There are a lot of things that drive me batty about the summer scene here in my hometown of Newport, Rhode Island, but thankfully there’s always an antidote to the downtown crowds and Sunday drivers. Yes, the saving graces for any sailor are Newport Harbor and nearby Narragansett Bay, where on any given afternoon from June through September, the odds on crossing tacks with a remarkable vessel (or 10) are nothing less than guaranteed.
From a fleet of international Tall Ships to mammoth ocean-crossing record-slayers like the 140-foot Mari-Cha IV and the maxi French catamaran Orange to the steady influx of the cream of the fully crewed Caribbean charter boats, here in Newport this summer we refugees from the shoreside madness have been treated to a most remarkable array of disparate craft. Heck, just this morning, on a spin around the bay on a lovely September day, I enjoyed a slack-jawed, up-close-and-personal encounter with the 136-foot Ranger, an exquisite modern replica of the 1930s-era J-class behemoth, under full sail.
And that’s not counting the squadron of veteran Newport-based America’s Cup 12-Meters, the classic yachts berthed at the Museum of Yachting or emerging from the campus of the International Yacht Restoration School, or the dozens of long-range cruising boats of every size and description that call here each season.
At Cruising World, we’d be spoiled rotten if we didn’t appreciate it so much, but we do. For there are few sailors worthy of the title whose souls aren’t stirred by a breathtaking example of the art, science, and craftsmanship that goes into a truly memorable boat.
With that in mind, this month we’re introducing a new, regular feature of the magazine called Yacht Style that will focus on and celebrate cruising boats in the 50- to 60-foot range and beyond. This issue’s inaugural Yacht Style feature is an in-depth look at the Bill Langan-designed Adjutor, which caught our eye–and most everyone else’s in these parts–when she called in Newport last June.
The term “Yacht Style” was coined by former CW senior editor Dan Spurr in his book of the same title, which was published by International Marine in 1990 and remains in print to this day. As well it should, for it’s a colorful, insightful work that showcases the best features of a remarkable selection of craft. No one writes about boats better than Dan, and fittingly, he’s agreed to contribute future pieces to the series–which will also delve into the owners, events, and builders associated with the ever-expanding upper end of the cruising-boat market.
For anyone concerned that Yacht Style will detract from the regular editorial mix that’s proudly made us the leading cruising magazine in the field, fear not. Having just celebrated our 30th Anniversary, we’re moving forward with plans to launch several new improvements to the look and feel of the magazine in the months ahead. In fact, starting this month, we’ll be adding more pages of editorial content to each issue of CW. And stay tuned for the January issue, when we have a host of other surprises in store.
Of course, when it comes to impressive cruising and racing boats from every era, Newport hardly has a corner on the action. And that’s what makes the sailing world such an endlessly interesting place. From Annapolis to Auckland, Miami to the Mediterranean, Seattle to St. Thomas, there are countless seaports where functional, great-looking vessels are part and parcel of the waterfront scene.
We can’t all own or sail every terrific boat out there, but we can certainly admire their beauty and even learn a thing or two from them all. That’s our aim as we embark on Yacht Style. We hope you enjoy the ride.