Tuning the Rig

CW implements changes in appearance and content to make the magazine more accessible, informative, colorful, and just plain fun

A sailing pal tells a story about an episode he had one afternoon last summer aboard his boat. He'd invited along an acquaintance who's a fabulous sailor, a guy who's won races on all sorts of sailboats all over the world. The hotshot had few equals when it came to the art and science of sail trim, a skill no doubt sharpened by his uncanny knowledge of rigs and rigging. My buddy's boat was definitely a late-model performance cruiser and equipped with excellent sails, but it was set up exclusively in pure cruising mode. It had never seen, nor would it see anytime soon, a racecourse of any description.

As they got under way and came up on the breeze, the ace sidled forward and took a long look up the leading edge of the spar, then asked, "Mind if I tinker with this a second?" To which my friend replied, "Knock yourself out."

As they worked to weather, every few minutes the self-appointed rigger would bend to a turnbuckle with a couple of simple tools, make a quick adjustment, then return to the mast and cast a fresh sight aloft. A few tacks later, he craned his head skyward one final time, nodded to himself in silent approval, and slid back to the cockpit. "That should help," he said.

As my mate recalled the day, his eyes opened wide. "All of a sudden, we're pointing like a banshee," he said. "Just flying upwind. I couldn't believe it. Like, instantly, she's a different boat."

The story seemed appropriate this month for, with this issue of Cruising World--with the aim of making the magazine more accessible, informative, colorful, and just plain fun--we've also done some fiddling with the figurative tuning of our rig.

Some of the changes, like adding page numbers on the cover so stories are quickly accessible, and employing new typefaces on captions, titles, and elsewhere to make words and articles more legible, were suggestions that came directly from readers. Others are less subtle, such as our revamped Table of Contents, which we've overhauled to make the sections and departments of the publication easier to navigate.

Leafing forward, under the direction of new associate editor David W. Shaw, we've expanded our popular Shoreline column to include more breaking news; in-depth book and product reviews; first-person reports on people, places, and events; and a new home for regular columns People and Food and Jimmy Cornell's Letter from Aventura.

Continuing the theme of expanding the magazine's content, we're adding more editorial pages to each issue, many of them devoted to our feature stories that we plan to embolden with bigger and better photographs, and more of them. One of the great joys of sailing, after all, is its everlasting visual appeal. And to enhance those pictures, starting this month we've upgraded the paper stock on which the magazine is printed, which will ensure clearer, crisper, and more striking reproductions of all our images, maps, and illustrations.

Our commitment to publishing the best nautical writing of any marine magazine anywhere in the world is long-standing and ongoing. In the months ahead, look for more stories from some of the best writers in the business, including Angus Phillips, Douglas and Bernadette Bernon, and Thies Matzen as well as noted authors Steve Callahan, Gary Jobson, Peter Nichols, John Rousmaniere, Derek Lundy, Kevin Patterson, Webb Chiles, Lin and Larry Pardey, and many others. And we're also pleased to announce that we've secured the continuing services and stylings of the unparalleled Cap'n Fatty Goodlander, whose monthly ramblings and unique voice will henceforth be exclusive to CW.

While shaking up the status quo has been a reinvigorating experience, our mission, to put forth the top cruising and sailing magazine in the field, remains unchanged. But that doesn't mean we won't stop tweaking things. For as my friend discovered, a twist here and a turn there, and suddenly you're cleaving to weather better than ever.