Tillerman's latest writing contest is a toughie for me.
Sailing gear reviews are out because if you ask me why I bought, say, the Musto XYZ smock over the Gill HPC smock over the Henri Lloyd LQM smock, 9 times out of 10 I'll say "I found it on sale at the Annapolis Boat Show". Price trumps all those nifty product features every time.
Book reviews are out because my sailing library is all out of print, old ...old books. Nothing worse than me touting the merits (or demerits) of a book that can only be found by scouring the used book websites. Plus, I don't read much in the way of sailing books now anyway.
This is not to say I don't enjoy reading reviews. Nothing better than reading informative, sometimes snarky book reviews. According to a book review in yesterdays WaPo; did you know that we spend an average of 5% of the day (36 minutes to be precise) chewing our food. And Steak Tartare came about because the Tatars, when they rode into war, put a steak between the saddle and horse to soften it up. But I digress..
There is one magazine that is the Consumer Reports for Sailing; almost their entire content is boating product reviews. Practical Sailor is a magazine I overlooked for quite a while until I started getting hand-me-down copies. A large part of what they review applies to the cruising crowd but I seem to find at least one review per issue that captures my interest. Their testing is thorough and the results are interesting. And they add how-to articles to spice things up. They had a two part series on how Skip Allen set up his 27 footer for singlehanded racing. Practical Sailor doesn't seem to be readily available in book stores, but the $20 introductory subscription price is reasonable.
The only thing they don't do well is give me a heads up on what items will be on sale at the Annapolis Sailboat Show.
This boating magazine delivers.