Mail Buoy – January 2020

The Good and the Best of Good Old Boat: Feedback

Last month we put it to the readers to learn what parts of Good Old Boat magazine you looked forward to most, and least. We didn’t get as much feedback as we’d hoped, maybe it’s because The Dogwatch landed in email boxes on a Sunday. But the feedback we got was thoughtful and…much more difficult to quantify than we imagined. There was some consensus in the feedback, but not much. We don’t see ourselves making any changes based on this feedback, as it’s hard to draw conclusions from it. But you be the judge.

The feedback was a mix of generalized statements, ranking the list of magazine columns we provided, and short blurbs about each column. Below, we’ll provide most of the feedback sorted by magazine column. Many people sent lists of their favorite columns, or gave feedback like, “I love the Reflections column!” For each of those “votes,” we’ve given the respective columns a “Like,” to use a parlance most familiar to everyone on the planet. And we’ll include the “Dislikes.” The generalized comments we listed are mostly excerpted.  –Eds.

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Learning Experience: +9 Likes

  • As not-too-experienced sailors, the stories of other boaters pulling themselves out of serious predicaments are extremely valuable.

Mail Buoy: +11 Likes

  • At times in the magazine’s history there have been too many letters printed praising it. Print only a few of the representative ones and be done with it. If you do screw up, continue to print a correction. Sailors admire honesty and value.

Product Profiles: +2 Dislike, +4 Likes

Refit Boat: +9 Likes

Reflections: +2 Dislike, +4 Like

Review Boat/Design Comparison: +5 Dislikes, +7 Likes

  • I love the design articles! Having old designers reflect on what makes boats great and not so great is great winter reading and puts one more in tune with their own boats, something I think this magazine does better than any other. And you should aspire to keep doing it.
  • If there is a part of the magazine I love least, it is the boat reviews; I am completely content with my 1987 O’Day 272 LE, not thinking about replacing her.
  • I don’t know how you do this, but it would be good to add variety to the review articles. There is a strict formula and I feel like I know the outcome before I read them sometimes.
  • I’ve owned a 1980 Cal 25-2 since 2002 and we are a good fit going forward, yet I read and reread the boat reviews and comparisons. I enjoy the histories of the designers and builders as well as the boats.

Sailing Tales: +1 Dislike, +5 Likes

Sailor Profile: +2 Dislike, +5 Likes

  • I really enjoy the human factor in sailing and [really enjoy the articles that focus on people].

Short Voyages: +1 Dislike, +1 Like

Simple Solutions: +6 Likes

  • I love the good ideas that folk have discovered to achieve one end or another.

The View from Here: +1 Dislike, +5 Likes

Websightings: +4 Likes

  • I like the odd sites you find.

Excerpted general comments:

  • So what do I read first when the magazine arrives? I go for the editorial and letters first (interested in responses to articles I’ve previously read) and then go for the boat reviews next. I really like the boat comparison and the professional opinions regarding strengths and weaknesses. Then comes the technical articles because that’s what I do, work on boats. I’ve garnered many useful tips that make my work both easier and result in more professional finishes. When that’s all out of the way I go back for the cruising stories, not so much for the destinations, but more for the human interaction and learning on small boats. Last, but certainly not least, I review the commercial content for resources that I can use. It’s unfortunate (for me) that the magazine is based on the east coast and the majority of the advertising is east coast based, but there is still useful information there and it’s a global marketplace. Overall, I really like how Good Old Boat publishes articles from non-professional writers willing to share information! That’s what makes the magazine what it is.
  • Keep the balance of practical, how to, repair, knowledge and technical articles with a few ‘softer’ cruising, sailing pieces.
  • I like the new team and approaches you are investigating, and wish you good luck. Please keep up the good work!
  • I think sometimes the stories go off the mission spectrum. While he may be a known writer, a guy who turns his ketch into some form of brigantine doesn’t really reflect most Good Old Boat
  • Keep the focus on older boats, sail techniques, and projects.
  • Many of these boats are turning over in ownership. I am seeing more long-time owners moving on. I’ve had my 1982 Cape Dory 33, 18 years and I am the third owner. It behooves us all to help the next generation get in tune with their boats. Good Old Boat should try to find younger owners and ask them what they need from the magazine and try to add those elements in. I know you’ve started already with the couple on the old Dufour.
  • My gentle spouse and I, owners of Certainty, a 1984 Rhodes 22 Continental, are in a constant battle with entropy and always must repair, replace, or refit something. I love reading about equipment performance, what works and what doesn’t, easier and cheaper ways to do things, and so on; and reading about comparable boats and how they are built.
  • The work you guys do is just awesome, thanks for being there for good old boat enthusiasts.

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