Lets be frank here. When Bernadette and Douglas Bernon a couple of years ago announced their plan to embark upon an open-ended cruise aboard their Shearwater 39, Ithaka, more than a handful of the local nautical “experts” here in Newport, Rhode Island, enjoyed a snigger or two at their expense. No matter that Bernadette was the longtime editorial director of this magazine–or that the couple had spent many moons honing their skills on coastal cruises aboard their own 24-footer, on yacht deliveries, and on charters all over the world–the self-appointed wind wizards decreed them notoriously unfit for long-range cruising aboard their own systems-rich, full-size cruising boat.
And as it turned out, the wharf rats did have a legitimate point or two.
After all, Douglas wasnt known in some circles as “Doctor, Doctor” because of a fondness for the old Robert Palmer tune of the same title. And while its not a bad nickname for a successful psychologist with a pair of Ph.D.s, for someone setting out on a long-term sail, its not quite the same as “Splice” or “Mr. Fix It.”
And Bernadette, in characteristic honesty as she threw herself into preparations for the trip, correctly noted that it was one thing to create a publication about full-time cruising and quite another to actually go out and attempt it.
So when Ithaka finally departed Newports sparkly blue waters, she did so with an admittedly green crew.
Regular visitors to our website–www.cruisingworld.com–know what happened next. Man, do they ever. For in weekly reports written under the banner Log of Ithaka, in soul-baring fashion the Bernons began recording the sometimes embarrassing, often hilarious, and always insightful details of their eventful journey from New England to the western Caribbean.
For good reason, the column has become a sort of cult favorite, particularly among sailors who are within a year or two of setting out on their own extensive voyaging. Clearly, it appears, the Bernons are on to something and deserving of a wider audience. So in the interest of full disclosure, this month, on page 144, were pleased to present the inaugural episode of Log of Ithaka as a regular column in the print version of Cruising World.
Written in the same back-and-forth style as the web version–with Douglas and Bernadette alternating as the author of each installment and bringing their own distinctive voices and observations to the proceedings–the log will appear on the back page of each issue, in the space formerly reserved for our Off Watch column. Fans of that regular feature neednt worry; starting next month, those short, slice-of-the-cruising-life essays will appear in the front of the magazine under the banner Point of View. Meanwhile, the Bernons will continue to contribute separate, exclusive log entries to our website as well, now on a twice-monthly basis. For those who arent familiar with the log or the Bernons adventures, the entire series to date is archived and available for viewing.
While youre doing so, we invite you to peruse the entire site, including the always entertaining and useful (if sometimes enervating!) interactive bulletin boards, breaking news on Shoreline Online, a full range of chartering information, new and archived articles, our Sourcebook of marine-industry listings, and many other features. The website has just undergone a critically acclaimed redesign under the direction of webmaster Jeff Roy, and were proud to have such a distinctive presence on the Internet.
As for the Bernons, while they havent got the cruising lifestyle completely figured out yet, they sure are making steady strides, and its been a gas to share their ride. Are there still naysayers in Newport? Of course. But as it turns out, the Bernons, and their readers, are definitely getting the last laugh.