg-Rassy 35.

Here at CW, we used to joke that it was a victory every time readers cancelled their subscription to take off and go cruising. No more, because now there's no reason not to take every issue along with you. CW is now available, either by the month or yearly, in its entirety, at the Apple App Store.

And then there's Facebook. CW editors and members of our extended online family are sharing posts and pictures several times a day that we hope you'll like. No, really—we want you to go right online and like them!

Oh, and that Navionics_ chart app that helped me find Pollock Rip? Well, now you can find _CW stories there, too. You can search for them both by clicking on content icons that appear on the charts or by searching for keywords. Pretty good, huh?

Not so long ago, I’d close this Editor’s Log by saying “Hope to see you on the water.” I still do, of course. But if I don’t, I hope to see you online.